Allen Trieu breaks down Michigan State’s 2019 recruiting class
Allen Trieu of 247Sports breaks down Michigan State's 2019 recruiting class so far for The Detroit News:
Michigan State is set to sign much of their 2019 recruiting class on Wednesday’s early signing period. Here are some of the names to know who are set to wear the Spartans' green and white.
Devontae Dobbs, OL, Belleville
Dobbs is not only the highest-ranked recruit in this class, he will instantly become one of the most touted recruits the Spartans have signed in the Internet era. An Under Armour All-American, the 6-foot-4, 304-pound Dobbs has been on the major college radar since his freshman year and chose the Spartans over Michigan, Ohio State, USC, Auburn, Alabama and others. He spent his high school career at tackle, but the 247Sports Composite ranks him as the No. 1 guard in the country and he is expected to compete early at that spot for the Spartans.
Julian Barnett, DB, Belleville
Like his teammate Dobbs, colleges also have been courting Barnett since early in his high school career. He is also going to play in January’s Under Armour All-America Game. A physical 6-foot-2, 200-pound prospect with excellent ball skills, Barnett was a big-play high school wide receiver, but his size and athleticism give him tremendous upside as a defensive back. That makes him similar to Justin Layne, who was also a touted high school wide receiver. With Layne off to the draft, Barnett should figure into the mix to fill that spot. He is capable of playing cornerback or safety, but indications are he will start off at corner.
Luke Fulton, LB, Youngstown (Ohio) Cardinal Mooney
Under Mark Dantonio, Michigan State has had some great linebackers come through the program. Many of them have hailed from Ohio, from Greg Jones to Denicos Allen to Joe Bachie. Fulton is next. He has been very productive for an outstanding high school program. A four-star recruit per 247Sports, the 6-foot-3, 215-pound Fulton recorded 135 tackles as a junior. That nose for the football and his aggressive style of play fits the Spartans' way of playing defense.
Alante Brown, WR, Chicago Simeon
Brown had an incredible senior season. A high school quarterback, his speed and playmaking skills gave opponents fits. He always came up with his best against the best competition — as a junior against Detroit Cass Tech or as a senior during a deep playoff run. The question was, could he play wide receiver? And he proved that during a summer camp run where he earned several major offers, including Michigan State. Think Keshawn Martin here in terms of open-field ability and versatility.
Michael Fletcher, DE, Flint Carman Ainsworth
In Fletcher and Adam Berghorst, the Spartans bring in two twin towers at defensive end. Both go 6-foot-6 to 6-7, and both have multi-sport backgrounds. Fletcher had mid-major basketball offers as well. He may not be as ready-made as some of the other guys on his list, but he has as much physical talent as anybody in the class.
Strength of the class
The offensive line. In addition to Dobbs, the Spartans are bringing in Nick Samac and J.D. Duplain, two Ohioans who Ohio State tried to flip during their senior seasons, along with athletic 6-foot-6 in-state prospect Spencer Brown and 6-foot-6, 315-pound Damon Kaylor from Indiana. Other than Dobbs, the other four are expected to enroll next semester at Michigan State and go through spring ball.
There are a few to choose from here. Running back Brandon Wright had little fanfare throughout his recruitment and has not been mentioned much as one of the top recruits in the class, but has the makings of the next MSU surprise from Ohio. He is a physical 6-foot-2, 225-pound running back with surprising speed and breakaway ability for a kid of that size. Also watch out for quarterback Payton Thorne, a smart, accurate Western Michigan flip with a boatload of intangibles.
With the Spartans losing Layne and Khari Willis in the secondary, that position may be the one where a true freshman has the best chance to make a splash. Barnett, because of experience and physical size, has a great chance to help right away.
LJ Scott’s departure opens the door for a true freshman to provide depth behind Connor Hayward and La’Darius Jefferson, and Wright along with Anthony Williams Jr. have traits that could help them see the field.
Finally, do not sleep on West Bloomfield wide receiver Tre Mosley as someone who could sneak onto the field early. He is skilled, polished, and will enroll early.
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.