Trieu: MSU recruits Julian Barnett, Devontae Dobbs shine in Under Armour showcase practices

By Allen Trieu
Special to The Detroit News

Michigan State has two signees, both from Belleville, participating in this week’s Under Armour All-America Game, and both — defensive back Julian Barnett and offensive lineman Devontae Dobbs — have impressed.

Both will start in Thursday’s game (6 p.m., ESPN2) at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla., and both were named top performers during the practice week by 247Sports.

Belleville's Julian Barnett, a Michigan State recruit, will start in Thursday's Under Armour All-America Game.

“We saw Dobbs at the Future 50 event here last year, and he was a little bit injured, but he has looked great at practice so far this week,” 247Sports analyst Greg Biggins said. “His team has a good offensive line group, but he has been one of the top two to three guys over there all week.”

Dobbs, a high school tackle, has played some center and some guard in addition to tackle during practices this week. He said he had done some of that in practice before at Bellevile, but never in a game. He has acquitted himself quite well considering his lack of experience, especially at center.

“It’s fun playing different positions and learning new things that I can transition to college,” he said. “From what I hear, from what I remember, I’m going to be playing tackle (at Michigan State).”

Barnett went into the week listed as an athlete and has played cornerback and safety. He has had several interceptions in practice and been a standout during one-on-one drills where he has been asked to cover some of the nation’s best receivers.

“He is long and physical without being too grabby,” 247Sports’ John Garcia said. “He shows instincts and ability to read routes as well. He has stuck right with some of the best route runners down here, and kids with great speed. He has also gotten his hands on passes in practice and shown his ball skills.”

With Justin Layne declaring for the NFL Draft, the 6-foot-2, 190-pound Barnett has an opportunity to compete for early time in East Lansing.

"Coach (Mark) Dantonio said I will start out on defense, move me around on D, then move me to offense," he said. “If I do what I have to do, I'll be playing."

Michigan State has had other recruits play in this game before, like William Gholston and Lawrence Thomas. Dobbs and Barnett are showing they not only belong among the best in the country, but can stand out from the pack in this setting.

While it was important for them to have a good, competitive week, it is also a reward for their outstanding high school careers and an opportunity to play one last game as a high school kid. The next time they put on a helmet, it will be green and white.

“It’s beautiful,” Dobbs said. “I’m real appreciative of the opportunity because a lot of people wish they could be here, so I just want to soak everything up and make it worth it.”

MSU add 2019 WR commitment

Massillon (Ohio) Washington wide receiver Tre’von Morgan committed to Michigan State on Tuesday night.

Morgan had planned to take official visits in January, including one to Michigan State, before making a commitment, but moved that decision up and chose the Spartans over Iowa, Ole Miss, Iowa State, Washington State and more.

He is a big, 6-foot-6, 215-pound target who some schools considered for a tight end spot, but he is reportedly being recruited as a wide receiver by the Spartans.

Morgan had 10 touchdown receptions as a senior while helping Washington reach the state title game.

More information

Julian Barnett profile

Devontae Dobbs profile

Tre'von Morgan 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