Mark Dantonio beat Iowa to win the Big Ten title in 2015 and reach the college football playoff. Things have been downhill since. The Spartans have lost 10 of their last 12. That futility does not appear to have helped Michigan State on the recruiting trail.
The Spartans flipped three-star wide receiver Raheem Blackshear from Temple, only to have him flip again to Rutgers days later. Two-star defensive lineman Joe Spivak decided to walk on at Northwestern instead of taking a full scholarship to play at Michigan State. Unranked wide receiver Jalen Tolbert “followed his heart” and chose South Alabama over MSU.
None of those marginal recruits was going to make or break Michigan State’s near future. But, the optics from losing those battles do not look great.
Another commit, three-star Florida defensive end Donovan Winter, will not sign, after being arrested Monday on charges of burglary and larceny with a firearm.
We could also check in on how Mark Dantonio’s in-state recruiting battle against Jim Harbaugh went for 2017…
Michigan State does have, as of this writing, the sixth best 2017 class in the Big Ten. Though, Ohio State and Michigan both should finish top five nationally (Michigan State is No. 32). Spartan fans will point out they have been a lot closer on the actual football field the past few years, despite the recruiting disparity.
Of course, on the flip side Urban Meyer and Jim Harbaugh have Ohio State and Michigan running at max capacity. Last season will help James Franklin, who is a very strong recruiter. A tier below that, D.J. Durkin seems to be building something at Maryland and Minnesota just hired P.J. Fleck.
2018 is when the full effect of MSU’s dreadful 2016 season should have its greatest impact. The Spartans rank 124th in FBS in returning production for 2017, after a 2-9 vs. FBS season. Mark Dantonio turns 61 in March.
Michigan State fans should hope that next anonymous recruit turned four-year starter/NFL quarterback emerges, otherwise things look bleak. They do have a quarterback on the roster named “Messiah.”