National Signing Day Notes: Michigan & Michigan State

Contribution by: Michael Pawlak

National signing day for 2014 has arrived! I previously covered Michigan and Michigan State’s  recruiting, and Michigan was the clear cut leader for 2014. The tides have turned over the final weeks leading up to this day, and players finally make it official where they will attend school and play football.  Michigan did not add any players over the last month, while Michigan State added to their class in a big way.

Michigan Notes:

Michigan had a disappointing recruiting class in 2014. Brady Hoke lost a lot of momentum following the forgettable 7-6 2013 campaign. Michigan was able to secure a decent amount of talent, but compared to previous recruiting success they have fallen short. They only added 16 commitments. It is crazy to see how far Michigan has fallen since Lloyd Carr was booted out the door. This program is on a roller coaster ride that has lasted more than a decade. There is a lot of talent already on board at Michigan, but player development must improve in order for Michigan to be a factor in the B1G.

Biggest Hit: 

Jabrill Peppers. Peppers is a consensus 5-star talent out of New Jersey. His highlight tape is enough to make every Michigan fan believe. He is naturally a defensive back who can play both safety and cornerback. He also has game breaking ability returning kicks and on offense at running back. He was recruited and offered by everybody in the country. Peppers also has plans to pursue a music career in Hip Hop under the name J-Real:

After watching about a dozen of his songs on YouTube, I think Ann Arbor may have gotten the east coast version of Kendrick Lamarr. Okay that may be a little bold, but Peppers has made it clear that he is equally as serious about being an MC as he is about playing football. His impact will be felt (and heard) around Ann Arbor as soon as he steps on campus.

Biggest Miss:

Malik Mcdowell. Michigan was assumed to be the quiet leader for McDowell througout the whole recruiting process. He is a 5-star in-state Defensive End from Southfield. The only thing worse than losing out on the best player in the state is losing him to your in-state rival, Michigan State.

Michigan Top 5:

1. Jabrill Peppers, CB, New Jersey NJ.

2. Drake Harris, WR, Grand Rapids MI.

3. Brian Mone, DT, Salt Lake City UT.

4. Michael Ferns, LB, St. Clairsville OH.

5. Lawrence Marshall, DE, Southfield MI. (Malik McDowell’s former teamate)

National Rank: 27 31 19

Michigan State Notes:

Michigan State fell under the radar in the recruiting process right up until the end. Things got serious in East Lansing as they capped off their class with a signing day shocker landing 5-Star recruit Malik McDowell. Michigan State is clearly on the map in football now and landing McDowell only strengthens the point. The Spartans B1G and Rose Bowl title in 2013 are big factors in the success here. Head coach Mark Dantonio has put together a program that players believe in, and it shows on the gridiron.

Biggest Hit: 

Malik McDowell. McDowell is an X-factor in the recruiting between Michigan and Michigan State. McDowell being from Michigan is one of the reasons this signing is so important for MSU. Michigan has always taken pride in sweeping up the best talent in the state, but this year the Spartans struck back. McDowell is the ideal Defensive End that all teams are looking for. I wouldn’t say that he is the next Jadeveon Clowney, but he is the 7th best DE in the counrty. My extensive research has come up inconclusive on whether he is a distant relative of the owner of McDowell’s:

Coming to East Lansing in the fall of 2014.

Biggest Miss:

Drake Harris. Harris is the second best player out of Michigan in 2014. He was originally committed to MSU to play basketball and football, but somehow Hoke beat out Izzo for his services as he will deploy him at WR. The west side of Michigan is regularly MSU’s stomping ground, but Michigan stole this young gun from the Spartans. Harris has everything necessary to dominate in the B1G.

Michigan State Top Five:

1. Malik McDowell, DE, Southfield MI.

2. Montae Nicholson, S, Monroeville, PA.

3. Vayante Copeland, CB, Dayton OH.

4. Craig Evans, OF, Sin Prairie WI.

5. Byron Bullugh, ATH, Traverse City MI.

National Rank: 21 20 25


Michigan finished with the average class of 25th by the 3 recruiting sites, while Michigan State averaged out at 22nd. It’s safe to say that this rivalry is fully heated now and should be  going forward. Dantonio has laid  the groundwork for his program to succeed in East Lansing. Hoke may be on the hot seat going into 2014, and will have to win a lot of games to keep his job. My prediction is that he needs 10 wins to stay. Michigan State fans would be thrilled if Hoke stays right where he is over in Ann Arbor.

Big Ten Class Rankings:

1. Ohio State (5th overall)

2. Michigan State (21st overall)

3. Penn State (24th overall)

4. Michigan (26th overall)

5. Wisconsin (28th overall)

6. Nebraska (34th overall)

7. Iowa (41st overall)

8. Indiana (44th overall)

9. Minnesota (51st overall)

10. Rutgers (55th overall)

11. Northwestern (56th overall)

12. Maryland (60th overall)

13. Purdue (66th overall)

14. Illinois (70th overall)


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