East Lansing — Michigan State signed two players on Wednesday, and one was even a running back, but the signed letter of intent from the top remaining committed player isn’t likely to be coming anytime soon.
It was national signing day and the Spartans announced that three-star running back Donovan Eaglin of Manvel, Texas, and three-star defensive end Jasiyah Robinson of Groveport (Ohio) Madison had both sent in the letters of intent and are now members of the 2020 class.
But three-star running back Jordon Simmons of McEachern High in Powder Springs, Georgia, remained unsigned, thrown for a loop by the unexpected retirement of coach Mark Dantonio, who announced on Tuesday he was stepping down less than two weeks after Simmons had taken an official visit to Michigan State.
On Tuesday night, Simmons announced on social media that he would delay his signing.
“Due to the unforeseen retirement of Coach Dantonio and after discussing things with my family, I have decided to delay my signing with Michigan State University until further notice,” Simmons wrote. “I love everything that Michigan State has to offer and I appreciate the love and support that the fan base has shown me. However, with the uncertainty of the MSU program I have decided to take some time to weight out my options and think about where I will spend the next 4 years.”
Simmons told Rivals.com he already has heard from other schools, including Oklahoma State, Virginia and Washington State, but said he is still considering Michigan State.
“I am not sure how much time I will need,” Simmons told Rivals. “I think it will be some time before I know what I am going to do. I need to see who Michigan State hires and what happens there.”
With Dantonio moving on, assistant head coach and defensive coordinator Mike Tressel has taken over on an interim basis. His tenure began Wednesday with Michigan State signing two more players to bring the total for the class to 21.
Seven players already have enrolled and another 12 signed during the early period in December.
Running back was a priority as the Spartans didn’t get a back in the early signing period, and there are only three scholarship running backs on the current roster — Elijah Collins, Anthony Williams and Brandon Wright, all headed into their sophomore seasons.
Depth in the backfield became a problem during the 2019 season as three players entered the transfer portal. First, junior Connor Heyward opted to leave the program, followed by sophomore La’Darius Jefferson and junior Weston Bridges.
While Simmons was an important piece to the puzzle and could still end up at Michigan State, landing Eaglin (5-11, 215) was important.
Eaglin ran for 1,584 yards on 172 carries (9.2 yards per carry) with 25 touchdowns as a senior in 2019. He also had 12 catches for 173 yards and a touchdown as he piled up 1,757 all-purpose yards at Manvel. Eaglin was ranked the No. 96 running back in the nation by 247sports.com and helped lead Manvel to a 13-1 record, including three state playoff wins, and a berth in the Texas Class 5A Division 2 quarterfinals.
“This year, he was the guy and in our playoff games,” Manvel head coach Kevin Hall said. “He 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.”
Michigan State also signed the 6-3, 225-pound Robinson, who was named to the Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association Division 1 all-state first team and was named the Columbus Dispatch Defensive Player of the Year. The Ohio Capital Conference Defensive Player of the Year, Robinson was rated the No. 64 player overall in the state of Ohio by 247Sports.