Trieu: Names to know as Michigan State amps up 2021 recruiting effort

Allen Trieu
Special to The Detroit News

Michigan State signed 19 players in the 2020 class during the Early Signing Period. The Spartans will still have room for potential additions, including verbal commit Jordon Simmons for February’s National Signing Day. But with the 2020 class largely completed, the attention begins to turn toward the class of 2021.

Here is a primer of what to look for from MSU recruiting in the ’21 class.

Garrett Nussmeier

► In eight of the last nine classes, Michigan State has signed at least one legacy prospect, meaning that recruit’s parent or grandparent played a sport at MSU. Darius Snow and Dallas Fincher were the two in 2020, Tate Hallock in 2019, Jacob Isaia in 2018, Hunter Rison in 2017, none in 2016, Grayson Miller in 2015, Byron Bullough in 2014, Jon Reschke in 2013, and Riley Bullough in 2012.

If the trend is to continue, the best chance in 2021 is likely tight end Jake Briningstool, whose father, Tony Briningstool, played linebacker at Michigan State from 1987-92. Briningstool is now down at Ravenwood Academy in Brentwood (Tenn.) and has developed into a national prospect. He is the No. 2 tight end in the country per the 247Sports Composite. Clemson is up at the top of his list along with Michigan State. Alabama, Arkansas, Florida State and many others have offered.

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► It is not considered a legacy recruit when a player signs whose dad coached at Michigan State, but the Spartans did have that in the 2018 class with linebacker Edward Warinner, whose father, Ed Warinner, coached at Michigan State in the mid-80s and is now with Michigan.

The Spartans are hoping that situation could work out again in the 2021 class with quarterback Garrett Nussmeier. His father, Doug Nussmeier, coached at MSU from 2003-05 and is now with the Dallas Cowboys. Nussmeier is at Flower Mound (Texas) Marcus and is the nation’s No. 11 pro-style quarterback per the 247Sports Composite. He camped at Michigan State last summer but has 20 scholarship offers including LSU, Georgia, Penn State, Purdue and more.

► The Spartans had three in-state signees in the 2020 class. That is slightly below their average. The Spartans have offered 13 in-state prospects in the 2021 class and that number should go up through winter evaluations into spring evaluations and then at MSU’s summer camps.

At the moment, of the 13, MSU is thought to have the best chances with Grand Rapids Catholic Central wide receiver Jace Williams, Detroit King safety Jaylen Reed and Southfield A&T defensive/offensive lineman Caleb Banks. They have also had Detroit Cass Tech twins Kobe and Kalen King up to campus, as well as Oak Park’s highly regarded offensive lineman Rayshuan Benny in recent months. Banks was offered while visiting for a Michigan State basketball game.

► Ohio is always a state that produces some future Spartans. As with Michigan, we would expect the number of offers in Ohio to increase over the next several months. Streetsboro defensive tackle Mike Hall, Akron Hoban linebacker Darryl Peterson and Cincinnati LaSalle safety Jaylen Johnson are two early Ohio offers Michigan State has extended.

► Outside the Midwest, two defensive names to know are Cordele (Ga.) Crisp County linebacker Christopher Paul Jr. and Philadelphia Neumann Goretti defensive end Eric Gentry. Paul Jr. visited last March and was offered then. Gentry, a long 6-foot-7 edge-rusher, was recently offered and reportedly plans to give the Spartans a close look.

More information

Jake Briningstool profile 

Garrett Nussmeier profile 

Christopher Paul Jr. 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