Last spring Spartan Magazine asked MSU coaches which positions would be the biggest priority for 2002. The answer was “the skill positions”. We then asked about the number of RB’s that would be taken. The answer was “we need 3, we have no depth there”. Keep in mind the “3” was stated before TJ Duckett decided he would leave early for NFL and Tyrell Dortch shattered his leg. MSU has stuck to that number 3, and are looking for another RB to join the mix and push for immediate playing time on a team which has the entire OL returning and the best QB and WR in the Big Ten. The Spartans have been very upfront with RB’s letting them know the situation, their will be no RB’s coming to MSU and then moving to other spots, the depth is not there.
In 2000, many experts said MSU landed the best skill position class in school history, and one of the top 5 in the nation. That class included QB Jeff Smoker, WR Charles Rogers, and RB Tyrell Dortch. MSU could easily exceed that this year especially if another top RB joins in what Bobby Williams is building in East Lansing. Unlike some other programs, most of the pieces are in place due to solid recruiting the last 3 years(00,01, and 02). The Spartans are looking for icing on the cake top players. Players who can come in and have an immediate impact ability.
We looked at Rivals recruiting database, and if MSU is able to sign another RB then they will possibly have the top combined skill position class in the nation. Even the top ranked classes of schools like Ohio State, Miami and Texas will not have any more incoming talent then MSU at those positions. Spartan fans cannot argue with Bobby Williams desire to recruit the best in the country and not settle for plan B type guys.
The Spartans are focused on adding one of either Michael Johnson or Nate Schiccatano to the backfield. Both players would certainly be asked to compete right away for starting a starting spot. The Spartans want another player to join with bruising RB David Richard and scat-back Jaren Hayes to make up the 2002 Spartan backfield. Spartan Magazine would expect those RB’s to be up in East Lansing for the summer in order to be ready to start on opening day. The Spartans want to keep Dawan Moss at FB and let the freshmen carry the load in 2002. It takes special players to be able to come in and do what will be asked of them, but that is why the targeted difference makers.
Schiccatano has unofficially visited MSU, but not officially. It is unclear whether he will jump at this opportunity. Spartan Coaches did not have a chance to have an in-home yet due to Nate visiting Iowa mid-week and being busy with school sports.
Johnson is a player who has already stated that he recognizes the opportunity to join a team that will make a serious run at Big Ten Titles over the coming year. The Spartans were the youngest team in the Big Ten in 2001 and the future looks very bright. Johnson wants to be on a national spotlight, and with Smoker and Rogers the Spartans will be on TV every weekend. Rogers is already receiving Heisman hype after only 1 year of football.
Will MSU sign another RB? Spartans fans hope the answer is yes. The depth issue cuts both ways. Fans understand that the right players can step in and make an impact right away, but they also know that injuries are part of the game and MSU needs 3 RB’s in order to be able to compete. Not only will all the incoming backs be getting significant reps, but they will also be teaming up to form a backfield that is diverse and dynamic.