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Trieu: UM, MSU will feel recruiting ripple effects from big game

Allen Trieu
Special to The Detroit News
Alex Malzone

As Michigan and Michigan State prepare to battle it out on the field, the sidelines and stands will be filled with recruits, many of whom are being pursued by both schools.

Spartans coach Mark Dantonio this week said he does not believe one game will change the minds of recruits. But there is little doubt that the steady buildup of success Dantonio has had in East Lansing has paralleled the Spartans' rise in recruiting.

One win over Michigan may not have made a difference. But by this point, when the Spartans have won six of the last seven against the Wolverines, those wins have impacted the face of in-state recruiting, as well as recruiting in general at MSU.

In 2009, after the Spartans defeated Michigan in overtime, they received commitments from future starters Kurtis Drummond and Keith Mumphery. Michigan freshman quarterback Alex Malzone was in the stands in 2004 when Michigan won in triple-overtime. With prospects from all classes attending this weekend's game and many more watching at home on television, might some young man develop an affinity for one of the two schools and grow up to play in the rivalry?

Trieu: Nordin, Hill return for big recruiting weekend at UM

That said, the Wolverines and Spartans do not butt heads on the recruiting trail as much as fans may think. Of Michigan's 22 starters, 10 had offers from Michigan State, but none of their recruitments could really be considered a recruiting battle between the two schools.

While he is not a starter, Wolverines wide receiver Drake Harris is noteworthy because he was once committed to the Spartans for basketball. Upon deciding he would play football in college, he re-opened his recruitment and subsequently committed to Michigan.

Malik McDowell

Of Michigan State's 22 starters, four had Michigan offers, including sophomore defensive tackle Malik McDowell, recruited hard by both programs and whose recruitment was heavily documented in the media.

There are players on both sides who may play with a chip on their shoulder against the other program. Michigan cornerback Jourdan Lewis was never offered by Michigan State. In fact, his only scholarship offers were Michigan and Toledo. Wolverines safety Delano Hill, who was in Lewis' class at Detroit Cass Tech that year, had the Spartans high on his list for much of his recruitment, but an offer never came.

Conversely, Spartans linebacker Jon Reschke, from nearby Birmingham Brother Rice, camped at Michigan and visited multiple times, but the Wolverines had not offered at the time of his commitment to Michigan State. Michigan offered him late in his senior year, but he was all Spartan by then. Michigan also offered Cass Tech offensive tackle Dennis Finley late that season following his commitment to Michigan State. But despite his teammates Lewis, Hill and David Dawson being committed to Michigan, he remained firm with the Spartans.

All-American offensive tackle Jack Conklin camped at Michigan the summer before his senior season, but was not offered a scholarship. In fact, no one did, and Conklin was set to attend Fork Union Military Academy, a prep school, before Michigan State offered him a greyshirt two months after Signing Day.

No, Michigan and Michigan State do not fight it out over every single recruit the way some may think. Still, 10 recruits with offers from both schools will attend Saturday's game, and while the outcome of the contest may not be the primary in their final decisions, the momentum the winning school gains from its victory will have recruiting ripple effects that last until after the final whistle.

Recent history has proven that.

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.