Trieu: DeWeaver hopes to connect with 4-star WR Smith again

Allen Trieu
Special to The Detroit News
L'Christian Smith

Michigan State’s coaching staff extended new offers in the 2018 class this week, and one of the most interesting was the one to Huber Heights (Ohio) Wayne wide receiver L’Christian Smith.

If the name of that school sounds familiar, that’s because the Spartans signed a quarterback in the 2016 class, highly-regarded Messiah DeWeaver, from Wayne High. It may also sound familiar because that’s the same school the Spartans found Jerel Worthy.

Tom Izzo and the Spartan basketball staff also signed Travis Trice from there, and incidentally, Smith is also a top basketball recruit.

At 6-foot-5 and 200 pounds, the four-star Smith has size, a sure set of hands and the skills to create mismatches. DeWeaver certainly found that skill set useful a year ago as he found Smith 54 times for 1,311 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Since DeWeaver talks to him about the Spartans so much, Smith already feels familiar with the program, so much so, that despite only being a sophomore, his reaction to receiving the offer this week was “finally.”

Trieu: DE Vilain would be ‘complete package’ for Michigan

“I’ve been waiting on this one,” he said to Scout’s Dave Berk. ““Honestly, it has a lot to do with Messiah (DeWeaver). Since he came to our school, he’s been rocking the Green and White. (DeWeaver transferred from Trotwood-Madison ahead of the 2015 season.)

“So it was last year when (MSU) started recruiting me.  It took a lot of time, but I was just patiently waiting and they said if I came up (visited) I would get one.  But they said they couldn’t wait anymore and offered me this week.”

Smith has additional offers from Spartan rivals Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State. Those schools don’t have DeWeaver, who does espouse the virtues of East Lansing and the MSU football program, yet is advising his younger former teammate to make the right decision for himself.

“Everyone’s assuming, because of Messiah, that it’s shoe-in for Michigan State, but it’s not at this time because it’s so early,” Berk says. “He’s going through the process still, taking visits, seeing schools and he’s not in any rush.”

A decision he will have to make, in addition to which school he will attend, is which sport he will play in college, or if he will attempt the rare two-sport juggle at the next level. It has been done before at Michigan State, notably by Matt Trannon.

“I think he will end up being more of a football kid,” Berk says. “He really hasn’t played a lot of football. He grew up as a quarterback, so he’s still learning to play receiver, so he’s just scratching the surface of what he can become.”

This summer, Smith will play AAU basketball as well as camp with several schools for football.

One of those camps will be at Michigan State, where it can be assured that DeWeaver, who enrolled last January, will continue giving his best pitch to have Smith as a target again someday.

Panasiuk moves decision up

Roselle (Ill.) Lake Park defensive end Jacub Panasiuk has changed his commitment date from June 14 to June 2. Panasiuk has Michigan State in his final four along with Indiana, Penn State and Minnesota.

He is the younger brother of 2016 signee Mike Panasiuk

“I talk to him every day, try to make the process easier for him,” Mike said. “I respect him and even though I want him to come up with me to Michigan State, I’ve been through it, so I know how it is. People say, ‘Come here, come here,’ but it was up to me and it’s up to him. I try to help him but I’m always pursuing him to come to Michigan State with me.”

The older Panasiuk will play defensive tackle for the Spartans. Jacub played end a year ago, but could project inside as he continues to fill out his 6-foot-4, 250-pound frame.

Cass Tech LB likes MSU

Detroit Cass Tech’s stable of recruits continues in their 2018 and 2019 classes, where several of their kids already hold scholarship offers.

One of those players is linebacker Dyontae Johnson, a 6-foot-2, 190-pounder who just earned his first offer from Cincinnati this week.

He has visited Michigan State and admits MSU was his favorite school growing up.

"I am currently keeping touch with Michigan State,” he said. “I grew up rooting for Michigan State as a kid. It was exciting watching them play and it still is exciting to this day."

Johnson may camp with the Spartans this summer.

More information

L'Christian Smith profile

Jacub Panasiuk profile 

Dyontae Johnson 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