Trieu: MSU targets ‘big, talented’ Ohio TE Justin Stephens

By Allen Trieu
Special to The Detroit News
Justin Stephens

Tight end is one position Michigan State does not have a commit at yet in the 2019 class, but a top target at that spot is materializing in Trotwood (Ohio) Trotwood-Madison’s Justin Stephens.

Stephens is a 6-foot-7, 235-pound prospect who is a good enough athlete to have played a significant role on a state championship basketball team. While it took some time for him to get on the major college recruiting radar, once he did, the offers came quickly.

Michigan State is one of the schools that has offered, along with LSU, Iowa, Kentucky and more.

"I would say the schools that are kind of standing out to me right now would be LSU, Michigan State, Rutgers, Louisville, Iowa, Syracuse, and maybe a few other programs," he told 247Sports’ Bill Greene. "I'm really still looking at everybody, to be honest. I'm starting to narrow things down and I'm talking to all the coaches."

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From there, the plan is to make an informed decision, which is not likely to come until the winter months.

"I want to wait and make my decision later on in the year, and I want to take official visits in the fall as well," Stephens explained. "I don't want to rush this decision at all, because it is such a big decision for my future."

The Spartans have had success with tight ends from Ohio. They currently have three on the roster – Matt Dotson, Trenton Gillison and Noah Davis.

“Justin is a big, talented athlete,” Greene said. “He has really worked hard in the offseason. He showed a lot of upside as a junior, but was much more raw than he is now after an entire offseason of training and football work. I think he will be a guy who creates a lot of mismatches this year and then into college.”

Stephens is ranked by the 247Sports Composite as the No. 33 tight end in the country.

Texas defender puts Spartans in top four

Mansfield (Texas) Legacy defensive lineman Taurean Carter, a highly sought after senior, has put Michigan State in a top four that also includes Arkansas, Texas and Texas Tech. While the Longhorns and Red Raiders are inside his home state, it is actually Arkansas that is considered the team to beat by recruiting analysts. The Razorbacks lead on his 247Sports Crystal Ball.

Carter (6-3, 250 pounds), is listed as a defensive end, but plays inside in high school, as well, and may project more to the interior in college. He has not visited Michigan State yet, but is likely to take official visits this fall before making a decision.

2020 OL will look to visit in the fall

Edwardsburg (Mich.) junior Josh Priebe is set for his third varsity season with the Eddies and the 6-foot-5, 270-pound offensive lineman has scholarship offers from Toledo and Central Michigan, along with interest from several other schools including Michigan State. He camped at the Spartan Elite event in June.

"Michigan State was one of my favorite camps this summer; I learned so much and got great feedback from all of the coaches," Priebe said. "Coach Staten really liked me, and we have built a great relationship since the camp. I also met coach Dantonio and he said they really like my athleticism and are looking forward to watching me play this fall."

He said he will return the favor and visit the Spartans for a game, although an exact date has not been set yet.

More information

Justin Stephens profile

Taurean Carter profile

Josh Priebe profile 

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