Devontae Dobbs among three more Michigan State players in transfer portal
The march to the transfer portal continued on Friday for Michigan State.
A day after its season was likely ended with the cancelation of this week's scheduled game at Maryland, three Michigan State players entered the NCAA transfer portal, including offensive lineman Devontae Dobbs, cornerback Davion Williams and linebacker Jeslord Boateng, The Detroit News confirmed on Friday.
Dobbs and Williams are both from Belleville High School, as is cornerback Julian Barnett, who entered the transfer portal earlier this month.
Dobbs, a redshirt freshman, was a four-star recruit from Belleville and a Detroit News Dream Team member. He was the No. 1 player in the 2019 Detroit News Blue Chip list. Dobbs, 6-foot-5, 305 pounds, played in four games with one start last season but didn’t play this fall for new coach Mel Tucker.
Belleville coach Jermain Crowell said his three former players “had a tough time with the (coaching) transition, with no spring practice and all and the staff not knowing a lot about them.”
Crowell said he has received calls from college coaches inquiring about Dobbs, Williams and Barnett.
“It’s not like they don’t have options,” Crowell said of his former players. “I’ve received a lot of calls from coaches. It’s just like a business decision and I’ve told them they need to be sure with their next move, that they are comfortable and it’s a place where they know they’ll be playing.”
Earlier this month, offensive line coach Chris Kapilovic was asked about the status of Dobbs and fifth-year senior Luke Campbell, another offensive lineman who had not played all season.
“Those guys are trying to work through some injuries and work through just getting improvement,” said Kapilovic, also the team’s run game coordinator. “I don’t know if we’ll see them this year but hopefully if we don’t see them this year then we’ll definitely see some improvement and see them next year.”
While Dobbs saw limited action at left tackle in 2019, fellow freshmen J.D. Duplain and Nick Samac secured starting spots by late in the year and have continued that progression this season with Duplain at left guard and Samac at center. Meanwhile, fifth-year senior AJ Arcuri has started every game at left tackle with redshirt freshman Spencer Brown seeing action in the final two games.
With Dobbs’ entry in the portal on Friday morning, Michigan State’s three highest-rated recruits from the 2019 class – four-star cornerback/wide receiver Julian Barnett and three-star linebacker Luke Fulton are the others – are all in the portal now.
Barnett entered the portal Dec. 10 and Fulton on Nov. 30. Barnett was the No. 3 player on the 2019 Detroit News Blue Chip list.
Williams, a third-year sophomore, appeared in all seven games this season but played primarily on special teams and recorded eight tackles. At 6-0 and 180 pounds, Williams was a three-star recruit in the 2018 class and was ranked the No. 9 player in the state by 247Sports. He was also No. 18 on The Detroit News Blue Chip list.
Boateng (6-2, 230) of Dubin, Ohio, was a three-star prospect in the 2018 class and rated the No. 36 prospect in Ohio. He redshirted his first season, then appeared in 11 games last season, recording 10 tackles, including playing nine snaps with one tackle in the Pinstripe Bowl victory over Wake Forest. Boateng played in all seven games this season primarily on special teams and did not register a tackle.
Michigan State now has had eight players enter the portal this season. In addition to Dobbs, Barnett, Williams, Boateng and Fulton, running back Anthony Williams, linebacker Marcel Lewis and linebacker Charles Willekes have also entered the portal.
The decisions from Dobbs, Williams and Boateng come two days after Michigan State signed 16 players to the 2021 recruiting class, the same day the Spartans added graduate transfer quarterback Anthony Russo from Temple. On Thursday, the Spartans signed Hank Pepper, the No. 2 long snapper in the country, and late on Thursday secured the transfer of Auburn running back Harold Joiner III, the No. 5 running back prospect in the nation in the 2018 class.
David Goricki of The Detroit News contributed to this report.