Trieu: Michigan State targets ‘big, tough, fast’ Texas running back Donovan Eaglin
Manvel (Texas) running back Donovan Eaglin is at Michigan State for an official visit this weekend.
As a senior, Eaglin (5-11, 215 pounds) had big year, rushing for 1,584 yards and 25 touchdowns. Ask his high school coaching staff about him and the statistics and production are among the last qualities they mention as standout characteristics.
“I don’t know if you’ve got enough time,” said Manvel head coach Kevin Hall when asked to describe Eaglin. “He is as fine a young man as I have ever coached and I’ve coached for 30 years in Texas. He has impeccable character. He does everything right at home, in the classroom, out around town – he has no flaw. In terms of his ability, he is a big, tough, fast running back. He will give you everything he’s got every play.”
Manvel always has a lot of talent, but that has especially been true at running back the last several years. Garrison Johnson in the 2019 class signed with Syracuse; the year before, Deneric Price signed with Texas A&M before transferring to Tulsa; and D’Vaughn Pennamon in the 2016 class signed with Ole Miss.
“He (Eaglin) is as good as any of them,” Hall said.
Hall explained that it is nearly impossible for freshmen to play varsity at Manvel, so Eaglin came up to that level as a sophomore and was immediately put into the rotation despite the presence of those other talented backs. A shoulder injury that happened during the football season was re-aggravated in track when he fell doing the hurdles. That caused him to miss offseason camps and, as a result, fall under the radar going into his junior year.
“He didn’t get cleared until partway through the season, so he had to work his way back into shape,” Hall said. “He didn’t just play running back for us, he played defensive end in our rabbit package on third-and-long. This year, he was the guy and in our playoff games, rushed for 740 yards and 12 touchdowns. He really solidified himself as one of the best football players that’s ever played at Manvel and that’s saying a whole lot.”
Hall believes Eaglin can carry more than the 225 pounds he played at this season and still be effective. He also believes Eaglin has much more speed than people may think.
Michigan State noticed his talents, and although East Lansing is a long way from home, the Spartans have had some success recruiting in Texas, and he is eager to give the school a close look this weekend.
“What I think had a lot to do with it – Coach Samuel came down here and he’s originally from the Houston area,” Hall said. “Coaches are in here a dime a dozen and he made a really good impression on everybody here. You can just tell that guy is something. That was something Donovan was impressed with. He’s excited about it. I’d be tickled to death if he were to go to Michigan State. They have a great program. Even though it’s 19 degrees there and 80 here, it’s a great program. Coach Dantonio runs the program right and it would be a great place for Donovan.”
If it aligns and Eaglin does end up at MSU, his coach is just as confident the Spartans would be getting a great person and player.
“He’s just awesome,” Hall said. “He is very humble. He’s quiet by nature but a smile from ear to ear. I’ve never seen him in a bad mood, his grades are phenomenal. He is everything you want a football player to be.”
New offer in Ohio
Michigan State extended an offer to senior defensive end Jasiyah Robinson, a 6-foot-3, 225-pound prospect from Groveport (Ohio) Madison.
Robinson explained to Bill Greene of 247Sports that the Spartans have been recruiting him for two seasons but were waiting for his grades to come out before offering. Head coach Mark Dantonio extended the offer.
He will take an official visit to Michigan State next weekend.
The Spartan football team will have several in-state juniors visiting for Friday night’s basketball game against Wisconsin.
Livonia Franklin offensive tackle Kyle Fugedi, Macomb Dakota running back/defensive back D.J. Stepney, Belleville wide receiver Deion Burks and Oak Park offensive lineman Rayshaun Benny are among the visitors.
Benny is coming in already holding a Spartan offer.
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.