Michigan State recruiting mailbag: Spartans’ chances with Vernon Carey Jr., impact of early signing period

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We’re right in the heart of football season and inching closer to basketball each day. So in the notebook this week, we have two questions about Michigan State football recruiting and two about Michigan State basketball recruiting. Let’s get into it.

I just wanted to know your thoughts on how the December signing period will change the process. Will we see most of the ‘committed’ players go ahead and sign?

I have mixed feelings on the new early signing period for football, which goes from Dec. 20-22 ahead of the traditional signing period in February. On one hand, players might be pressured into signing with the teams to which they’re verbally committed instead of waiting to see if other offers come around. On the other, it will allow recruits to wrap up the process if they’re truly ready for it to be over.

I think it will bring with it an expectation that those who are verbally committed will sign their letters of intent, and most probably will. I do think we’ll see a few de-commit if they don’t feel they truly are ready to choose to de-commit.

This should make the regular signing period a little less hectic. Given Michigan State’s policy of getting to know recruits very, very well before they commit, I think we’ll see almost all, if not all, of the current commits sign during the early period.

I know it’s early and there are multiple offers, but do you think Vernon Carey Jr. ends up here? Percentage?

It’s tough to say since current high school juniors won’t sign until more than a year from now. Vernon Carey, the No. 1 basketball player in the 2019 class per the 247Sports composite rankings, would obviously be a massive get for Michigan State. And after he visited during the weekend of the Iowa game, the Spartans seem to be in great shape.

That said, a lot can change over the course of a year. More of the programs pursuing Carey might be implicated in the FBI investigation into corruption in college basketball. Miami, his father’s alma mater, might turn up the heat on his recruitment. At this point, a percentage is a total shot in the dark, but I will give it a 20 percent chance that he ends up at Michigan State.

What do you think is the most important position left for Michigan State left to recruit for this 2018 class?

It seems to me that Michigan State wants to add another defensive lineman more than anything. Wide receiver has been a high priority as well. But I’ll go with running back. The Spartans already have landed 3-star University of Detroit Jesuit senior Elijah Collins, but I think they would be wise to bring in another.

If Michigan State loses LJ Scott along with Gerald Holmes after this season, this will be a thin running back group in 2018: Madre London, Connor Heyward, Weston Bridges and Collins. Heyward might prove to be more impactful at slot receiver or on defense, positions he played more of in high school.

Adding one more piece for depth could be crucial down the road.

What changes do you think will come from this FBI investigation into college basketball?

The cynic in me feels like not that much will change. The NCAA has been pretty toothless on the matter, and after all of this attention dies down, it will be back to business — some would say corruption — as usual. We probably won’t see real change until amateurism dies and college athletes are allowed to make what they’re worth.

Now, I hope that changes will be made to the AAU system. These shoe companies play such an expansive role in high school kids’ lives from an early age. When you’ve got talented prospects without the means to travel and play on their own dime, that’s pretty much inevitable. Without a complete overhaul, not much will be different.

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