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MSU closing in on top-10 recruiting class

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News
Donnie Corley makes the winning catch in the final seconds of the state title game last month. Many believe he’s headed to MSU, but he’s delayed his announcement.

East Lansing — Michigan State will get down to the business of preparing for its Cotton Bowl matchup with Alabama today after spending the bulk of the past week working on finishing up its 2016 recruiting class.

The Spartans, who will play in the College Football Playoff on Dec. 31, have already put together a top-10 class of commitments, but there are a few spots left for a few big names as Michigan State goes head-to-head with Michigan, Ohio State and Notre Dame for some of the nation’s top prospects.

Mark Dantonio and his coaching staff spent last week visiting as many recruits as they could, those already committed and those still deciding.

Near the top of the list of those undecided is Detroit Martin Luther King wide receiver Donnie Corley. He is a four-star player and ranked the No. 21 receiver in the nation, according to 247sports.com.

Corley earned a spot on The News Dream Team after grabbing 59 passes for 1,403 yards and 16 touchdowns and getting in on 80 tackles while intercepting 10 passes from his cornerback spot. He’s a player many have believed has been leaning toward Michigan State for the past several months, but he delayed a planned announcement set for Dec. 8 and has added visits to Ohio State and Notre Dame while continuing to consider Michigan.

“Michigan and Michigan State are still in the mix,” Corley told The News.

The added twist with Corley is his connection with King teammate Lavert Hill, a four-star cornerback who was once committed to Penn State but now is also high on the lists at Michigan State and Michigan.

George Hill

Each tweeted last week they plan to announce together but gave no timetable for a decision.

“(Corley) is one of the most talked about ones (MSU is still after),” said Allen Trieu, Midwest scouting director for Scout.com. “Lavert Hill is sort of joined at the hip. Donnie is more of a sure thing for Michigan State.”

Most believe Hill is destined for Michigan, which means it’s difficult to determine if Corley and Hill will play together in college. But according to Corley, it’s a definite possibility.

“I don’t think people realize how much we talk about it,” he told Bleacher Report. “There’s a strong possibility we could play together.”

There are others besides Corley and Hill that Michigan State is after. One that could bring immediate help is junior college offensive tackle Garrett Bolles. The 6-foot-5, 290-pounder plays at Snow College in Ephraim, Utah, and offensive line coach Mark Staten visited him this past week.

Michigan State is also making a push for four-star offensive tackle E.J. Price of Lawrenceville (Georgia) Archer; four-star linebacker Aaron Hansford of Washington, D.C (St. John’s); four-star offensive tackle Matt Farniok of Sioux Falls (South Dakota) Washington; and four-star running back/athlete George Hill of Hubbard, Ohio.

Hill, who was once committed to Ohio State, was a high school teammates of current Spartan LJ Scott and ran for more than 1,000 yards and scored 12 touchdowns in just eight games as a senior.

“He had over 1,000 yards while splitting time with LJ,” Trieu said. “This year he became more of the man. He’s good, he’s different. George is a faster guy they play in the slot. They complemented each other well in high school.”

The Spartans currently have a class that ranks seventh, according to Scout.com, while Rivals.com has them at No. 14 and 247sports puts them at No. 15. There’s a chance that could rise if Michigan State adds the right pieces by signing day on Feb. 3.

Trieu said Michigan State’s success over the last few years helped build the class and this year’s could help MSU close on the last few open spots.

“When you win you can you can recruit on a national level,” Trieu said. “They have a lot of guys in the class with offers from big schools I don’t think they would have beat out five years ago. They’re not having to take guys who are maybe off the recruiting radar, but they’re not forgetting what built the house. In general they are recruiting at a higher level.”