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Trieu: MSU target Tavion Thomas draws interest from SEC

Allen Trieu
Special to The Detroit News
Tavion Thomas and Mark Dantonio

When Dayton Dunbar running back Tavion Thomas received a Michigan State offer in January, he was speechless. Going into that month, the 6-foot-2, 225-pound junior held a handful of MAC offers. Then, back to back to back to back, he received offers from Wisconsin, Michigan State, West Virginia and Indiana in the span of four days.

Of those schools, Michigan State was the one that had an inside track since Thomas had already visited with teammate Joseph Scates, a highly-regarded wideout who ended up committing to the Spartans in January.

Now the Spartans and Badgers, considered his top schools to this point, face more tough competition for Thomas as offers from Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi State have all come in the last week.

“(Joseph’s) commitment impacts me a lot,” Thomas said. “Teaming up with Joe is (a possibility), but I'm going to pick the best school for me.”

Thomas noted his surprise and gratitude over the new SEC offers. Alabama’s running back tradition, especially with big backs like himself, as well as their on-field success, makes that offer particularly intriguing.

He has not visited any schools in the south yet, so until that happens, it will be tough to project how big of a factor those schools will be.

He visits Ohio State this weekend. The Buckeyes have yet to offer, but that could change.

Trieu: Michigan makes big strides with Herron, top 2019 recruits

The Spartans have three commitments in the 2018 class, all from Ohio. Thomas would be a big addition to that crew and he knows MSU is coming after prospects in his home state.

“We have a lot of talent in Ohio,” he said. “If Michigan State can win the kids in Ohio, then other teams will need to watch out. They will be tough to beat.”

Thomas rushed for 1,606 yards and 17 touchdowns as a junior.

Junior Day shaping up

Michigan State will host a good group of visitors on Feb. 26.

One of the biggest targets so far is Dearborn Divine Child quarterback Theo Day, who was recently offered a scholarship by Michigan State. This will be his first visit since the offer, but he did visit during the season for games and camped with Michigan State last summer.

"I was super excited (about the offer),” he said. “I've been hoping to get this offer for a while now so it definitely meant a lot to me."

Day does not currently claim a favorite, but he does have additional offers from Kentucky, Boston College, Western Kentucky and more. He would like to make a commitment this spring if possible.

In addition to Day, Mishawaka (Ind.) Penn tight end Anthony Torres and Chicago Marist defensive tackle Elijah Teague are two visitors who hold Power Five offers but not Michigan State offers. Both are firmly on the radar for an offer, however.

D.C. quarterback visits

Washington (D.C.) St. Johns quarterback Kevin Doyle visited Michigan State on Thursday. The Spartans offered Doyle last July when he was still at Malvern Prep in Pennsylvania.

Kentucky, Pittsburgh and Boston College are among his other top choices. He does not have a timeline for a decision.

Doyle camped at MSU’s Spartan Elite Camp last June, leading to his July offer. He also visited East Lansing for a game during the fall.

More information

Tavion Thomas profile

Theo Day profile

Kevin Doyle profile

Allen Trieu began covering the state of Michigan for Scout.com in 2005 and began managing the entire Midwest in 2009. He has been featured on the Big Ten Network on its annual Signing Day Show. His Michigan and Michigan State recruiting columns appear weekly at detroitnews.com.