Trieu: New Michigan State staff gets reacquainted with West Bloomfield star Dillon Tatum

By Allen Trieu
Special to The Detroit News

Michigan State’s new staff has hit the ground running in recruiting.

Running, even in the literal sense, as running backs coach William Peagler reached out to West Bloomfield head coach Ron Bellamy as soon as he took the job in East Lansing to make sure Bellamy knew his 2022 star Dillon Tatum had an offer from the Spartans.

Dillon Tatum of West Bloomfield received scholarship offers from both Mark Dantonio's staff at Michigan State and Mel Tucker's staff with the Spartans.

Mark Dantonio’s staff had offered the versatile 5-foot-11, 180-pound Tatum, but Peagler and Mel Tucker have re-affirmed the offer.

“Coach Peagler reached out. We had a pre-existing relationship with Colorado with Coach Tucker,” Bellamy said. “Those guys were going after Donovan (Edwards) and when I sent our prospect sheet, Dillon caught their eyes and they offered him at Colorado. So, naturally, when they came to Michigan State, they offered there, too.”

While Edwards, a top national recruit, deservedly gets a lot of headlines and attention, Tatum has been a key cog in every phase of the game.

“He is versatile in every sense,” Bellamy said. “I have not had one like him. Dillon is a home-run threat every time he touches the ball. He can play slot, outside, he’s versatile on offense and defensively he can play safety, corner, in our defense; he’s our viper, so lots of versatile things there. Then the thing that sticks out most, that I’m most proud of, is that he’s a core special-teams guy. He understands that even as a playmaker, a rising superstar kind of kid, that it’s an important contribution to our team. So he does everything he can to help us win.”

The new Spartan staff under Tucker has aggressively offered players they offered at Colorado and some new names in the 2021 class, but also have worked ahead on 2022 recruits like Tatum.

With Bellamy having two guys they have offered in different classes, he is able to compare and contrast where the Spartans stand with Edwards and Tatum.

“To be honest, when dealing with kids, and coming in late, the best thing they can do is build a relationship with the high school coaches,” Bellamy said. “I shared that with the coaches from State. It’s to no fault of Coach Tucker and their staff, but they’re new there, so for a kid like Donovan, at this juncture, maybe you talk to a coach or his dad and help close the gap, let you catch up and give you guys a fair shake. With Dillon, it’s different because he’s younger, so they get a full year to try to be creative and plan their recruiting and get him on campus more.”

Tatum said the previous Spartan staff was one of the schools he kept in close contact with, and is looking forward to doing the same with the new coaches.

He holds additional offers from Michigan, Florida, West Virginia and more.

Four-star OT offered

Michigan State has offered Scottsdale (Ariz.) Saguaro junior Bram Walden, a 6-foot-4, 270-pound offensive tackle.

Walden, ranked by 247Sports as a Top 100 prospect nationally, was offered by Colorado last March.

Oregon is currently believed to be the team to beat in his recruitment.

Highly-regarded sophomore QB offered

A.J. Duffy, a class of 2022 quarterback from Moreno Valley (Calif.), was offered by Michigan State this week.

The new staff had offered him at Colorado as well.

Florida State, LSU, Nebraska, Penn State, USC and others have offered.

The 6-foot, 200-pound Duffy passed for 2,568 yards and 26 touchdowns as a sophomore. He played varsity as a freshman and threw for 2,984 yards and 40 touchdowns.

More information

Dillon Tatum profile

Bram Walden profile

AJ Duffy 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