The last time Michigan State went down to Austin, Texas, to recruit a quarterback, that quarterback was Nick Foles, whose path to last year’s Super Bowl has been well-documented.
The Spartans are back in town looking for a signal-caller again. After Oak Park's Dwan Mathis recently changed his commitment from Michigan State to Ohio State, quarterback became a need in the 2019 recruiting class. The Spartans have not extended any new offers since, but Austin St. Michael's Academy’s Sam Saxton is generating a lot of buzz as a new name on the radar.
There has been contact between the two sides, and Spartan Tailgate’s Sean Scherer reports Saxton will be on campus for an unofficial visit on July 31st.
247Sports analyst Gabe Brooks says Saxton is “worthy of more notable offers than he has.”
Saxton has offers from Tulane, Rutgers, Southern Miss, New Mexico and Memphis as well as Ivy League opportunities from Brown, Columbia, Cornell and Dartmouth. He has good size (6-foot-5, 190 pounds) and speed (4.6 in the 40-yard dash).
After starting off his high school career at Westlake High (where Foles played), Saxton transferred to St. Michael’s for his junior year and threw for 2,151 yards and 30 touchdowns to only three interceptions.
“He is a big-framed, pro-style quarterback with ample frame potential because of his height and length,” Brooks said. “He throws with adequate arm strength and should continue to improve that area of his game (as he) adds bulk and strength with his physical development.
"He throws with good touch on downfield routes and can drop the ball in the bucket. He tested encouragingly well at The Dallas Opening Regional. Saxton is a pass-first quarterback, no doubt, but he is not a statue in the pocket.”
Saxton began playing football at 5 years old, and football runs in the family. His grandfather, the late James Saxton, was an All-American running back at Texas and finished third in the 1961 Heisman Trophy voting. He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame. His father, Jimmy Saxton, was a standout quarterback at Westlake and also played at Texas.
The Longhorns have a quarterback commit in this class already in Roschon Johnson and have not offered Saxton.
While Michigan State is further away than some of the other schools recruiting him, Saxton has followed the program’s recent history and holds it in high regard.
"I think very highly of Michigan State football," Saxton said to Scherer. "They obviously have a great history of excellence. It would be an honor to play quarterback at MSU and add to the already impressive legacy.”
Saxton added that should a Spartan offer materialize, he would likely plan an official visit to campus.
Spartans in top five for Ohio defensive tackle
Springfield (Ohio) defensive tackle Isaiah Gibson named Michigan State in his top five, along with Kentucky, Minnesota, Purdue and Wisconsin.
However, Georgia offered Gibson (6-4, 265) following the release of that top five and he says he will visit the Bulldogs.
Gibson plans to announce his decision on Sept. 19th.
Allen Trieu covers Midwest football recruiting for 247Sports. 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.