Allen Trieu of 247Sports breaks down Michigan State’s 2018 recruiting class for The Detroit News.
Detroit Cass Tech cornerback Kalon Gervin held scholarship offers from 40 schools, was an Under Armour All-American, and ended the cycle ranked as a four-star and national top 200 recruit by the 247Sports Composite. He has enrolled early at Michigan State and will go through spring practice with the team.
Best recruiting win
At one point, Stockbridge (Ga.) Woodland offensive lineman James Ohonba had a top four of Alabama, LSU, Michigan and USC. By the time he was down to two, it was Michigan State and Duke. Still, the Blue Devils have done well in Georgia, but MSU got him up on a visit and landed his commitment. His physical style and 320-pound frame make him a good fit in East Lansing.
On the rise
Belleville cornerback Davion Williams had not played football before his junior season, and the point at which Michigan State offered him a scholarship – the spring of his junior year – they were taking a leap of faith based on his length, 40-inch vertical, and overall potential. He validated that as a senior, taking his game to another level, and showed that of all the recruits in this class, he is the one with the highest ceiling.
The Spartans return Matt Sokol, who caught 22 passes for 222 yards last season. They also return Noah Davis, who has some experience, and Matt Dotson, a former top recruit who saw the field some last season as a true freshman. But Pickerington (Ohio) Central’s Trenton Gillison brings pass-catching skills that might get put to use immediately.
Linebacker Jeslord Boateng could end up as one of the best players in this class. His track speed allows him to run down ball carriers and drop into coverage. That said, he needs to add weight and strength, so his early impact may be limited, but his future is extremely bright.
La’Darius Jefferson led Muskegon to a state title this year and it would be very difficult to find anyone – teammate, opponent, teacher, coach – with anything negative to say about him off the field. He is a high-character kid and was the driving force behind the Big Reds this year, both with his play and leadership. A high school quarterback, he could play several positions for MSU, but most analysts project him to running back.
Walk-on with best chance
Jenison (Mich.) offensive tackle Dan Van Opstall is 6-foot-8 and 255 pounds. Strength and conditioning coach Ken Mannie should pack the pounds on that frame in no time, and considering Cole Chewins and Jack Conklin were both greyshirts, the Spartans just seem to be able to find these body types late in the process and develop them.