Trieu: Balanced secondary powers MSU’s recruiting class

Allen Trieu
Special to The Detroit News

The new early signing date where college football recruits can put pen to paper and officially become bound to the school of their choice is Wednesday. With that date looming, here is a look at Michigan State’s class as it stands.

Strength of the class

This is a well-balanced class for the Spartans, but the group of defensive backs is a good one. There was a photo of secondary coach Harlon Barnett with all of the commits during last weekend’s official visits, and the smile on his face said it all.

Belleville’s Davion Williams is part of a talented secondary group in Michigan State’s expected recruiting class.

This is a group that has size, speed, and skill.

From in-state come cornerbacks Kalon Gervin of Detroit Cass Tech and Davion Williams of Belleville. They have different skill sets, but both are four-star recruits on 247Sports. Gervin is a technician, not just because that is Cass Tech’s mascot, but because he has been learning the position since an early age. A track athlete, he clocked 4.41 at a Nike Opening Regional, making him potentially the fastest player in the class. Williams, a former basketball recruit, has only played football for two seasons, but made big strides as a senior. He has the kind of length and ball skills that are rare in cornerback prospects.

Safety Michael Dowell, the younger brother of Spartans Andrew and David Dowell, also tested well in spring combines, then went out and produced on the field. A physical 190-pound prospect, he can play in the box, but has the coverage skills to move around the secondary.

Speaking of moving around, Pickerington (Ohio) Central’s Xavier Henderson can play cornerback or safety. He had as good a senior year as any recruit in this class. Christian Jackson of Marietta (Ga.) Lassiter, is another long, athletic prospect with safety size and corner skills.

Work to be done

The class is nearly finished, and the Spartans have less spots to fill than some of their Big Ten counterparts, but there are key targets left on the board.

Between now and Wednesday, San Francisco City College defensive end Jordan Allen will make his decision. He recently took an official visit to Michigan State, and the Spartans are in his top five, but most recruiting analysts agree it is a two-horse race between MSU and Texas Christian.

Schertz (Texas) Samuel Clemens wide receiver Tommy Bush and Salt Lake City (Utah) East defensive lineman Tennessee Pututau have both taken their official visits to Michigan State, but plan to make January decisions and sign in February.

Defensive line coach Ron Burton conducted an in-home visit with Rome (Ga.) defensive end Jamarcus Chatman on Wednesday night. Chatman recently de-committed from Tennessee.

Tommy Bush

Best bet

Right now, of the remaining targets, Bush is considered by recruiting analysts to be the one the Spartans have the best chance to sign. The Michigan State staff has recruited him for quite some time, and he reported that both he and his parents had an outstanding official visit to East Lansing and in-home visit with the staff.


Dublin (Ohio) Dublin-Coffman linebacker Jeslord Boateng could be “this class’s Joe Bachie,” according to some insiders. Boateng projects as more of an outside linebacker and edge rusher than Bachie, who plays inside, but both are from Ohio, and neither are/were particularly hyped or highly ranked recruits.

Boateng has length and track speed, so once he gets into the Spartans’ strength and conditioning program, expect him to add size and power to his natural ability to run down ball carriers.

More information

Tennessee Pututau profile

Tommy Bush profile

Jordan Allen 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