Mark Dantonio's Most "Overachieving" Recruits

Mark Dantonio's Most "Overachieving" Recruits

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Mark Dantonio's Most "Overachieving" Recruits

Over his 11 seasons at the helm, Mark Dantonio has made the Spartans a powerhouse program by famously bringing in recruits with talent that he’s seen but other programs haven’t appeared to recognize…

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It’s highly doubtful that Mark Dantonio would ever use the word “overachiever” when talking about Le’Veon Bell.

What is the recruiting expert guy who gave Le’Veon Bell “two stars” doing right now?

It’s entirely plausible that when Mark Dantonio offered Le’Veon Bell a scholarship with the Michigan State Spartans, he knew damn well that Le’Veon Bell would be an extraordinary player for his program and that he’d go on to star in the NFL.

It’s also entirely possible that when Mark Dantonio asked Darqueze Dennard – another 2-star recruit – to come and play for the Spartans, Dantonio wondered to himself, “When this kid gets drafted in the first round, is everyone going to act like they all knew he’d be a star like I know right now that he’s going to be a star?”

When Mark Dantonio told Tony Lippett that he’d like it if Lippett would come to play for the Spartans, it’s quite possible that Dantonio envisioned Lippett playing offense and defense and being able to do the same thing in the NFL.

Mark Dantonio recruited Greg Jones to play for him.  At the University of Cincinnati of the MAC.  And when Dantonio became the head coach at Michigan State, Jones became a part of Dantonio’s first recruiting class for the Spartans.

Greg Jones has a Super Bowl ring after starting for the New York Giants in the Super Bowl and helping the New York Giants win the Super Bowl.

Kirk Cousins was ranked as the number 1,302 recruit in the nation by 247Sports.

Shilique Calhoun was a “3-star” recruit and Mark Dantonio probably didn’t see the idea of offering Calhoun a scholarship as a controversial or challenging decision.

247Sports named Trae Waynes the No. 1,174 recruit in the nation.

When Trae Waynes was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings with the 11th overall pick of the 2015 NFL Draft, was the guy who decided Waynes was the No. 1,174 recruit in the nation at the Draft with Dantonio and other members of the Spartan staff?

Connor Cook was named the 33rd best pro-style quarterback in the nation as a high schooler by 247Sports.

Mark Dantonio saw something in Connor Cook that not a lot of other experts saw.

By the time Cook was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft, Cook had won more games in the history of Michigan State University than any other quarterback to have ever played for the Spartans.

Jack Conklin was assigned absolutely no stars by any recruiting experts despite a stellar high school football pedigree.

Jack Conklin, basically, walked into Mark Dantonio’s office, asked him if he could walk on and play for the Spartans, and Dantonio looked at Conklin and said, “Um, yes, you can do that.  Please do that.”

When Conklin decided to forego his senior year at Michigan State and enter the NFL Draft, the Tennessee Titans made him the 8th overall pick of the 2016 NFL Draft and Conklin went on to start all 16 games for the Titans and earn First Team All Pro status.

Keshawn Martin was a 2-star recruit.

Denicos Allen was a 3-star recruit.

Jerel Worthy was a 3-star recruit.

Kurtis Drummond was a 3-star recruit.

Like everyone else we’ve noted here, Martin, Allen, Worthy, and Drummond went on to the NFL.

At what point do we begin to simply ignore (completely) what the recruiting experts say about a high school football player that Marl Dantonio thinks is good enough to be a Spartan?

I stopped paying attention to recruiting experts around the same time I stopped drinking Miller Lite and moved on to a beer that someone older than 11-years old should be seen drinking.

When Dantonio offers a kid a scholarship to come and play football for Michigan State, that’s all I need to know about the kid.

End of story.

Take a look at the gallery that runs through the most under-the-radar recruits of the Dantonio Era as chronicled right here in Matt Charboneau’s piece in today’s Detroit News –

https://www.detroitnews.com/story/sports/college/michigan-state-university/2018/07/19/mark-dantonios-top-under-radar-recruits-michigan-state/799929002/

Mark Dantonio’s top under-the-radar recruits at Michigan State

Go through the gallery to view Mark Dantonio’s top under-the-radar recruits at Michigan State. Click hereif you have trouble viewing the gallery

While Mark Dantonio has made Michigan State a perennial contender in the Big Ten in his 11 seasons leading the Spartans, he’s hardly done so with the luxury of picking from the best of the best when it comes to recruiting.

That indulgence is available to only a few teams — namely Alabama and Ohio State. However, Dantonio and his staff have become as adept as any at finding the player overlooked by most, a “diamond in the rough” that comes with few stars but fits the Spartans’ system.

As Dantonio enters his 12th season at Michigan State, he’ll once again have his team in position to compete for the Big Ten East title, a spot in the conference championship game and potentially a playoff berth from there.

He’ll do so with the typical mix of players, some of whom came with high four-star labels and others who drew light interest from the biggest programs in the nation. With just two five-star recruits in his tenure — William Gholston in 2010 and Malik McDowell in 2014, with five-star Belleville offensive lineman Devontae Dobbs a verbal commitment for 2019 — it’s the sort of formula Dantonio and the MSU assistants have perfected.

With preseason camp a couple weeks away, we decided to take a look at Dantonio’s top “under-the-radar” recruits from the last 11 seasons.

Take a look at the gallery that runs through the most under-the-radar recruits of the Dantonio Era right here –

https://www.detroitnews.com/story/sports/college/michigan-state-university/2018/07/19/mark-dantonios-top-under-radar-recruits-michigan-state/799929002/

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