MSU signs Nailor, misses out on Bush, Baldonado
East Lansing — There wasn’t expected to be a lot of activity on Wednesday for Michigan State, as it signed 20 commitments during the early signing period in December.
But that didn’t mean national signing day didn’t have a bit of suspense, as Mark Dantonio and his staff were working to add another piece or two to the 2018 class a little more than a month after capping a 10-3 season with a win in the Holiday Bowl.
Wide receiver Jalen Nailor of Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas sent in his signed letter of intent after announcing his commitment last weekend. By the end of the day, that proved to be Michigan State’s only addition to the class outside of three preferred walk-ons.
“We really signed an outstanding class in December with 20 players that we’re extremely excited about,” coach Mark Dantonio said in a statement. “Seven of those players are enrolled early and already beginning their Spartan careers. We signed one additional recruit today, wide receiver Jalen Nailor from Bishop Gorman High School, who played for one of the top programs in the nation. We also welcomed two in-state players to the program in David Kruse and Dan VanOpstall.”
Michigan State entered signing day hoping to add a receiver and a defensive lineman. Nailor’s commitment took care of one priority, but the Spartans still were looking for that defensive lineman and weren’t giving up on another top wide receiver.
However, they missed out on two of their top targets — defensive end Habakkuk Baldonado, who chose Pitt over Michigan State, and wide receiver Tommy Bush, who opted for Georgia when he had Michigan State listed as one of his finalists.
Bush, a four-star from Texas, seemed like a longshot, especially after Nailor’s commitment. But the Spartans had a shot at Baldonado, who decided to sign on to play for former Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi.
Baldonado is originally from Italy but his family moved to Florida in the summer. The 6-foot-5 three-star played at Clearwater Academy International and by the end of the year was quickly drawing attention from Power Five schools.
He took a visit to Michigan State earlier this month, but it wasn’t enough to sway him from heading to Pittsburgh.
Nailor brings Michigan State’s class to 21 signed players, one that ranks No. 31 in the nation, according to 247sports. The one-time Arizona State commit is 5-foot-11 and weighs 185 pounds. Nailor is the No. 119 receiver in the class, according to 247sports composite rankings. He had 41 receptions for 807 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior as Bishop Gorman won its ninth straight state championship.
He joins a receiving corps that returns Felton Davis, Darrell Stewart and Cody White – Michigan State’s top three receivers — but with the transfer of Trishton Jackson and Hunter Rison, there could be an opportunity to play early.
The Spartans now have three receivers in the class as Nailor joins three-stars Javez Alexander and Julian Major. Both Alexander and Major enrolled early, along with cornerback Kalon Gervin, defensive back Xavier Henderson, quarterback Theo Day, offensive lineman Dimitri Douglas and linebacker Edward Warriner.
Michigan State, which did not hold a media session on Wednesday, posted a highlight video on Twitter of the early enrollees going through winter workouts.
Kruse and VanOpstall were preferred walk-ons who officially joined the team on Wednesday. Kruse (6-0, 200) is an athlete who played quarterback at Lowell. He is the brother of former Spartan Connor Kruse, who started seven games on the offensive line in 2014 for the Spartans.
VanOpstall is a 6-6, 255-pound offensive lineman from Jenison.
Later Wednesday afternoon, Michigan State added punter Will Przystup of Oviedo, Fla. He had scholarship offers from Air Force and Army, according to Landof10.com. Current punter Jake Hartbarger is entering his senior season.
Michigan State could add one more player sometime in the spring. Dashaun Mallory, a three-star defensive tackle from Bolingbrook (Ill.) High has been recruited by the Spartans, and has made it clear he wants to come to Michigan State. However, there have been some academic issues to clear up, keeping him from signing on Wednesday.