During Mark Dantonio's tenure, Michigan State has received most of its commitments during spring and summer.
But the Spartan coaching staff is always looking for a potential difference maker to enhance their program. And once that individual has been identified, Michigan State has been fast to act.
In 2012, Michigan State beat both Oregon and Oregon State to the punch in the recruitment of late-rising defensive lineman David Fennell, who played one year of football in the United States after moving to Portland from Calgary late in the summer before his senior year at Sunset High. After signing day that same year, Michigan State added longsnapper Taybor Pepper and offensive tackle Jack Conklin.
Pepper is the only member of that trio to see the field during their first year in the Spartan program, but Michigan State's opportunistic approach to recruiting late-rising seniors has paid dividends in the past.
Le'Veon Bell, Keshawn Martin, and Darqueze Dennard are each examples of players that Michigan State began aggressively recruiting well into or after their senior season in high school.
Michigan State received commitments from defensive linemen James Bodanis and Noah Jones, and defensive back Justin Williams during January. Both Jones and Williams are Florida kids who received a high level of recruiting interest from FBS programs.
But Bodanis (a transfer from the University of Toronto) is arguably further off-the-grid than any recruit Michigan State has signed during Dantonio's seven years as a head coach.
The Spartans were tipped off about Bodanis through former North Carolina State defensive line coach Keith Willis, who helped put Pat Narduzzi in touch with the 6-foot-5, 295-pound University of Toronto starter.
Now that Bodanis has signed a letter of intent, Spartan coaches can talk publicly about specific recruits.
Dantonio will be asked several questions about Bodanis at his signing day press conference later today. But a Tweet from the Spartan coach sheds light on what Michigan State likes about the Canadian.
#18 J.Bodanis (UofToronto, Canada) Big powerful ath, quick, played 2 years of College FB in Canada, explovsive, bright future #Spartans2013- Mark Dantonio (@DantonioMark) February 6, 2013
Dantonio also tweeted a link to the highlight video embedded below.
Bodanis compiled 32.5 tackles and five sacks in two seasons as a starter on the defensive line for Toronto.
Bodanis started all eight games for the Varsity Blues in 2012. He finished the season with a team-high four sacks, 20.5 tackles, two forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery.
It is also clear that Dantonio likes the ceiling of Michigan State's two other January commits.
Jones is late-bloomer a great deal of upside.
#4 N.Jones (Dillard, FL): Fast rising DL late in rec, BIG upside, ath, ability to run, great get-off. Coach Davis- WR at YSU. #Spartans2013— Mark Dantonio (@DantonioMark) February 6, 2013
With 10.5 speed in the 100, Williams is one of the fastest members of the 2013 class.
#6 J.Williams (Tre. Coast HS, FL) 10.5/100M, 20.7/200M, great rtn, ball skills, ability to tackle, has size, big play ability. #Spartans2013— Mark Dantonio (@DantonioMark) February 6, 2013