Trieu: MSU commit Boateng brimming with upside

Allen Trieu
Special to The Detroit News

Michigan State has had some great linebackers come through their program under Mark Dantonio and his staff, and a good number of them have come from Ohio.

Not many of those players also ran track in high school, though. Denicos Allen did, running on his Hamilton High’s relay team at 6-foot-0, 210 pounds.

Jeslord Boateng

That is what makes the Spartans’ newest commitment, Dublin Coffman’s Jeslord Boateng, a different and exciting prospect. Boateng goes 6-foot-3, 210 pounds and not only runs on the track team, he is a sprinter, competing in the 100- and 200-meter dash events, as well as the relay team. He finished second in the conference in the 100-meter dash this year with a time of 11.26 seconds.

The term “upside” is becoming overused in its application to college football recruits, but it is an accurate descriptor of Boateng’s talent and potential.

“He’s extremely athletic in terms of his measureables,” Dublin Coffman head coach Mark Crabtree said, “meaning his ability to jump, run, do the things necessary to be an impact player a school like Michigan State is looking for. He is incredibly gifted as far as athleticism goes.”

As a sophomore, Boateng played outside linebacker for Crabtree at 175 pounds. Today, he is 212 pounds, but still growing and still learning.

“Even now, in my book, he is still more of the raw kind of player, meaning, he hasn’t played a lot of football,” Crabtree said. “He has played football, but I wouldn’t say he’s played a ton or hasn’t grown up playing as much like a lot of kids we have. On the other hand, his ceiling so incredibly high with how much improvement he’s made and is going to make. He’s a kid that’s probably going to carry 235-240 pounds when he’s playing for Michigan State.”

Boateng chose Michigan State over offers from Louisville, Iowa, Indiana, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Kentucky and more. As more offers came and he realized where his recruitment was headed, Boateng was motivated to live up to the expectations.

“Once he figured out, hey this is what could happen to me, I think his work ethic became as good as it ever has been,” Crabtree said. “Everything improved from him from classroom performance, weight room performance, track season he did a great job during, and I think the light bulb came on. I think it motivated him because he saw a lot of people believed in him. I don’t think he ever thought of himself that way, and once he saw others felt that way about him, it turned the light on in his head.”

The humility with which Boateng handled being offered scholarships by top college football programs is just one example of a kid Crabtree said is a pleasure to coach.

“From a character standpoint, he is as good as it gets. He is just a great kid that comes from a great family. He hasn’t let anything inflate his ego by any means. He is a humble kid who knows what he needs to do to get to the level he needs to get to.”

The level he can get to is a lofty one.

“He is learning the game at such a fast rate, his ceiling is so high.”

In-state lineman offered at camp

Muskegon offensive lineman Anthony Bradford was offered by Michigan State following their lineman camp Wednesday. Bradford, who will be a junior in the fall, did 25 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press and had a strong performance in drills and 1-on-1 pass rush portions of the camp.

Bradford (6-5, 320 pounds) has additional offers from Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky and Toledo.

Last fall, he started at right tackle for the Big Reds and helped them reach the state title game.

MSU makes top 5 for in-state WR

West Bloomfield wide receiver Taj Mustapha, a class of 2018 member, named a top five of Michigan State, Wisconsin, Iowa, Purdue and Kentucky.

Mustapha visited Michigan State last weekend after being offered by the Spartans late last month.

He plans to make a commitment before his senior season of football begins.

More information

Jeslord Boateng profile

Anthony Bradford profile

Taj Mustapha profile

Allen Trieu began covering the state of Michigan for 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