June 13, 2013

Spartan Watch: Defensive Tackle

With camp set to kickoff, recruiting once again takes center stage for the Michigan State staff. In our Spartan Watch feature, we break down Michigan State's recruiting efforts position by position to see how the Spartans are looking to fill out the remainder of the Class of 2014.

Today, we take a look at the Defensive tackle position.

1. How many will Michigan State take?

Michigan State will likely sign 3 players that are "classified" as defensive tackles. The Spartans are set to graduate two defensive tackles after the 2013 season, Tyler Hoover and Micajah Reynolds. That opens up two spots by default, but we expect they will look to add third. The Spartans have not addressed the defensive tackle position heavily the last 2 years, signing only 3 high school players that are classified at that position, Devyn Salmon, Noah Jones and David Fennell.

2. Who has Michigan State landed so far?
The Spartans are off to an excellent start at the position with the commitment of Enoch Smith Jr. of Chicago, Illinois. The 6-foot-3, 270-pound prospect is a rivals.com 4-star recruits and has excelled in numerous camps this spring. Smith is a versatile prospect who could play defensive tackle or strong-side defensive end depending on the down, distance and opponent.

3. Who is already off the board?

As far as players the Spartans are actively recruiting for the position, none of them are technically off the board. The Spartans did offer Dylan Thompson who is committed to Ohio State early. He is listed as a defensive end, but his future is on the interior. All of the other players that the Spartans are making a concerted effort at are uncommitted.

4. Which recruit does Michigan State have the best shot at landing?

The obvious answer here would be David Beedle of Clarkston High School in Michigan. The 6-foot-5, 280-poudn prospect has seen his stock rise throughout the spring and he attended Michigan State's OL/DL Camp yesterday. Beedle has the frame to play at around 300-pounds and he should be able to keep his quickness at that size. The Spartan staff will be evaluating Beedle again this week as he attends the Sound Mind Sound Body Camp in Southfield. A Michigan State offer could be all it takes to land this stock on the rise recruit.

5. Any long-shots or sleepers out there?

I would not call it a long-shot per se, but Craig Evans of Wisconsin is a player to watch. Michigan State was one of the first teams to offer Evans and Coach Brad Salem has been actively recruiting him for the last year. Evans made an early commitment to the Wisconsin Badgers, but has maintained that his commitment is soft and he wants to look around to make sure he finds the right fit. Evans has consistent mentioned Michigan State as the school he wants to visit. Evens is expected to be on campus this weekend and he has a solid relationship with current Spartans commitments Enoch Smith Jr. and Brian Allen. Evans will have an opportunity to work extensively with Spartan Defensive Line Coach Ron Burton. The rapport Evans develops with him will be critical if the Spartan are going to flip Evans from the Badgers.

6. How will things play out?

The Spartans are in on some very talented defensive tackle prospects so they can be selective. With that being said, the staff would love to have the position fully addressed prior to the season starting and there is a distinct possibility that could occur. Whether the Spartans offer Beedle will have a lot to do with that. If the offer Beedle they will likely only need to add 1 more player and that spot will become something of a hot commodity. One interesting aspect about Beedle is that he actually has the frame to play both defensive and offensive line. In a sense he is a lot like Dan France was or even Micajah Reynolds. The versatility could enhance his chances.

A player that SpartanMag.com likes a lot is Daniel Cage of Cincinnati, Ohio. Cage camped at Michigan State as a rising junior last summer and was impressive. I think he compares favorably to former Ohio Spartan All-American Jerel Worthy. Cage has been quite on the recruiting front. Our source indicated that his recruitment will be impacted buy what the Ohio State Buckeyes decide to do. Cage is being recruited by Spartan Coach Harlon Barnett. He is a player we will definitely be looking for on Sunday at camp.

Another prospect to keep a close eye on is Antoine White of New Jersey. The Spartans have ramped up their efforts in the Garden State and I believe it will pay off. Not only has Coach Narduzzi kept his active presence in New Jersey, but Coach Burton is also involved. White has indicated that Michigan State is one of his top choices and he hopes to make a visit to East Lansing this summer if possible.

A wildcard in DT recruiting would be any one of several outstanding defensive tackle prospects from the state of Virginia. Coach Burton is originally from Virginia and he is actively recruiting several high-level recruits from there. Most of them are still in the early stages and plan on taking official visits so this will be something to watch depending on how thing progress with players like Beedle, Evans, Cage and White. A few of the more prominent Virginia DT's of note are Derrick Nnadi, Ricky Walker and Nyquan Harris. All of them have been offered by the Spartans.

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