East Lansing — In a lot of ways, Josiah Scott is just like any other freshman at Michigan State.
He spent his first few days trying to find his way around campus while getting a handle on his class schedule and attempting to settle in.
Of course, Scott isn’t like every other freshman. Along with Hunter Rison and Jack Camper, he’s one of three football players who have already enrolled and began classes in January. But the native of Hamilton, Ohio, also has something else going for him these days.
“Josiah reminds you of (Darqueze) Dennard the way he goes about his business,” Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said. “His change of direction, his ability to move vertical.”
That’s some healthy praise considering Dennard won the Jim Thorpe Award as the best defensive back in the nation in 2013 for Michigan State before going on to become a first-round draft pick of the Cincinnati Bengals.
Before that, he was a two-star recruit from Georgia that had nearly no scholarship offers before the Spartans came in and brought him north. All the comparisons flattered Scott, who was ranked the No. 2 cornerback in Ohio from Scout.com after his career at Fairfield High.
“It’s kind of crazy to hear,” Scott said. “I was just watching him the other day. He’s in the league now after being a two-star out of high school and not many people knew about him and now he’s a big-name player. He plays tough, plays physical and I feel like I have those traits like him so having the comparison is great.”
Scott said the way Michigan State develops defensive backs was key to his decision to sign. Dantonio is a defensive backs coach by trade and he and co-defensive coordinator Harlon Barnett have produced their share of top players, including cornerback Trae Waynes, a first-round pick of the Vikings.
“This is huge, like a dream school for defensive backs,” Scott said. “Coach Barnett is a heck of a coach. I wouldn’t want any other coaches coaching me and being through the whole process with me.
“That played a huge part coming in.”
While it remains to be seen if Scott sees the field early he’s already impressing in workouts.
“He comes to work every day, has a sense of toughness, has outstanding ball handling from film and watching him in person,” Dantonio said. “I think he'll be a tremendous player for us. When we started winter workouts I just thought he really, really looked dynamic out there. So we'll look forward to him contributing here this spring, and seeing what he's got.”
Michigan State had some late targets that didn’t go its way on Wednesday. Chief among them was linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, who opted for Notre Dame over Michigan State after decommitting from Virginia.
The Spartans were also reportedly going to get a later visit from four-star running back Cordarrian Richardson of Memphis, Tenn. However, he posted a video on Twitter Wednesday that showed he instead decided to commit to Maryland.
Michigan State did add one late recruit on Wednesday when cornerback Emmanuel Flowers of Chino Hills (Calif.) Ayala.
Dantonio got word of the signing while he was still conducting his news conference.
“He has a lot of length,” Dantonio said. “I think he'll be an outstanding player for us.”
Michigan State had four players officially join the class as walk-ons, including fullback Max Rosenthal, offensive lineman Blake Bueter, safety Jack Mandryk and linebacker Brent Mossburg.
Linebacker Noah Harvey is technically a walk-on as well, but will be a grayshirt who goes on scholarship in January.
… Dantonio said long snapper Collin Caflisch and kicker Matt Coughlin are now on scholarship.