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Thursday, August 12, 2010
Tom Izzo's recruiting explosion

By Eamonn Brennan

In the past year or so, we've seen some truly remarkable recruiting efforts. The most notable, of course, have come from Kentucky coach John Calipari, whose back-to-back No. 1 overall recruiting classes are likely to be followed by a third in 2011, which could be his best class ever. Since he brought his talents to Lexington, Ky., Calipari is dominating the national talent scene in a way few -- if any -- of his peers can match.

But Tom Izzo sure is going to try. Over the past 12 days, Izzo has landed five verbal commitments, filling out his rosters for the 2011 and 2012 seasons in less than two weeks. Lansing State Journal beat reporter Joe Rexrode says he's never seen so many commitments flock to Michigan State in such a short span of time.
So here's the rundown: [Kenny] Kaminski on July 31; Branden Dawson and Travis Trice (both 2011) on Aug. 4; Valentine on Monday and [Matt] Costello two days later. Izzo's program has been recruiting at a high level for 15 years, but I've never seen this kind of momentum -- or urgency from Plan A prospects to grab open spots while they still exist.


It's also worth noting that Izzo isn't just taking empty shirts and getting rid of his recruiting burden a few years ahead of time. All five signings have long been Michigan State targets. That goes for Branden Dawson especially, who's ranked No. 14 overall in the class of 2011.

What's most remarkable about this, though, is the speed. Izzo, for all intents and purposes, is done recruiting for the next two years. Given the way Izzo seems to feel about the recruiting part of his job -- read: he doesn't like it -- he'll have to enjoy that fact, even as he ponders how someone could dislike something and still do it so well.