Michigan State Battling to Stay With Ohio State on the Recruiting Trail

By Tim Shoemaker on May 17, 2015 at 7:45 am

If there’s such thing as momentum in recruiting, there’s a certain Big Ten team in East Lansing, Mich., that has a ton of it right now.

Michigan State has had quite the week on the recruiting trail. The Spartans landed five commitments in the 2016 class in a three-day period and have received 10 commitments in a little over three weeks.

The most recent, Gavin Cupp, is a three-star offensive lineman from Leipsic, Ohio. He joined Thiyo Lukusa, Demetric Vance, Austin Andrews and Jonah Morris as commits Michigan State landed just this week. Andrews and Morris, like Cupp, hail from the state of Ohio.

So far, the Spartans have 12 commitments in the 2016 class. That number is tied for fifth amongst Power 5 programs as Michigan State currently has the ninth-ranked recruiting class, according to 247Sports.

The only team in the Big Ten currently ranked higher in 2016 recruiting? That would be Ohio State. The Buckeyes currently have the second-ranked class with 15 commitments thus far in 2016.

But don’t think Michigan State’s sudden surge in recruiting is by accident. Spartans coach Mark Dantonio knows he must keep up with Urban Meyer on the recruiting trail. He has to if he wants to keep up with Ohio State on the field.

The Spartans and Buckeyes have gone toe-to-toe on the field over the last two years. Michigan State won the 2013 matchup with a 34-24 victory in the Big Ten championship game. Ohio State returned the favor this past season with a 49-37 win in East Lansing. They've been, without question, the Big Ten's two best programs over the last two seasons.

Dantonio has hung his hat on player development throughout his eight seasons at Michigan State. He's had to build his program up by taking some unheralded guys and turning them into All-Big Ten performers. But now, because of the number of games the Spartans have won recently, he's starting to get some better players. 

If Michigan State can keep this momentum going, and keep bringing in more talented players, it could set up quite a battle between the Spartans and Buckeyes, both on the football field and in the recruiting world.

Many seem to believe Michigan bringing in Jim Harbaugh to be its new head coach will make the Wolverines Ohio State's biggest competition in the Big Ten under Meyer. And that may be true, in time, but Meyer and the Buckeyes have more pressing needs at the moment.

And if there's one thing we know about Meyer it's he's well-aware of what's going on around him. He knows everything that's happened on the recruiting trail for Michigan State in the last week.

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