EAST LANSING — Mark Dantonio said Thursday night in Grand Rapids that Michigan State football is “on solid ground, and there’s a foundation built,” but the 10th-year head coach knows recruiting is the only way to maintain that.
At least six key football recruits are expected to attend the Spartans’ basketball game against Indiana at 1 p.m. at Breslin Center on Sunday.
Battle Creek’s Brandon Randle, one of the 20 scholarship signees in the Spartans’ 2016 class, is also expected to be in attendance.
The Spartans had at least six players on campus earlier in the week on unofficial visits (listed below) and offered scholarships to Berrien Springs’ lineman Phillip Paea, Detroit Jesuit safety Scott Nelson and Cass Tech players Jordan Reid (guard) and Jaylen-Kelly Powell (safety).
Dantonio indicated at the sixth annual Winter Tailgate held by the West Michigan Spartans Club at the JW Marriott that he’s not content with three-straight top 10 finishes.
“We have to keep going above and beyond where we’ve been, that’s the nature of who we are,” said Dantonio, who has led Michigan State to the Big Ten championships two of the past three seasons.
“When you get up there at those heights, it can become difficult.”
The Spartans are losing half of their positions starters off the 2015 team that went 12-2, including all-time leading passer Connor Cook, three starting offensive linemen, three starting defensive linemen and four receivers.
The Spartans have at least two midterm enrollees that are expected to make an impact, receivers Donnie Corley and Cam Chambers.
Michigan State is two weeks into its winter conditioning program, with the start of spring football drills set for March 22 leading up to the annual Green-White game on April 23 at Spartan Stadium.
Here’s a look at the prospects expected in East Lansing on Sunday:
Scott Nelson, Safety
6-2, 180, University of Detroit Jesuit H.S.
247 ranking: 3 stars, No. 19 in Michigan
Reported offers: Michigan State, Michigan, Northwestern, Boston College, Miami (Ohio)
Joel Honigford, OT
6-6, 262, Garaway H.S., Sugarcreek, Ohio
247 ranking: 3 stars, No. 24 in Ohio
Reported offers: Nebraska, Pitt, Boston College, Colorado, State, Duke, Illinois, Iowa State, Kentucky, Miami (Ohio), Northwestern, Syracuse
Zenden Dellinger, OT
6-7, 280, R. Nelson Snider H.S., Fort Wayne, Indiana
247 ranking: 3 stars, No. 8 in Indiana
Reported offers: Ball State, Cincinnati, Illinois, Miami (Ohio)
Xavier Henderson, Athlete
6-1, 175, Pickerington Central H.S., Ohio
247 ranking: N/A
Reported offers: Kentucky, Cincinnati, Miami (Ohio), Toledo
Bryce Jefferson, QB
6-3, 182, Decatur Central H.S., Indianapolis
Reported offers: N/A
Houston Griffith, Athlete
6-0, 180, Mount Carmel H.S., Chicago
247ranking: 4-star, No. 2 in Illinois
Reported offers: Michigan State, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa State, Kentucky, Maryland, Virginia
Other prospects who took unofficial visits to MSU earlier this week:
Jaylen Kelly-Powell, Safety
6-0, 183, Cass Tech, Detroit
247ranking: 4-star, No. 6 in Michigan
Reported offers: Michigan State, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Iowa, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Penn State, Pitt, Stanford, Tennessee, UCLA, Wisconsin West Virginia
Phillip Paea, OG/DE
6-4, 260, Berrien Springs H.S.
Reported offers: Michigan State, Oregon, Michigan, Brigham Young
Jordan Reid, OG
6-3, 286, Cass Tech, Detroit
247ranking: 3-star, No. 19 in Michigan
Reported offers: Michigan State, Michigan, Florida, Tennessee, West Virginia, Cincinnati, Louisville, Memphis, Syracuse
Donovan Johnson, CB
5-9, 165, Cass Tech, Detroit
247ranking: 3-star, No. 20 in Michigan
Reported offers: Tennessee, Syracuse, Cincinnati, Toledo, Central Michigan
Zach Morton, OLB
6-3, 190, Cass Tech, Detroit
247ranking: 3-star, No. 16 in Michigan
Reported offers: Cincinnati, Bowling Green
— Jordan Reid (@THE__GREAT__) February 11, 2016
— Scotty Nelson1⃣0⃣ (@_scottnelson) February 11, 2016
Berrien Springs 2017 RG/DE Phillip Paea was offered by Michigan State, his 2nd offer https://t.co/Zjj4jcvcRx
— The D Zone (@TheD_Zone) February 11, 2016