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Trieu: Spring game fruitful for MSU recruiting

Allen Trieu
Special to The Detroit News
Darien Tipps-Clemons

While they did not happen in East Lansing on Saturday, Michigan State’s spring game has now produced two commitments as the Spartans added Piqua (Ohio) linebacker Darien Tipps-Clemons and Copley (Ohio) running back Weston Bridges to their 2017 class after both players were offered while visiting last weekend.

Tipps-Clemons made the commitment official on Tuesday after the Spartans came to his school during the day and he called head coach Mark Dantonio later that night.

“It feels pretty good,” Tipps-Clemons said to Scout’s Dave Berk about the commitment.  “Going into my junior season I didn’t have any early offers.  So you’re working even harder to get that first offer.  Now that I know what I’m doing and where I’m going, I just need to continue to work hard and continue to play ball. I liked talking with all the different coaches, but my heart is set with one school and I have no plans to go anywhere at all.”

After carrying the ball 99 times for 703 yards and 10 touchdowns as a junior, Tipps-Clemons received offers from Bowling Green, Ball State, Rutgers and others as a running back. However, his size (6-1, 205 pounds) caught Michigan State’s eye on defense, where he played linebacker a year ago. That was the position he was offered at and where the Spartans will look to play him in college.

“Basically it will be adjusting to playing more linebacker,” he said.  “It would be a smooth transition as I do play both ways now.  I’ll just have to worry more about picking up the defensive aspects of football.”

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Bridges will not have that same transition to make as he will stay at running back in college, the position where he averaged 8.8 yards a carry as a junior while amassing 1,620 yards and 29 touchdowns, many of those on long runs.

His speed (self-reported 4.46) and that big-play ability earned him offers from Missouri, Syracuse, Rutgers, Purdue, Indiana, Boston College and more.

However, after he was offered by Michigan State and saw the spring game atmosphere, he said his decision was easy.

"The visit was amazing,” Bridges said. “Everything about MSU is crazy. The fans, the facilities and the players made it even better. The coaches are amazing at MSU. They really don't rush offers and they really want to get to know you as a person and that is so important. High school kids need to realize when a staff cares about you as a person and a player, not just as a player, that's a great staff."

Tipps-Clemons and Bridges make eight commitments for MSU in the 2017 class, three from the state of Ohio, including offensive lineman Matt Carrick.

Spartans look for more from Ohio

In addition to Tipps-Clemons and Bridges, Michigan State also offered Kings (Ohio) offensive lineman Matt Sichterman on Saturday. Sichterman is a four-star prospect on Scout who has additional offers from Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Nebraska, Pittsburgh and more.

He said the Spartans “would definitely be up there” on his list of schools, with the engineering program being a big part of that, in addition to the success of the football team.

He does not currently have a decision date planned but said he was getting close to narrowing his list down.

New offer out in Maryland

Michigan State extended an offer to Upper Marlboro (Md.) Riverdale Baptist junior Tariq Castro-Fields, who could play wide receiver or defensive back at the next level.

Castro-Fields (6-1, 177 pounds) says he does not have any leaders, but named Maryland, Penn State, Syracuse and North Carolina as schools he speaks with the most.

He does not currently have a visit set for Michigan State.

More information

Darien Tipps-Clemons profile 

Weston Bridges profile

Matt Sichterman profile

Allen Trieu began covering the state of Michigan for Scout.com 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 detroitnews.com.