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Trieu: MSU gets in early on Belleville ’19 prospect Dobbs

Allen Trieu
Special to The Detroit News
Devontae Dobbs

When Belleville head coach Jermain Crowell first got to work with Devontae Dobbs, he was coming out of his eighth-grade year, heading into his freshman campaign with the Tigers and was already pushing 6-foot-4.

Crowell had visions of him making life miserable for opposing quarterbacks. He was convinced he had the next Malik McDowell. It was Dobbs’ little league coach who convinced Crowell he had a high-end left tackle, and that he should try the young man on offense. While he may still develop into a McDowell-like defensive lineman, the likelihood now is that he will land major offers as an offensive tackle.

Dobbs is now 255 pounds with quick feet, the type of flexibility most big kids do not possess, and a love of competition that sees him continuously jump in line against older players at camps. That happened on Wednesday at Michigan State’s lineman camp, where Dobbs impressed the Spartan staff. So much so that they became the first Big Ten school to offer him a scholarship. Penn State later followed and he already held offers from Florida, Kentucky, Iowa State and more.

"Getting an offer from a school like Michigan State is big,” Dobbs said. “I thought it was a privilege working with the coaches (at the MSU camp). They had a lot to give mentally."

That is Devontae Dobbs. He is grateful for the offers, but is certainly not getting ahead of himself, and that makes him all the more likely to capitalize on his enormous potential.

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“He’s one of the most humble and grateful kids I’ve ever coached,” Crowell said. “He’s really appreciative. When he gets offers, every time, he’ll be almost in tears. He called me last night and said, ‘Coach, I can’t stop crying. I’m so thankful.’ Those are the kind of kids we work for. He’s worked hard to improve his grades, his game, and he’s everything you could ask for. He’s a pleasure to coach.”

Considering Dobbs still has three years of varsity ball left, it is not a stretch to think he could be the top prospect in the state, possibly the region, possibly one of the best in the country, by the time he’s a senior.

“He went from 135 pounds on the bench press to 295 pounds,” Crowell says. “That’s a one-year improvement. What’s it going to be next year? I don’t know, but that’s a pretty big jump right there.”

Crowell will play Dobbs on both sides of the ball this year, so there is still the potential for him to develop into the defensive line recruit he thought he would be early in his career.

While that is still to be determined, what is not in question is that no matter where his coach needs him, Dobbs will be the last kid to issue a complaint about which side of the ball he’s on.

Top Spartan prospects narrow lists

Two of Michigan State’s 2017 recruits have narrowed down their lists and the Spartans made the cut for both. Suwanee (Ga.) North Gwinnett defensive end Drew Jordan put MSU in his top six along with California, Indiana, Georgia Tech, Arkansas and Duke.

“I like Michigan State because it’s always been one of those powerhouses in football,” Jordan said. “I love East Lansing, they have a great staff, great people up there, and I feel they’re going to continue competing for championships.”

He will make a commitment this summer.

Huntington (W.Va.) offensive tackle Billy Ross named a top seven of Michigan State, Florida, Florida State, Tennessee, Marshall, North Carolina and Virginia. He does not currently have a decision date set.

Cass Tech defender earns offer

After seeing him at Sound Mind Sound Body Academy and then again at their 7 on 7 tournament, the Spartans staff extended an offer to Detroit Cass Tech’s DeAndre Square, a rising junior who began his career as a safety, but now, at 6-foot-1, 195 pounds, may be growing into a linebacker.

Kentucky, Cincinnati, Iowa State and Syracuse also have offered.

More information

Devontae Dobbs profile

Drew Jordan profile

Billy Ross 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.