Michigan State recently offered a scholarship to one of the fastest rising sophomores in the Midwest, Ironton (Ohio) linebacker Reid Carrico.
Carrico has received offers from all around the country this spring, but the offer from the Spartans stands out to him.
"Michigan State is one of my favorites already and I haven't been on campus,” he said.
Part of that is because a lot of what Ironton football does mirrors what Michigan State football does. Head coach Trevon Pendelton was a four-year letterwinner for the Spartans and now going into his second season as Tigers head man, he molds his program off of Mark Dantonio’s.
“Michigan State is like a second home and the staff is like family to me,” Pendleton said. “They’re father figures to me – Coach Salem, Coach Warner, Coach Dantonio, Coach Tressel recruiting me – they’re always near and dear to my heart. A lot of the stuff we do in our program piggy-backs what I learned from them. They helped mold me into the man I am today and our guys understand that’s where we get a lot of our stuff from.”
Prior to coming to Ironton, Pendleton was an assistant coach at his alma mater, Portsmouth West. When West played Ironton, Carrico was already making a varsity impact as a freshman and Pendleton noted his talent. When he got the job at Ironton, it became clear, very quickly, he had a special player.
Now colleges have noticed. Some coaches have said they think Carrico could be the best inside linebacker prospect in the country. He also carries a 4.4 grade-point average in the classroom.
“Honestly, it’s a testament to his character and the type of kid he is,” Pendleton said. “He’s the first guy in the weight room and the last guy to leave. He is a leader in all aspects – on the football, in the classroom, even in the community. He does all the little things. He is an attention-to-details guy, always doing something to try to better himself even if it’s the smallest of details.”
According to 247Sports director of scouting Barton Simmons, eight linebackers were drafted in the first three rounds of the NFL Draft this year, and all but two played positions other than linebacker in high school, an indication of the athleticism it takes to play the position at the highest levels.
Carrico fits that mold. He was outstanding defensively as a sophomore, but his 1,376 rushing yards and the footage of him breaking long runs at his size, are part of what also intrigued college coaches.
“He is a true 6-foot-2½, closer to 6-foot-3 guy, 220 pounds and lean,” Pendleton said. “If you look at him, you would guess he is a lot skinner than 220 pounds. He carries it well. He has a big frame and can easily add 25 to 30 pounds and still look like a freak athlete.”
In addition to Michigan State, programs like Ohio State, Florida State, LSU, Texas, Florida, Tennessee, Wisconsin and more have offered Carrico scholarships. That has been beneficial for the other kids in the Ironton program, as well, to have college coaches roaming the halls every day.
According to Pendleton, Carrico has handled the personal attention extremely well and has continued to handle his business the same way he did prior to the offers coming his way.
Of course, Pendleton was happy to see the Spartans come through with an offer, but has made it known that the decision, ultimately, is in Carrico’s hands.
“I’m never going to push any of our kids one way or another,” Pendleton said. “I open every door for them that I can and let them make their own decisions. I’m very open and honest about my experience at Michigan State and how fortunate I am. It’s my goal to have the same relationship with our kids as I did with their staff. But I’ve told them, no one but them makes the decision. I’d love to see them in green and white, but I support their decisions no matter what.”
Carrico was first team all-conference and all-district as a sophomore. He is ranked as the No. 6 inside linebacker in the country in the 2021 class and the No. 9 recruit in Ohio in that class by 247Sports.
Spartans offer top-ranked kicker
Michigan State offered a scholarship to Jake Seibert, a kicker from Cincinnati LaSalle. Seibert is ranked by Chris Sailer Kicking as the No. 1 prospect at that position in the country.
Seibert was also offered by Temple, Air Force and UCLA. He takes an official visit with the Bruins this weekend.
He has been to Michigan State three times for unofficial visits, but said he may take an official visit to East Lansing this summer.
Four-star sophomore offered
Lakeville (Minn.) North offensive tackle Riley Mahlman, a 6-foot-8, 250-pound sophomore, was offered by Michigan State.
Mahlman camped at the Spartans’ Big Man Camp last June.
Several other programs, including Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska and Northwestern have offered scholarships to Mahlman.
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.