Whatever trust in Mark Dantonio that was lost following the dorm fight incident in November should be restored today. There were grumblings among Spartan Nation that Dantonio needed to do a better job promoting his no-nonsense attitude, and that he was not producing expected results on and off the field.
On National Signing Day, it seemed that Spartan recruits were unaffected by the incidents last year, as they all stayed on board to produce the fourth highest-rated class in the Big Ten. Penn State, Michigan, and Ohio State all finished ahead of MSU and in the Top 25 nationally. The Spartans are just outside of the top 25, ranking 29th on Rivals.
Also according to Rivals, the Spartans landed the only five-star rated recruit in the Big Ten in defensive end William Gholston. He is certainly the prize of this year's class, but there are a handful of other key recruits that can help bring Dantonio's championship plans to light.
DE William Gholston: He is the third ranked defensive end in the country (first in Michigan) and the 21st rated prospect overall according to Rivals. He is a mountain at 6-foot-7 inches, but he could stand to add a few more pounds. He is a very lean 237 pounds, and some added weight should make him an absolute beast on the end. He is tremendously athletic, and has the ability to chase down running backs trying to find the corner. Comparisons to Bubba Smith have already begun.
QB Joe Boisture: He stands at 6-foot-6 inches which is great NFL-type size, but much like Gholston he will need to put some weight on. Right now he is only about 200 pounds, and if he can put on about 30 more, he will be Ben Roethlisberger size. His height gives him the ability to see the whole field, and he is a very accurate passer. One thing he needs to work on besides gaining weight is his throwing motion. It is very long and deliberate, and he needs to shorten it to become more effective. Adding muscle mass will help that along.
MLB Max Bullough: Could he be a potential replacement for Greg Jones? That seems like a tall task, but they are about the same size (6-foot-2, 220 pounds) and both have a great nose for the ball. Bullough is the fifth highest-rated middle linebacker in the nation, and displayed great discipline and instincts in high school. According to Scout, he must add some strength so that he can take plays head-on at the college level.
OL Skylar Schofner: According to Scout, Schofner should get a chance to play early in his college career. He is a big man (6-foot-6 and 280 pounds) who plays with a mean streak, which is a nice combination. Schofner has a great natural run-blocking ability, but he must learn how to pass block better. He has a high ceiling, and could be a great addition to the offensive line.
S Isaiah Lewis: The 20th rated safety in the nation, Lewis is known as a big hitter with great instincts. He recognizes plays quickly, and closes very fast on the ball. The stigma with most big hitters is that they are not always great tacklers. According to Scout, Lewis is both. He is comfortable playing in multiple pass coverage defenses, and is an excellent blitzer to boot.
CB Mylan Hicks: Speed is obviously important when you talk about cornerbacks, and Hicks has plenty of it. He has great backpedal quickness, and loose hips which allow him to change directions very quickly. He must work on his hands, as he has been noted to bat down passes he should intercept. He puts himself in great position to make plays on the ball.
The Rest of the Class (Scout.com star-rating in parenthesis): OLB Justin Wilson (three), RB Jeremy Langford (three), WR Keith Mumphery (three), S Kurtis Drummond (three), P Mike Sadler (three), DE Marcus Rush (three), OT Michael Dennis (three), OG Travis Jackson (three), RB Nick Hill (three), DE Taylor Calero (three), WR Tony Lippett (three), FB Niko Palazeti (two), WR Darquez Dennard (two), DT Anthony White (two), RB LeVeon Bell (two).