football Edit

2024 DB Justin Denson Jr. commits: 'Michigan State showed the same love'

Michigan State's hot stretch on the recruiting trail continues as three-star athlete/defensive back Justin Denson Jr. announced his verbal commitment to the Spartans on Tuesday, via Instagram.


"I'm going to be the face of the new No Fly Zone," Denson told Spartans Illustrated about the commitment. "(Michigan State) was the first big school to offer and believe in me, and they've been showing the same love since the beginning, even with the other schools offering me and all that, they always showed the same love. They made sure I was a priority for them."

Denson, 6-foot-2 and 190-pounds, expects to play cornerback at Michigan State, but has the versatility to play safety, nickel back or wherever the Spartans need him. His height, length, range and ball skills make him an ideal defensive back at the college level.

Denson released his top-five on June 20, which included Michigan State, Alabama Florida, Oklahoma and Texas A&M.

In addition to his top-five schools, Denson received scholarship offers from Notre Dame, Penn State, Miami (FL.), Arizona State, Arkansas, Florida State, Kentucky, Purdue, Kansas, Maryland, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi, Missouri and several others. He has 30 offers in total.

Denson took his official visit to Michigan State during the weekend of June 23 through June 25 and had a great time.

"I had my most fun on my Michigan State visit (compared to all of the other official visits)," Denson said afterward.

Denson also went to Florida and Oklahoma for official visits in June, and was able to check out Alabama as well, but he felt East Lansing was home and ultimately chose MSU.

A strong bond was built between Denson, Michigan State head coach Mel Tucker, secondary coach Harlon Barnett and cornerbacks coach Jim Salgado, among others on the staff.

"Those are my dawgs," Denson about the Michigan State coaches. "I love them, I relate with them. They care about me, they care about my family and they show them constant love."

Despite being the head coach, Tucker took the time to recruit Denson directly, which really resonated with him.

The relationships with the staff and the opportunity for early playing time is what stuck out to Denson about Michigan State. While early playing time is never promised, MSU has shown a willingness to play true freshmen under Tucker. Denson plans to work hard and earn a spot on the field for the Spartans.

"Coach Tucker, that's my dawg," Denson said after the official visit. "He's one of my main recruiters. (Coach Hazelton) talked to me a lot (on the visit). They like me because I'm long and rangy. They think I can get the ball, and that's what they like about me — ball, ball, ball!"

Denson has also credited his recruiting coordinator, Joe Mento, often.

Following a strong showing at TheShow by NextGen event in Emerson, Georgia this past weekend, Denson earned an invite to the All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas on Jan. 6, 2024. He was also named the overall Most Valuable Player of the camp.

"It was lit," Denson said about the All-American Bowl invite and MVP honors. "I'm an All-American now!"

In the fall of 2022, Denson helped lead La Salle Academy to a Rhode Island Division I state championship. It was the Rams' first state title since 2017.

Denson got the nod as an All-State first-team selection as a defensive back at La Salle last season. On the offensive side of the ball, Denson was an All-Division first-team pick as a wide receiver.

Nicknamed "The Slim Reaper" and "Showtime," Denson recorded 67 tackles and five interceptions in 2022. He also scored 10 combined touchdowns.

According to Denson, he has recorded a laser-timed 40-yard dash of 4.51 seconds. In the class room, he maintains a 3.0 grade point average.

Speaking of the classroom, the Providence, Rhode Island native will actually be switching schools. Denson will transfer from La Salle to Wyoming Seminary College Prep in Pennsylvania for his final year before college ball. While at Wyoming Seminary, Denson expects to take a step up in competition as the Blue Knights will play more of a national schedule.

Michigan State originally offered Denson during his unofficial visit in January, which he said he was "ecstatic" about at the time. The relationship quickly developed from there. He took another unofficial visit to MSU in April during spring practice before his official visit in June.

Denson has felt the love from Michigan State fans ever since and throughout his whole process.

"Spartan fans are crazy, they're insane (in the best way)," Denson said. "Go Green!"

With Denson's commitment, Michigan State's 2024 recruiting class has quickly grown to 11 commitments, including five defensive backs. MSU had just three public commits prior to June 14.

The other members of the 2024 class who are currently verbally committed to Michigan State include four-star running back Anthony Carrie, four-star cornerback Jaylen Thompson, three-star quarterback Henry Hasselbeck, three-star defensive back Syair Torrence, three-star offensive lineman Andrew Dennis, three-star offensive lineman Logan Bennett, three-star offensive lineman Mercer Luniewski, three-star offensive lineman Charlton Luniewski, three-star defensive back Reggie Powers III and three-star cornerback Camren Campbell.


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