Trieu: Michigan State commits off to strong starts in final prep seasons
The high school football regular season is already reaching the midway point in some states, and some of Michigan State’s 2020 class of commits are making noise for their teams.
One of the most impressive has been wide receiver commit Ricky White, who is having a monster year since transferring to Marietta (Ga.) High School.
White now has the benefit of playing with four-star Tennessee quarterback commit Harrison Bailey, but it has not been just through the air that he has made an impact. He has scored on jet sweeps and kickoff returns. This has all come against good competition. He had a return touchdown and a receiving touchdown against Tucker (Ga.). Then, in a showdown game with Philadelphia (Pa.) St. Joseph’s, he had a highlight-reel catch, going up and over a defender to keep the game-winning drive alive and then caught the go-ahead touchdown.
Akron (Ohio) Hoban linebacker Devin Hightower has impressed through three games. 247Sports Ohio analyst Bill Greene saw Hightower live against Cleveland St. Ignatius and sees vast improvement in him form his junior year.
“I have been propping Hightower as a candidate to move up in the Ohio rankings after seeing him add 25 pounds of muscle in the offseason and increase his speed,” Greene said. “The toughest thing for high school linebackers to deal with in the transition to college is pass coverage, and Hightower might be the best linebacker in Ohio in coverage. He is super smart and plays the game the right way, and could be a candidate to see the field early for the Spartans. He reminds me of Andrew Dowell in a lot of ways, but he is more of a finished linebacker than Dowell was coming out of high school.”
Mansfield (Ohio) cornerback Angelo Grose is committed to Michigan State as a cornerback, but based on his offensive output, maybe the Spartans will look at him as a return man or part-time offensive player as well. In a recent win over Cleveland John Hay, Grose had two receiving touchdowns and one punt return for a score. He had seven receptions in a Week 1 win over Norwalk. And Michigan State, a program that has several sets of brothers playing for them, might also keep an eye on younger brother Aveon Grose, who is having a good season for Mansfield as well.
Grovetown (Ga.) had a narrow 13-7 victory over Richmond (Ga.) Academy recently, and it was Michigan State defensive end commit Simeon Barrow who made a key play late in that game to help seal the victory. With Richmond driving toward a go-ahead touchdown, Barrow had a 10-yard tackle for loss, which forced Richmond into a third-and-20. They were unable to convert, and that closed the show for Grovetown. Barrow had 31 tackles for loss as a junior, so he is no stranger to making plays in the backfield.
New Palestine (Ind.) senior defensive lineman Kyle King rarely ever comes off the field for his team. His most impressive performance might have come in a win over Center Grove, a team with size and toughness up front themselves.
“He’s such a special kid,” Dragons head coach Kyle Ralph told 247Sports’ Steve Wiltfong following that contest. “To go out there and deal with a 300-plus pound offensive lineman and then you turn around and you’re blocking a future Division-I defensive tackle and you play the whole game like that, it speaks volumes to his character, his work ethic and how intense and tough he is.”
Michigan State currently has 14 commitments in its 2020 class.
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.