‘Spartan 300’ recruiting rally hits its mark

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

East Lansing — It was quite the scene at Spartan Stadium last weekend, and that was at least an hour before kickoff between Oregon and Michigan State.

The area surrounding the field is always busy, but before the biggest nonconference game in recent memory, it was especially hectic. That’s because it was the culmination of a huge recruiting weekend.

As part of the “Spartan 300” recruiting push created by Michigan State director of scouting Curtis Blackwell and his staff, nearly 200 recruits were on hand. All but one player committed for 2016 was on hand, as well as several for future classes.

“We’ve had other really big games here and we’ve had a lot of recruits on campus in the past,” coach Mark Dantonio said Tuesday. “That staff has done an excellent job in getting guys here.

“Met a lot of guys. Knew a lot of guys already because recruiting has become so accelerated we’ve seen these guys on campus over the last six, seven months. ... It was great. Sort of a receiving line there early before the game.”

It was a full day for most of the football recruits. All had a chance to take campus tours and watch as the team prepared for the game. They also got to take in some of the action at Breslin Center as the basketball team had a reunion weekend.

One of the most notable — NBA champion Draymond Green — was busy helping recruit for both teams. The basketball team had some high-profile prospects on hand, including Detroit’s Cassius Winston and Flint native Miles Bridges.

“I think the brand is strong right now,” Dantonio said. “People want to come to Michigan State, be a part of this. That’s exciting.”

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No decision on Williams

Junior running back Delton Williams has not played, but Dantonio hasn’t made a decision on whether Williams will redshirt. He also hasn’t thought about a potential position change for a player who was suspended most of the offseason and is playing without a scholarship.

“I just know when the time comes, Delton will play,” Dantonio said. “But I’m not going to play him just to play him and take his redshirt year. He’s capable of playing. We could put him on special teams. I don’t want to do that. If he’s going to play, he’s going to play at tailback.

“I don’t think that a position switch is something we could experiment with. I do think he’s a good football player just in general.”

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Fresh pick

Only two true freshmen have played — running back LJ Scott and linebacker Andrew Dowell. Another name could be joining them.

Wide receiver Felton Davis is listed No. 3 on the depth chart behind seniors Aaron Burbridge and AJ Troup. Dantonio said Davis came close to playing last week, and the plan is to get him some time soon.

“We’re pushing to do that,” Dantonio said. “I’m not going to push the envelope. Our coaches know who needs to get it done at this point in time. I want them to feel comfortable with it.

“He’s on the depth chart because he works with our No. 1 and No. 2, so he’s in the mix. When it’s time for him to play, he’ll play. He’s not working on the scout team anymore.”

Extra points

With junior right tackle Kodi Kieler (right leg) out, the Spartans likely will continue to rotate three players — Donavon Clark, Benny McGowan and Miguel Machado — at right guard and right tackle.

Clark and McGowan are listed co-starters at guard while Clark and Machado are co-starters at tackle.

... Redshirt freshman Vayante Copeland left the Oregon game in the fourth quarter but was listed as the starter at cornerback.

... According to a report in the Colorado Springs Gazette, Air Force junior quarterback Nate Romine is out for the season after tearing ligaments in his right knee in last weekend’s victory over San Jose State.