For Michigan State, Wednesday’s National Signing Day was more about putting the finishing touches on this 2018 class than making headlines.
Mark Dantonio and the rest of the Spartans coaching staff did the majority of their work during December’s early signing period. During that time, Michigan State got 20 total signatures on the dotted line.
The positions of need for Michigan State in an otherwise solid class were wide receiver and defensive line. While three-star Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) wide out Jalen Nailor announced his commitment to the Spartans on Saturday, he made it official on Wednesday by sending in his NLI.
Nailor is the high school teammate of fellow signee Jacob Isaia, a three-star offensive lineman. At 5-11 and 185 pounds, the speedster has 26 touchdowns over the past two seasons for Las Vegas powerhouse Bishop Gorman. Nailor originally was committed to Arizona State, but decided to open his recruitment back up and took his official visit to East Lansing on Jan. 12. Nebraska made a late offer for the pass catcher, but Nailor ultimately chose Michigan State. Nailor figures to receive playing time as a true freshman in the slot and could even return kicks for the Spartans next year.
The Spartans also were in the mix for four-star and top 100 prospect Tommy Bush. However, the Samuel Clemens (Texas) star receiver went with Georgia over the likes of Michigan State, Baylor and Texas.
While the Spartans were only able to sign one of its scholarship targets on signing day, another target on Dantonio’s board has decided to hold off on signing his letter of intent. Dashuan Mallory, a 6-3 defensive tackle out of Bolingbrook (Ill.), is leaning heavily towards Michigan State according to 247 Sports, but has the matter of his test scores in order to qualify academically. Mallory is studying for an upcoming test on March 10 and if all goes well should be a Spartan before its all said and done. The No. 62 defensive tackle in the nation seemed pretty confident he would be joining the Spartans 2018 class according to a recent article by 247 Sports.
“You’ll see me in green and white soon enough,” he said.
Meanwhile Michigan State lost out on a pair of other defensive linemen as three-star Habakkuk Baldonado signed with Pat Narduzzi at Pittsburgh and three-star tackle Tennessee Pututau wound up staying close to home and signing with Utah.
Michigan State also added a few preferred walk-ons to its class, including a familiar name in David Kruse. His brother Connor was an offensive lineman on the Spartans Rose Bowl squad in 2013 and his other brother Danny is currently wrestling at Michigan State. Kruse, who is being classified as an athlete, was a duel-threat quarterback for in-state Lowell. The 6-0 and 200 pound prospect passed for and ran for 1,000 yards each while leading the Red Arrows to the state semifinals as a junior. He is also a three-time state champ in wrestling.
The Spartans added another in-state walk-on in the form of two-way lineman Dan VanOpstall out of Jenison. The 6-6, 255 pounder earned All-State honorable mention from the Associated Press and the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association. VanOpstall projects as an offensive lineman at Michigan State.
The final signing of the day came from another preferred walk-on as William Przystup, a punter from Oviedo High School (Fla.) announced his commitment via twitter.
So where did Michigan State rank within the Big Ten, as well as nationally after signing day? According to 247, the Spartans finished Wednesday with 21 total commitments and the No. 6 class in the Big Ten and No. 31 nationally. Just above Minnesota (No. 35 nationally) and slightly behind Maryland (No. 28 nationally).