As much as it pains me to admit it, Sparty is recruiting well both in and, more importantly, outside of the state of Michigan.
First and foremost, the commitments of top defensive end William Gholston of Detroit Southeastern last year, and of top middle linebacker Lawrence Thomas of Detroit Renaissance this year, have Michigan State looking more and more like a Big Ten contender on defense.
They're leading for CB Doran Grant and WR DeAnthony Arnett, both likely five-star talents who are blowing up at combines.
They're also giving Michigan a run for their money for in-state RB Justice Hayes, ATH Valdez Showers and OG Anthony Zettel. Zettel for one was rumored to be a Michigan lock for a long time, but has forestalled committing and appears to be weighing his other offers, including MSU's, seriously.
However, I consider they're gains outside of the state of Michigan to be more crucial to their up-and-coming status. MSU can only get so far in terms of talent and prestige just by recruiting Michigan, and Dantonio knows it.
The Spartans are sending out offers to South Carolina, landing sleeper Georgia athletes like Andre Sims and locking up their QB of the future in Connor Cook, a native of old reliable Ohio.
Cook, for one, came in for his own under-the-radar praise in a recent ESPN recruiting article by Tom Luginbill.
I'm personally resentful every time State lands a recruit and the Free Press declares the battle for Michigan recruiting supremacy over, in favor of the Green and White. We Midwesterners are so damn obsessed with the underdogs sometimes.
But I am willing to concede that Sparty has made things...interesting. I personally am waiting to see how close it is in the fourth quarter.