October 3, 2012
Scholarship number dynamic
Michigan State is very tight on scholarship for the class of 2013 and the number of players they will sign in February is still an unknown. SpartanMag.com takes a look at the dynamics behind the scholarship situation.
Will Fou be back?
Prior to the Notre Dame game Fou Fonoti broke a bone in his foot and has since undergone surgery. The initial amount of time he is expected to miss has been put at 6-8 weeks. That means he could be healthy enough to play in early to mid-November.
The question could become whether the staff plays Fonoti for 1 or 2 games and a bowl game or if the apply for a red-shirt and bring him back for 2013? If that happens, he will require a scholarship for next fall.
Fonoti's return would certainly help improve an offensive line that is battling multiple injuries. With that said, he could also anchor an outstanding offensive line for 2013 and in the process likely improve his chances on playing football at the next-level. If Fonoti returns, look for the Spartans to have 1 less spot for the class of 213.
At the beginning of season most people assumed that defensive end William Gholston was an early 1st round draft pick. However, Gholston has not been 100% healthy this fall and his play has not been indicative of a future NFL millionaire.
In addition, Gholston is not the type of player who is simply looking for a reason to leave Michigan State University. He enjoys being in college and the lifestyle that goes along with it.
The factors in Gholston's decision will likely be very different than 2011 running back Edwin Baker.
Spartan running back Le'Veon Bell's situation is different than that of Gholston. Bell's game against Boise State instantly vaulted him up the recruiting board of every NFL draft analyst.
Bell is an exceptional all-around running back that can run, catch and block. With that said, he is not known for having great speed. A 4.7 at an NFL combine would likely send his stock tumbling. The NFL draft puts way more emphasis on combine stats than college production, just look at running back Bryce Brown.
Having your stock fall when you have a college degree is different than having it fall when you do not. Bell enrolled early and will likely have his degree if he opts to return for his senior season.
SpartanMag.com has checked several recent mock NFL draft and most of them do not have Gholston or Bell landing in the first round. Gholston is found more in the 2nd round and Bell in the 3rd or 4th round.
If Gholston and Bell were to return to Michigan State for their senior seasons they would use up scholarship spots for the class 2013. On the flip side, they would almost certainly make Michigan State the overwhelming favorite to win the Division and compete for the Rose Bowl.
Attrition in college football is impossible to predict, but it is something that always occurs. You never know what may leave and for what reason. 4-star wide receiver Donald Spencer wanted to play right away so he left for Indiana State. Offensive tackle Zach Hueter had to retire due to injuries. Edwin Baker left early for the NFL due to wanting to try and support his family and the emergence of Bell.
One thing that you can look at is which players that are 3rd or 4th year players are being passed on the depth chart by younger players. Those are the players that traditionally will look to transfer in order to get playing time. This is what happened with players like Carl Grimes and even more recently John Deyo.
Big Ten schools guarantee players a 4-year scholarship, but it does not mean they get 5-years, even if the have playing eligibility left. In the world of big time college football and 85 man limits, having a 5th year senior on scholarship that is not in the two deeps is viewed as being bad for business.
Add it up?
As you can see, the amount of scholarships that Head Coach Mark Dantonio and his staff will be able to offer come national Signing Day is very fluid. If Bell and Gholston play lights-out the next few weeks that will help the team, but it also may cause them to move up the board and decide to test the draft. If Fou is a quick healer, his status could change. How many scholarships the staff has will directly impact several prospects that would love to end up in Green and White.
SpartanMag.com will continue to follow this recruiting dynamic as it unfolds.
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