Michigan State’s recruiting campaign for 2018 has taken on elements of a full-fledged movement.
The movement, by design or circumstances, has resulted in herd of Ohio players committing to the Spartans. Some are highly-ranked, highly-coveted four-star recruits. Some - like Wednesday’s commitment Javez Alexander - are unranked, and lightly-heralded.
But Michigan State’s coaches love all of these Ohio commitments. All eight of them. It’s a group that currently makes up 75 percent of the Spartans’ commitments.
Kline (No. 12) and Harris (No. 21) are ranked among the Top 25 recruits in Ohio by Rivals.com.
Michigan State already has three commitments from the Top 20 in Ohio, and four of the Top 30.
Alexander won’t move the needle in the recruiting rankings, but he reminded Michigan State coaches of versatile players of the recent past. His high character and shiny GPA didn't hurt his stock in the eyes of MSU coaches.
On Wednesday, the 6-foot-2, 195-pound Alexander became the first wide receiver commitment for the Spartans’ 2018 recruiting Class.
Alexander announced his commitment via Twitter.
IM COMMITTED!! 🙏🏽🏈 pic.twitter.com/FkXLW9ep6d
— ⚡️TOP5️⃣⚡️ (@JAlex_numba5) June 29, 2017
The commitment set off reaction from fellow Ohioans who have committed to Michigan State, with a new #OH2MSU hashtag adorning some of the Twitter responses from future teammates.
From incoming Ohio defensive line freshman De’Ari Todd:
Go Green ✅🏈 https://t.co/kn6qSDOvDq
— DeAri Todd (@DeAriTodd_12) June 28, 2017
From Jacob Slade, a fellow unhearalded Ohio recruit who committed on Monday:
— Jacob (@jacobslade_) June 29, 2017
From fellow commitment Jeslord Boateng, a linebacker who is ranked No. 30 in Ohio:
— Jeslord Boateng (@JeslordBoateng6) June 26, 2017
Alexander had offers from Air Force, Army and Bowling Green. Michigan State offered earlier this week, and didn’t have to wait long for a commitment.
Alexander has a 3.9 grade point average.
He did not participate in MSU’s Elite camp, but worked out last Wednesday as part of MSU’s Rising Stars camp. Michigan State worked him out at the wide receiver position at that time, and had flashbacks to the way Tony Lippett looked at wide receiver at camps prior to his senior season in high school.
Technically, Alexander is the second Ohio WR to commit to the Spartans in this recruiting cycle. But Michigan State backed off on its earlier commitment from four-star WR Joseph Scates a few months ago. Scates is ranked the No. 4 player in Ohio. Alexander is unranked. But the Spartans like his style and his versatility.
Alexander starred as a dual threat QB at Sandusky High School last fall, earning first team All-Northern Ohio League honors at that position. He was also first-team All-District and second-team All-Ohio at QB.
Recruiting analysts dismissed him as a QB prospect, but missed on his apparent value to a program like Michigan State as a wide receiver.
Michigan State has a penchant for recruiting high school quarterbacks and transitioning them into perimeter players at the college level. Alexander’s success as a tall, rangy, elusive high school quarterback will remind some of the work Lippett did at QB at Detroit Crockett.
Lippett went on to become the Big Ten’s Wide Receiver of the Year in 2013 and an NFL player at cornerback, with the Miami Dolphins.
Michigan State also had success in recruiting NFL wide receiver Keshawn Martin as a dual threat quarterback/athlete out of Westland John Glenn.
Trishton Jackson, who had success last year as a true freshman at wide receiver, was also primarily a quarterback in high school prior to his senior season.
Last year, Michigan State signed Cody White out of Walled Lake Western, who played extensively at quarterback in high school while dabbling at wide receiver.
Now, Alexander is the next in line for those type of comparisons and - Michigan State hopes - similar success.
SpartanMag will have more on this addition to the recruiting class soon.