EAST LANSING - Michigan State's first recruiting class under new head coach Mark Dantonio is a solid, but not spectacular group of 23 student athletes who will build the foundation for a new style of physical, smash mouth Spartan football.
MSU deliberately moved away from the type of finesse athletes recruited by the former staff of John L. Smith and looked for gritty offensive linemen who would maul in the trenches, defensive linemen with speed and the ability to pursue, solid tackling linebackers, playmaking receivers, big running backs and players in the secondary with range and smarts.
The Spartans top two recruits empitomize what Coach Dantonio will emphasize as the State's head man. Defensive tackle Antonio Jeremiah of Hillard Darby (OH) and cornerback Cedric Everson of Detroit Mumford (MI) are MSU two highest rated players and each could impact State as soon as next season.
Jeremiah is a terrific run stopper in the middle of the defensive line. He has great size and moves well for a player of his size (6-foot-5, 270-pounds). He uses his hands well and if not double teamed can wreak havoc to an offense's game plan.
While slightly undersized at 6-foot-1, 177-pounds, Everson has speed to burn (4.29-40) his range and closing speed made him one of the most coveted defensive backs in the nation.
The depth of this year's class is underscored by seven Scout.com three-star commits: linebacker Greg Jones of Cincinnati Moeller (OH), guard Arthur Ray of Chicago Mt. Carmel (IL), defensive tackle Ryan Wheat of Flint Carman-Ainsworth (MI), tackle Chase Dumphord of Paris, KY, wide receiver Mark Dell of Farmington Harrison (MI), Ishmyl Johnson of New Berlin's Milford Academy and wide receiver B.J. Cunningham of Westerville South (OH).
The Spartans also expect faxes from Ashton Leggett of Muskegon, MI, punter Aaron Bates of New Concord John Glenn (OH), linebacker George White of Flint Carman-Ainsworth (MI), tight end David Duran of Marietta Kell (GA), tight end Garrett Celek of Cincinnati LaSalle (OH), running back Andre Anderson of Barrington, IL, quarterback Kirk Cousins of Holland Christian (MI), tackle Joel Foreman of Highland Milford (MI), defensive tackle Oren Wilson of Cincinnati Harmony, tackle Jared McGaha of Powell, TN., cornerback Chris Rucker of Warren Harding, OH and corner Chris Rucker from Detroit Country Day (MI), defensive end Kevin Pickelman of Marshall (MI) and junior college transfer Michael Jordan of Eastern Arizona CC.
Some experts say Jordan is the real sleeper of this class and could end up in the Spartans starting lineup in 2008.