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Trieu: ‘Explosive’ U-D Jesuit star Collins a prime target for MSU

Allen Trieu
Special to The Detroit News
Elijah Collins

Michigan State continues to build its 2018 class and a key piece to the remaining spots is running back Elijah Collins. The University of Detroit Jesuit star is one of the Spartans’ top targets overall and certainly at his position.

Collins, a 6-foot-0, 194-pound prospect, was present in East Lansing on Monday as the Spartans opened fall camp. He had a chance to watch practice and spend more time with the staff.

“Michigan State is one of the schools I have been watching since I was young and to see how they treat me and want me, that feels pretty great,” he said.

Iowa and Wisconsin are the primary competition for Collins and he may take official visits to all three schools. He had once planned to make his commitment after his senior year, but with the schools on his list beginning to fill in their classes, his timeline has moved up.

“It has changed, honestly,” he said. “Now I am thinking possibly before my senior season begins or somewhere during my senior season. That is how I am looking at it now.”

Collins played football as a freshman, but not as a sophomore. He returned to the sport last season and rushed for over 1,000 yards and 20 touchdowns.

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“Elijah started for us on both sides of the ball,” Cubs head coach Oscar Olejniczak said. “He played running back, linebacker and was also a returner. He is an explosive athlete that, literally every time he touches the ball, he has a chance to take it for a score.”

The 247sports crystal ball, a feature where recruiting analysts predict where recruits will commit, currently reads 100-percent for Michigan State out of seven analysts who have made a selection.

Spartans gain two commitments

The last week has been good to Michigan State on the recruiting trail. On Friday, Penn Hills (Pa.) wide receiver Julian Major committed in the 2018 class and on Monday, Walled Lake Western offensive tackle Spencer Brown committed in the 2019 class.

“Coach Mark Staten was my primary recruiter,” Major told Spartan Nation’s Justin Wieber. “He and I really clicked and I value our relationship. He made it easy to make my decision.”

Major (6-1, 185 pounds) chose the Spartans over a long offer list that included Wisconsin, Arkansas, Virginia and more. As a junior, he caught 31 passes for 433 yards and seven touchdowns.

“He knows how to use his body to shield defenders, and he does a fabulous job of catching the ball away from his body,” Scout analyst Brian Dohn said. “He has strong hands, high-points the ball, and he is a good route runner who gets separation out of his breaks.”

Brown played defensive line at Walled Lake Northern a year ago. He transferred to Western for his junior season and will play both sides of the ball, but his 6-foot-6, 290-pound frame and athleticism are most likely going to have him as a left tackle prospect in college. He had a busy spring where his offer list quickly grew with Virginia Tech, Iowa, Iowa State, Miami, Louisville and more extending offers.

Despite those offers, Brown said he grew up as a Michigan State fan and the school was a “perfect fit” for him.

Brown is the first commitment the Spartans have received in the 2019 class.

More information

Elijah Collins profile 

Spencer Brown profile

Julian Major 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