September 28, 2009
SpartanMag.com Recruiting Q&A
SpartanMag.com answers some of the most frequent questions we are being asked these days?
Who other than Will Gholston do you think will step in and make an instant impact next fall?
Obviously Gholston is the easiest choice as Michigan State needs to address the lack of a pass rush and that is what he excels at doing. However, I don't see Gholston as an every down DE, I see him more a Julian Peterson type that will rush passer in certain situations and drop into coverage in others.
As far as whom else could make an instant impact? Call me crazy, but I am going to say Nick Hill. Now some will say, but Michigan State has Caper and Baker, but Hill has a different skill set and he also does something better than either of those two do, hits the whole quicker.
I could see Michigan State using Hill in situations when they go with 4 wide and have him do some draw or screen stuff. Those worried about his blocking only need to realize that Hill is the type of kid who will sacrifice his body for a block. Anyone see that block Maurice Jones Drew threw on Shawn Merriman last year?
I could be totally wrong here, but all Nick Hill has every done is prove people wrong. I am going to bank on him continuing to do that. I saw some analyst question why Michigan State would sign him or why he would sign with Spartans; well I think they could be eating some crow before Nick Hill leaves East Lansing.
I also think that Max Bullough is a kid that could surprise people. Now Greg Jones would have to move to SAM and that would cause a domino effect. The general belief is that next year's LB corps will be Jones, Gordon and Norman. It may very well be, but what if Bullough allows Michigan State to go with Bullough, Jones and Norman or Bullough, Jones and Gordon?
Bullough is going to arrive at MSU 6-foot-3, 235-pounds, in great shape and as schooled as any linebacker that has ever stepped on campus. I will stick with Hill, with Bullough as having an outside shot.
Are there any in-state sleepers that you think MSU could turn heat up on?
One player we have mentioned on SpartanMag.com a few times is Jeremy Langford of Westland John Glenn High School. Langford is from the same school as Keyshawn Martin and is having a tremendous senior season. As of right now he has 1124 yards rushing in only 5 games. That averages out to 225-yards per contest.
With that said, I am not sure Langford is a running back at the next level. His long running stride reminds me a bit of Bennie Fowler. Keep in mind, Langford beat University of Michigan speedster Teric Jones in the 100-Meters when they went head to head last spring. Langford is a solid 6-foot-1, 185-pounds and has good hands when it comes to catching the ball. He also plays defense well too. Watching his highlight film, I was reminded a bit of Devin Thomas when he would break into the open field.
Langford got himself behind the 8-ball a bit academically early on in high school, but now he is doing what is necessary to get things straightened out. Lots of schools (MAC and Big Ten) are turning up the heat and I have a feeling offers will be coming his way soon.
Another name that has come to light recently is Samuel Sillmon of Detroit Martin Luther King High School. King is 4-1 and the only loss came at Muskegon. Sillmon is a 6-foot-3, 235-pound defensive end that is getting looked at by numerous colleges MAC and Big Ten colleges.
I do not remember seeing Sillmon at MSU's camp and that could hurt his chances of getting a Spartan offer (BTW Langford was at MSU's Camp), but he is a big-body prospect that moves well. His best football is probably ahead of him.
When I spoke with a high school coach who has seen him play several times, he said, the Nick Perry comparisons are not ones to make. He said he reminds him of "the (Southfield) Lathrup kid that played DL for Michigan" That player is Rondell Biggs. Biggs was a 6-foot-3, 260-pound DE for Michigan. Biggs was not offered by Michigan State or Michigan until after his senior year. He ended up have a solid career for the Maize and Blue.
Sillmons senior film is going to be critical in determining if he is a MAC level recruit or a Big Ten one.
Who out there that does not have an offer do you think MSU should offer?
Now this is a trick question, as I am not coaching these kids on Saturdays and my job doesn't depend on them making plays for Michigan State. With that said, if I did not know my head from a hole in the ground as far as recruiting, I would not be doing this job either.
Lots of factors go into deciding who should get an offer. Team needs, current ability compared to potential ability. For example, Kevin Grady had a ton of current ability, but his potential upside was limited. A kid like William Gholston has both current and potential. Some kids are low on current ability, but high on potential. These are the kids with the measurables, but lack the on field production. Other factors which definitely play a part for some coaches are things like grades and character.
With all the said, the player I would like to see offered is Nathan Carpenter of Lancaster, Ohio. Now I know many on here are going to moan and say, he is only a 2-star. Well so was Joel Foreman and hundreds of other recruits that are productive BCS Conference players today.
I am a big advocate of quality safety plays and in my opinion the safety play at Michigan State has been average for the last 10-years. The best player during that time was the lightly recruited Eric Smith (He was so far under the radar, he may have been a 1-star recruit). Smith was a 100% Dantonio recruit.
Walk-on Travis Key was a guy who I also liked. Funny how Key and Smith are in the NFL and some of the highly ranked guys is nowhere to be found. The reason those guys are in the NFL is not because they were big hitters or head hunters, though Smith's hit on Bouldin was epic, it is because they played the position smarter than everyone else.
Smith and Key certainly did not have the measurable that some of the other guys had from a size and speed standpoint, but they understood how the position is played.
A lot of Michigan State fans want someone who can strike fear into wide receivers with big hits over the middle. That is only one aspect of the position. Give me a safety, who due to his reading and positioning, forces a quarterback to go to another progression. That is what causes sacks. That is what causes QB's to hurry throws. That is what causes quarterbacks to try and force unwise passes. It may not show up in the stat book and it may not make the late night highlights, but the best safeties affect the game mentally. If you can get a safety that can do that and he is a big hitter, well he ends up being a NFL All-Pro.
I am not sure Nathan Carpenter can do that, but I do know he rushed for 323-yards on 11 carries and scored 4 touchdowns on Friday night. Yes, 323-yards rushing and he also had an INT and recovered an on-side kick. Despite all that, his dad, Rob Carpenter, pointed out the mistakes he made. The week before, Carpenter kicked a 37-yard field goal to upset undefeated powerhouse Pickerington Central 17-14.
Carpenter has a host of MAC offers and Michigan State and Ohio State are the two Big ten Teams in contact. Carpenter is a low risk player. The worst you're going to get is a hard-nosed Ohio kid who will play special teams and push others at his position to get better. The best case is a kid who is the next Eric Smith. Is it any surprise that not only are Smith and Carpenter from Ohio, but they are both form the Columbus area and play football in the same high school conference. I think I also forgot one other stat for Carpenter, 4.1 GPA.
I am sure many people noticed the Chris Borland kid making plays for Wisconsin on Saturday. The true freshman was a rather lightly recruited kid from Ohio. He did not arrive in Madison with a long list of offers. All he arrived with was a lunch-pail and an attitude. This past Saturday he went to work.
If Michigan State was tight on scholarships you may not go after a player like Carpenter, but I firmly believe that the team will have some attrition as some of the older players are getting passed up on the depth chart. That is going to open up a few slots that were not initially anticipated.
People love to talk about team toughness, well any family that has 5 members who ended up playing division 1 football and two (as of now) that played in the NFL, certainly knows something about that.
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