Big Ten Signing Day: Drama and depth on Spartans' D-line

Big Ten Signing Day: Drama and depth on Spartans' D-line
February 7, 2014, 2:15 pm
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Vinnie Duber

There are few days as frantic as National Signing Day. And sometimes it can be a difficult enough task to try and keep up with news of one team, let alone 12 of them.

Well, now that all the Signing Day hubbub has died down, it’s a good time to take a look at what happened in the Big Ten. How did the teams do? Who are the big-name recruits coming to the conference next season? And how happy were the coaches with their respective hauls? We’ve broken it down, team-by-team.

Michigan State Spartans

(Rivals rankings: 2nd Big Ten, 21st nationally)

Malik McDowell, a five-star defensive end from Southfield, Mich., is the Spartans’ biggest get in this year’s recruiting class. McDowell is the 26th-ranked player in the country. There’s just one problem: The Spartans haven’t gotten him yet. McDowell picked the Spartans on National Signing Day, but he hasn’t submitted a signed Letter of Intent yet. Why not? His parents aren’t too keen on him attending Michigan State. They think there are better fits outside of the Great Lakes State, and so they haven’t given the required parental consent. It’s quickly becoming the biggest story of this year’s Signing Day, and the drama continues.

But McDowell isn’t the only top defensive lineman heading to Michigan State. A season after Shilique Calhoun was one of the best defensive linemen in the country, Mark Dantonio recruited four additional linemen (five with McDowell), including four-star Craig Evans out of Wisconsin and four-star Enoch Smith Jr. from Chicago.

[MORE: Shot at Northwestern reminds of Illini in-state struggles]

Recruits in Rivals 250:

26. Malik McDowell, five-star defensive end (Southfield, Mich.)
135. Montae Nicholson, four-star defensive back (Monroeville, Pa.)
175. Madre London, four-star running back (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
188. Craig Evans, four-star defensive tackle (Sun Prairie, Wis.)

Coach speak: “I think it's a dominant class on the defensive line,” Dantonio said, though he didn’t even directly mention McDowell in his Signing Day press conference. “I think with this defensive line class we'll continue to establish ourselves as one the top defenses in this country and in this conference. That's a positive for us.”