Trieu: MSU recruiting heats up in Florida, Georgia

Allen Trieu
Special to The Detroit News
Jeremiah Zio

Florida and Georgia have been two states Michigan State’s staff has been able to procure talent from over the last several years. The Spartans currently have seven players on their roster from those states, and judging from their recent stops and offers during the spring evaluation period, that is a number they’d like to see grow in the 2017 and 2018 classes.

The staff has extended a number of offers in the South, including one to class of 2017 defensive end Jeremiah Zio of Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Farragut, a 6-foot-7, 230-pound prospect who is just starting to scratch the surface of his football potential.

More known as a basketball player when he transferred to Farragut, Zio is more familiar with hoops and has colleges recruiting him there too. But with offers like Michigan State and also Louisville, West Virginia, Indiana and others coming in for football, it is clear his star is rising there.

“He still loves basketball and will give that a shot,” Scout analyst Corey Bender says, “but he realizes his upside is on the gridiron. He likes North Carolina because of their basketball tradition. Michigan State will definitely have a shot, but it’s really early. He’s still getting used to the whole football thing.”

Michigan State also offered his teammate, linebacker Khalan Tolson (6-0, 198 pounds). Only a sophomore, Tolson has additional offers from Cincinnati, Indiana, Louisville, South Florida and Toledo.

The Spartans also offered Bradenton (Fla.) Manatee wide receiver Tarique Milton, who entered the week as a somewhat under-the-radar recruit with a handful of offers. However, recent workouts have raised his stock and the offer from Michigan State, as well as from Kentucky and South Florida, all came in the same day.  Milton made a big impact for Manatee last season as a return specialist in addition to wide receiver and has been compared to another wide receiver the Spartans once plucked from the Sunshine State, Macgarrett Kings.

Trieu: UM commit St. Juste out to prove doubters wrong

The Spartans also extended offers to Tampa (Fla.) Plant tight end Judge Culpepper, Marietta (Ga.) Lassiter safety Derrik Allen, and Warner Robins (Ga.) Houston County offensive lineman Trey Hill, all in the class of 2018, in the last week.

With the recent announcement that Michigan State’s staff will attend all six Sound Mind Sound Body Football Academies – including stops in Tampa and Atlanta – Florida and Georgia are sure to continue to be a target recruiting ground for the Spartans.

Spartan target sets announcement date

Roselle (Ill.) Lake Park defensive end Jacub Panasiuk will announce his college commitment on June 14. A 6-foot-4, 250-pound junior, he has offers from Syracuse, Minnesota, Illinois and more, but the Spartans are considered the front-runner to be his choice that day, thanks in part to older brother Mike Panasiuk signing with MSU in the 2016 class. Panasiuk finished his junior season with 56 tackles (14.5 for loss) and four sacks.

Four-star cornerback getting close also?

Another of Michigan State’s top Midwest targets is Cincinnati Colerain’s four-star cornerback Amir Riep, who told Scout’s Dave Berk recently that he’s “getting close to getting this all put away and just focusing on my team.”

Riep visited many schools in the spring, including Michigan State.

“I spent a little bit of time with Coach Dantonio talking about different things,” he said.  “He said he was going to come to school and he came down last week.  He said they are going to continue recruiting me hard and that they are still there and are not going anywhere.”

Ohio State, Tennessee, Florida, LSU, Georgia and Notre Dame are among the other top programs are on his list.

He added that he hopes to shorten his list before making a commitment.

More information

Jeremiah Zio profile

Jacub Panasiuk profile

Amir Riep 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.