Bob Wojnowski and John Niyo break down Michigan and Michigan State for the 2017 college football season.
Michigan State’s depth chart for Saturday’s opener against Bowling Green has 14 true freshmen on it from a 2017 recruiting class ranked in Scout’s national top 25.
Six of those freshmen are in the two-deep, but more than those six are likely to see the field.
“I know for sure, we are going to see Hunter Rison, Matt Dotson, Cody White, Jordan Reid and Kevin Jarvis, Jacub Panasiuk, Antjuan Simmons and Josiah Scott,” Spartan Nation’s Hondo Carpenter said. “Those are the ones we know will be out there.”
Carpenter named safety Dominique Long, tight end Jack Camper, and offensive tackle Mustafa Khaleefah as three others who may play depending on the situation. He says that, in Khaleefah’s case, it may be preferable to preserve his eligibility unless he is needed.
The other two offensive linemen, Reid and Jarvis, are not listed as starters, but are expected to be in the rotation.
“They are in the two-deep, so they want to get them legitimate minutes,” Carpenter said. “They want to give the ones a chance to jell, but MSU likes to rotate guys, so I would not be surprised to see them both in the first half. I think they will do their best to rotate like they normally would.”
At other positions, the rotation may not be as clear, but the first true freshmen to see action might be White and Rison, the two wide receivers.
“They rotate receivers all the time,” Carpenter explained. “I expect both of those will probably be out on the first drive, just because that’s their normal rotation.”
As always, competition is open, so Carpenter believes true freshmen who play well will have opportunities to compete for starting roles as the season moves on.
Scott was looking like a starter at cornerback before an injury setback, which has allowed sophomore Josh Butler to step forward and earn the starting nod.
“(Josiah) was injured, so he’s now back in game shape, but he missed 10-12 days,” Carpenter said. “Josh played well, stayed healthy, and he’s been there. Josiah will play and will have a chance to get it back, and I think they may want to see how it fires up Josiah competitively.”
Early playing time is not always an indicator of a strong class, as many players redshirt or do not play their first year only to later become outstanding players in the program. What is apparent, however, is that the Spartans’ recruiting efforts in the 2017 class are paying dividends as these young men came in ready to compete at a high level.
Visitors for Saturday’s game
Many in-state visitors will be in Spartan Stadium for the Bowling Green game. The most notable is Oak Park junior quarterback Dwan Mathis, who holds an offer from the Spartans.
Flint Carman-Ainsworth defensive end Michael Fletcher and West Bloomfield safety/linebacker Lance Dixon are considered to be among the top juniors in the state. Neither have offers from the Spartans yet, but may earn them in time.
Southfield safety Marcus Fuqua and defensive lineman Devin Baldwin both hold Division-1 offers and are receiving interest from the Spartans as well.
The Spartans’ first class of 2019 commit, Walled Lake Western offensive tackle Spencer Brown also will attend the game.
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.