Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Michigan State football's 2019 recruiting class breakdown, Mark Dantonio's thoughts

December 20, 2018
Head coach Mark Dantonio smiles while being interviewed after the game against Purdue on Oct. 27, 2018 at Spartan Stadium. The Spartans defeated the Boilermakers 23-13.
Head coach Mark Dantonio smiles while being interviewed after the game against Purdue on Oct. 27, 2018 at Spartan Stadium. The Spartans defeated the Boilermakers 23-13. —
Photo by CJ Weiss | The State News

During the early national signing day Wednesday, Michigan State football signed 20 players, including Dantonio’s first-ever five-star offensive lineman in Devontae Dobbs. The recruiting class is 28th-ranked nationally and seventh in the Big Ten, according to 247Sports.

This year’s class breaks down state-wise as so: 10 players from Michigan, six from Ohio, two from Illinois, one from Indiana and one from Australia. 

Here's how the 2019 class breaks down star-wise, per 247Sports:

  • Five-star: Dobbs
  • Four-star: Cornerback Julian Barnett.
  • Three-stars: 17 players.
  • Two-stars: Kicker/punter Evan Morris (preferred walk-on).
  • Unspecified: Long snapper Jude Pedrozo (preferred walk-on).

Here's how the 20 signees breakdown position-wise:

  • Quarterback: Three-star dual threat Payton Thorne
  • Running backs: Three-stars Anthony Williams and Brandon Wright
  • Wide receivers: Three-stars Tre Mosley and Jase Bowen
  • Offensive linemen: Dobbs, along with three-stars Spencer Brown, Nick Samac and Damon Kaylor, all of which make what Dantonio said as the best O-line class in his 12 years.
  • Defensive linemen: Three-stars Maverick Hansen and J.D. Duplain
  • Defensive ends: Three-stars Michael Fletcher and Adam Berghorst
  • Linebackers: Three-stars Luke Fulton and Marcel Lewis
  • Cornerback: Barnett
  • Safety: Three-star Tate Hallock
  • Special teams: Three-star punter Jack Bouwmeester, Morris and Pedrozo

Two players, Bowen and Berghorst, will also play baseball at MSU like tight end Trenton Gillison, with Bowen a shortstop and and Berghorst a pitcher.

"One of the reasons they're coming here is because of that opportunity to do that," Dantonio said. "I want to make sure that happens for them. They've got to be able to keep their grades up, which both those guys are outstanding students. I think they'll be able to do that."

Here’s the complete list and information of all 20 recruits who signed with MSU along with who’s an early enrollee and what Dantonio said about them:

Five-star offensive lineman Devontae Dobbs, 6-foot-3, 295-pounds, Belleville High School, Detroit, Michigan, native

247Sports position ranking (guard): No. 1

“Initial spot for Devontae? I would probably say guard, tackle. I'd say tackle, based on his feet that I saw in camp way back. He's got power and he can run, he can move. Really let (offensive line coach Mark) Staten make those decisions as we go. I think he can play any of those positions up there, which is a big positive.”


Four-star cornerback Julian Barnett, 6-foot-2, 193-pounds, Belleville High School, Harper Woods, Michigan, native

247Sports position ranking: No. 8

“One of the top players in the state of Michigan, Under Armour All-American. Ranked No. 1 corner in the state ... Plays multiple positions, corner, receiver. You watch the highlight film, there's no question he can play receiver for us ... Hits with shock. Has the potential to be a contributor. I believe that's going to happen."


Three-star defensive end Adam Berghorst, 6-foot-7, 265-pounds, Zeeland East High School, Zeeland, Michigan, native

247Sports position ranking: No. 46

“Very long, athletic player. Very active player. Uses his hands very well, pass-rush guy. Can really accelerate out of his pass-rush to track people down ... I think that's very interesting, be a pitcher for him, a highly recruited guy in baseball, as well. I think he might be able to touch home plate from the mound, his fingers. ... Was one of the guys that we felt like we needed to get in this state. He's a highly recruited player. Very excited and appreciate his trust as a person in us and our program.”


Three-star punter Jack Bouwmeester, 6-foot-2, 190-pounds, Bendigo Catholic Central, Bendigo, Victoria, Australia, native (early enrollee)

247Sports position ranking: No. 9

“Very explosive leg. Can basically put it anywhere on the field in any way, spiraling or end over end. I just felt like the unique skill set with his background, he was too good to pass up. ... Exciting to watch him in the spring, see how he adapts to American football. ... he'll have to adapt a little bit, but I'm sure that will take place.”


Three-star wide receiver Jase Bowen, 6-foot, 190-pounds, Central Catholic High School, Northwood, Ohio, native 

247Sports position ranking: No. 81

“One of the highest ranked shortstops in the country. Top ranked shortstop in Ohio, as well. Always competing for the state championship there. ... Played multiple positions, receiver, running back, kick and punt returner, quarterback in the wildcat formation. Again, was an earlier committed guy. Extremely excited about him being a Spartan.”


Three-star offensive lineman Spencer Brown, 6-foot-6, 305 pounds, Walled Lake Western High School, Commerce Township, Michigan, native (early enrollee)

247Sports position ranking (offensive tackle): No. 38

“Played defense, will play offense here. Played guard, tackle. Big, athletic player with power. ... First committed the class back in July 2017. Really stayed the course throughout the process.”


Three-star defensive lineman J.D. Duplain, 6-foot-3, 303-pounds, Strongsville High School, Strongsville, Ohio, native (early enrollee)

247Sports position ranking (guard): No. 49

“Played offensive line and defensive line. Projects right now to be a defensive lineman. Recruited him as a power athlete ... Got a lot of shock, a lot of ability to run and move. You see him possibly as an offensive lineman. ... But we'll work with him on defense initially to see how he moves on that side of the ball. I think he has a huge upside, very highly recruited player.”


Three-star defensive end Michael Fletcher, 6-foot-5, 250-pounds, Carman-Ainsworth High School, Flint, Michigan, native

247Sports position ranking: No. 30

“(He) reminds me a lot of Will Gholston personality-wise and the way he moves and reacts on the football field. Impact pass-rusher .... No. 1 defensive end in the state of Michigan. ... Michael was an early commit, maintained that commitment throughout, as well. Always been a pleasure to talk to."


Three-star linebacker Luke Fulton, 6-foot-2, 218-pounds, Cardinal Mooney High School, Poland, Ohio, native

247Sports position ranking: No. 22

“Ranked as one of the 10 best overall players in Ohio, one of the top inside linebackers. High impact player. Really what we're looking for in a player. Linebacker, ability to catch the ball, has shock, explosive power. Runs extremely well. Can probably play inside at the Mike position or outside at the money position. ... Will be a big, thumper type of guy for us.”


Three-star safety Tate Hallock, 6-foot-4, 190-pounds, Forest Hills Central High School, Grand Rapids, Michigan, native

247Sports position ranking: No. 75

“Played on offense, defense, special teams. ... Legacy dad, brother Tanner is also a redshirt freshman here. ... Tackles extremely well. Really reminds me a lot of (safety) Matt Morrissey, great vertical jumper. The more you watch Tate, the more you see the dynamic player he is, whether it's receiving, punt returner, safety, whatever it is. He's going to excel to a very high level.”


Three-star defensive lineman Maverick Hansen, 6-foot-5, 275-pounds, Harrison High School, Farmington Hills, Michigan, native (flipped from Central Michigan on Wednesday)

247Sports position ranking (offensive tackle): No. 144

“I continue to watch him, reminds me of Kevin Pickelman, high motor guy, Kenny Willekes. I just felt like he was one of those type of guys that was going to bring it ... Projects as a defenseman for us. As we watch more, the more we liked. He was a late take. As I said before, late takes often times work out because of the effort aspect, things of that nature."


Three-star offensive lineman Damon Kaylor, 6-foot-5, 302-pounds, Huntington North High School, Huntington, Indiana, native (early enrollee) 

247Sports position ranking (offensive tackle): No. 95

“Big, powerful guy. Played right tackle and left tackle in high school. One of the top ranked players in the state of Indiana. Showed very well in camp.”


Three-star linebacker Marcel Lewis, 6-foot, 208-pounds, Chippewa Valley High School, Eastpointe, Michigan, native

247Sports position ranking: No. 39

“When you watch his highlight film, he's a guy that can really get into the ground. Very explosive guy. Really runs well. Hits with great shock ... I think Marcel is a guy that, again, will have an opportunity to get on the field early in some capacity. I was extremely impressed with his film.”


Three-star wide receiver Tre Mosley, 6-foot-1, 176-pounds, West Bloomfield High School, Pontiac, Michigan, native (early enrollee) 

247Sports position ranking: No. 74

“No. 1 wide receiver ranked in Michigan. Big-time play-maker with outstanding pass catching ability. Extremely outstanding route runner ... Great run after catch ... 55 catches for more than a thousand yards as a senior. Another guy I believe is going to get involved very, very quickly ... Can pluck the ball out of the year, start and stop.”


Three-star offensive lineman Nick Samac, 6-foot-4, 285-pounds, Mentor High School, Mentor, Ohio, native (early enrollee)

247Sports position ranking (guard): No. 48

“Good feet, good balance, ability to run. Probably can play offensive guard, center, tackle up front, plays with great toughness and power. Highly recruited. Look for, again, another young man who I believe, a number of these guys are going to be early contributors.”


Three-star dual threat quarterback Payton Thorne, 6-foot-2, 185-pounds, Naperville Central High School, Naperville, Illinois native

247Sports position ranking: No. 24

“Top ranked quarterback in the state of Illinois. Really makes all the throws. When you see him, the intermediate throws, bubbles, slants, down-the-field throws. Great timing as a playmaker, three-sport athlete. Great leadership qualities. Threw for 3,000 yards and 40 touchdowns as a senior ... Impressive also, his dad is a college coach, his grandfather is a college coach. He grew up much like Rocky Lombardi with his father as a college coach. Think he's got very good football awareness and sense ... When you see him play, he has the ability to run, quick body guy on the basketball court, can get out of problems.”


Three-star running back Anthony Williams Jr., 6-foot, 197-pounds, Bolingbrook High School, Chicago native (early enrollee)

247Sports position ranking: No. 54

“All-purpose back in the state of Illinois, number one ... Catches the ball very well. When he came to camp, really catches the ball like R.J. Shelton in a lot of ways. Sort of compare him to him a tailback coming out of high school. I think he can do a lot of different things for us. Will come as a tailback, but I think he's a guy you can flex out, throw the ball to effectively.”


Three-star running back Brandon Wright, 6-foot-2, 220-pounds, Euclid High School, Euclid, Ohio, native

247Sports position ranking: No. 51

“Rushed for over a thousand this year as a senior. Plays for Jeff Rodski. Big bodied, physical running back ... He is an explosive player. Also plays on the defensive side of the ball, defensive end for their high school team. Very active player. I think he will have certainly a great future here. He will have his moments.”


Two-star kicker/punter Evan Morris, 6-foot-5, 205-pounds, Ovid-Elsie High School, Ovid, Michigan, native (preferred walk-on) 

247Sports position ranking: N/A

“Evan Morris will be a free agent for us. One of the best punters and kickers in the class of '19. Very good kicker, especially a kickoff guy. He'll compete for that ... Also a guy that played a number of other positions. A big, long guy with a great leg. He also punted. When I saw him he'd only punted for two weeks, but he could turn the ball over. Outstanding kicker.”


Long snapper Jude Pedrozo, 6-foot-2, 225-pounds, Westerville South High School, Westerville, Ohio, native (preferred walk-on)

247Sports position ranking: N/A

“Also played on the offensive line, linebacker, in high school... Outstanding student. Will compete for playing time immediately if he's as good coming out of high school.”

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