Is it too early to call Michigan State’s 2016 recruiting class the “Dream Team?”
Spartans fans are beginning to think that way, given what head coach Mark Dantonio and the rest of the Michigan State coaching staff are putting together. The epicenter of that team seems to be centered in Chicagoland.
The Spartans added two more verbal commitments Monday: Lake Park’s three star-ranked defensive tackle Mike Panasiuk (6-foot-4, 280 pounds) and Evanston’s four star-ranked defensive tackle Naquan Jones (6-foot-4, 286 pounds).
"Growing up, watching (Michigan State) and having them be my dream school was a big factor," Panasiuk said Monday at a press conference surrounded by teammates, coaches and family. "Plus, they are not too far away and not too close. When I visited, I fell in love with the campus and the coaches. I've been talking to a lot of the commits. I knew it was time."
Jones, who also had a similar ceremony at his school, noted that the strong relationship he's built with the Michigan State head coach, Mark Dantonio, is a main factor in his pledge to the Spartans.
"What stood out to me is that with all the coaches that came to visit, Coach Dantonio told me straight out from the beginning that 'You must be a special player because I don't get out to too many schools and I came out to your school,'" Jones said. "Coach Dantonio was the only head coach who came into this school and talked to me about me as as an athlete, academics and your work ethic and all that stuff. So that right there showed me that he cares about me a lot."
Panasiuk and Jones join a Chicagoland-heavy Michigan State Class of 2016, one that so far includes Hinsdale Central three star-ranked Brian Allen, three star-ranked Fremd safety Kenney Lyke, and four star and nationally ranked Hinsdale South defensive end Josh King.
Both Panasiuk and Jones also pointed towards the strength of the Michigan State recruiting class as a big factor in the decision process.
"Getting those guys that are in-state was a big factor," Panasiuk said. "Talking to Kenney, talking to Josh, all those kids it was a big-time factor."
"From what I saw from Mike (Panasiuk) at the opening camp, with that much talent on the defensive line it opens up things significantly," Jones said. "With Auston Robertson (Fort Wayne, Ind.) and Josh King coming off the edge and me and Mike coming through the middle, that just opens up a lot, and creates better opportunities for making plays."
Michigan State now boasts 17 verbal commitments in the Class of 2016.The Spartans also now have the fourth best recruiting class in the nation according to Rivals.com’s latest team recruiting rankings.