Michigan State would still like to add more on the defensive line in the 2019 recruiting class, and recently extended an offer to Toledo Whitmer’s Cavon Butler when he came to campus.
Butler is verbally committed to Kentucky, but camped at Michigan State in the summer and took two visits to East Lansing during the fall.
He remains committed to the Wildcats, but offers from the Spartans and Ohio State are being considered. He visits the Buckeyes officially this weekend.
“I think he made the initial commitment to Kentucky, but there were some offers out there that he didn't get,” Panthers head coach Ken Winters said. “He’s starting to get them now, so I’m not sure if we will re-evaluate that or not. He doesn’t talk about it much; his focus was mainly on our season, but the last time we talked, he was going to make a decision in December.”
Butler’s journey to being one of the top recruits in the state of Ohio began very early. Today, he stands 6-foot-3, 285 pounds. He was not quite that big when he arrived at Whitmer, but he had plenty of size and ability for Winters to pull him up as a freshman.
“He started for us right away,” Winters said. “We knew him in our junior high system. He was big for his age and when he came in as a freshman, you could tell he was big enough to be able to handle varsity. It was a few games before he actually started, but it was pretty evident he could play at that level.”
From there, Butler continued his ascension. As a junior, he had 91 tackles (nine for loss) and 12 sacks. Alabama offered him a scholarship in the summer before he decided on Kentucky in August. None of that, Winters says, was by mistake.
“He just works hard in the offseason,” Winters explained. “He plays basketball, throws shot put, and even when he is in those sports, he is in the weight room working. He is one of those guys who wants to be the best and works to achieve that.”
Initially a defensive end, Butler moved around the line for Whitmer as a senior. Most schools are now recruiting him as an interior prospect because of his continued growth, and he has the physical attributes along with the technical prowess to be disruptive in that role.
“Definitely his speed, get-off, and burst off the ball (are strengths),” Winters said. “One thing he does amazingly well is he works his hands, works hands get off blockers, uses different moves. This year he was mostly double- and triple-teamed, and he was still fighting through that and a lot of why he was effective was because of his explosiveness off the ball and the way he used his hands.”
Kentucky is working to hang onto Butler. Ohio State would like to keep him in the state. Michigan State wants him to come north as many Ohioans have during Mark Dantonio’s tenure, and should Butler choose to do that, defensive line coach Ron Burton would be one of the primary reasons why.
"He’s the realest coach I’ve ever met," Butler told Spartan Tailgate earlier this fall. "He will tell you straight up and not hold back, and he’s about doing the little things right. I’m very high on Michigan State. I really like the school. The family atmosphere there is unbelievable and Coach Burton is the best defensive line coach I ever met."
Butler is ranked by the 247Sports Composite, which averages rankings across recruiting sites, as the No. 38 senior in the state of Ohio.
Spartans offer WRs
Michigan State offered Massillon (Ohio) Washington senior Tre’von Morgan last weekend. Morgan is a 6-foot-6, 215-pound target who some schools view as a wide receiver and other view as a hybrid tight end. Indications are that the Spartans offered as a wide receiver. Iowa State, Washington State, Pittsburgh, Virginia and Ole Miss are some of the other Power 5 programs that have offered.
Washington is undefeated and still in the playoffs, and Morgan has said he will not take visits or focus on recruiting further until the season is completed.
The Spartans also offered a big-bodied wideout in the 2020 class in Suffield (Conn.) Academy’s Jaden Dottin. A 6-foot-3, 185-pound target, Dottin is ranked by 247Sports as the No. 1 junior in the state of Massachusetts. He has offers from Penn State, Michigan, Duke, Boston College and many more as well.
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.