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Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Recruit and return: Michigan State

By Tom VanHaaren

Michigan State capped off an outstanding season with a 24-20 win over Stanford in the Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO. The Spartans finished 13-1 after playing in their first Rose Bowl since 1988.

This was a dream season, but the team loses some key performers. With the No. 40 ranked class, the recruiting efforts will help fill some of those voids.

Key losses: LG Blake Treadwell, RG Dan France, RT Fou Fonoti, WR Bennie Fowler, DT Tyler Hoover, DT Micajah Reynolds, LB Max Bullough, LB Denicos Allen, DB Isaiah Lewis, DB Darqueze Dennard

Instant impact freshman: ESPN 300 defensive back Montae Nicholson (Monroeville, Pa./Gateway) was a late addition to the Spartans’ recruiting class, but he was the biggest get. With Allen, Lewis and Dennard leaving after this season, Nicholson could help fill a void early on for Michigan State. At 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, Nicholson could play safety or a little bit of linebacker, depending on his size. He has the athleticism to be versatile and could see time early depending on how he catches on to the defensive scheme.

Top 2014 recruits: ESPN 300 offensive lineman Brian Allen (Hinsdale, Ill./Hinsdale Central) and ESPN JC 50 lineman David Hedelin (San Francisco/City College of San Francisco) will help with some of the losses along the offensive line. Defensive tackle Enoch Smith (Chicago/Mount Carmel) is a player who doesn’t get talked about very much, but he could be a big contributor eventually for the Spartans. Landing running back Madre London (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas) was also a big addition to help add competition at running back.

Questions for signing day: The coaching staff is still going after ESPN 300 running back Jeff Jones (Minneapolis/Washburn), the No. 181-rnked prospects, despite his being committed to Minnesota. Jones will visit Michigan State before he makes a decision, but he also recently set up a visit with Florida. The Spartans are also targeting Wisconsin commit Craig Evans (Sun Prairie, Wis./Sun Prairie), who would help fill a big need on the defensive line.