Trieu: MSU turns attention to defensive star McCrae

Allen Trieu
Special to The Detroit News
Gary McCrae

Michigan State is clearly making an effort to add a recruit on the defensive front before National Signing Day. The Spartans offered Iowa commit Cedrick Lattimore of Detroit East English; began recruiting Detroit Renaissance product Alaric Jackson as a defensive lineman (he was once offered by them as an offensive tackle); hosted Penn State commit Karamo Dioubate; and invited Canton’s Jalen Cochran up for an official visit.

Lattimore is sticking with Iowa, Jackson may join him, and Cochran is likely to visit Arizona this weekend, so the Spartans renewed their recruitment of a prospect they have quite a bit of familiarity with in East Mississippi Community College’s Gary McCrae.

“Michigan State originally offered him (in high school),” Scout’s Dave Berk said. “He signed with Georgia but went the JUCO route.”

McCrae was a standout basketball player at Randolph-Clay High in Cuthbert, Georgia, at the time and was recruited as a 220-pound outside linebacker. He now stands 6-foot-5, 245 pounds, so defensive end is a strong possibility, but his athleticism leaves all options on the table.

“They told him he could play both,” Berk said. “He could stay at linebacker or come up and play on the edge.”

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The Spartans will receive an official visit from McCrae this weekend, but Georgia, Miami, Clemson and Auburn are all still in the mix. Mark Richt is Miami’s coach, and that was the coach McCrae committed to out of high school when Richt was with Georgia.

The Spartans are the only northern school on the list, but the state of Georgia (Darqueze Dennard, Montez Sweat, etc.) has been kind to them before.

“I think Michigan State definitely has a shot,” Berk said. “When I talked to him, he was excited to make the visit.”

Said McCrae: “They are a big school and I really want to go up and see what it’s like there. I also like how they run their defense.”

McCrae played as a stand-up edge rusher for East Mississippi this season.

Hill sets announcement details

Detroit King four-star cornerback Lavert Hill, the top remaining uncommitted prospect in the state, will announce his commitment on Signing Day Wednesday at 9 a.m. at King. His final three are Penn State, where he was once committed, Michigan State, where he took an official visit last weekend, and Michigan, who he plans to visit this upcoming weekend.

Spartans offer younger Panasiuk

Michigan State offered Roselle (Ill.) Lake Park class of 2017 defensive end Jacub Panasiuk, the younger brother of class of 2016 defensive tackle commit Mike Panasiuk. Jacub (6-4, 250 pounds) finished his junior season with 56 tackles (14 for loss), four sacks and four forced fumbles. Syracuse, Illinois, Iowa State, Florida Atlantic, Western Michigan and Miami (Ohio) are among the other schools who have already offered, in addition to the Spartans.

More information

Gary McCrae profile

Lavert Hill profile

Jacub Panasiuk profile

Allen Trieu began covering the state of Michigan for in 2005 and began managing the entire Midwest in 2009. 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