Michigan State recruiting: Tennessee Pututau talks visit; Ron Burton checks on other DT targets

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Tennessee Pututau talks Michigan State visit

Michigan State has already landed commitments from 20 recruits in the 2018 class. Unofficially, nine scholarship seniors will depart after this season. There can’t be room for much more in next year’s freshman class, right?

Apparently there’s still work to be done. Michigan State keeps bringing in targets for visits and hitting the road to see them at their homes. One area of need has been the defensive line.

The Spartans have three defensive linemen committed to the class in Parks Gissinger, Jacob Slade and Zach Slade, all 3-star prospects in the 247Sports composite. Over the weekend, all three were on campus, as was another high school senior who could fill a spot in the class: Tennessee Pututau.

Michigan State offered the 4-star Salt Lake City East standout on Nov. 27 and worked quickly to get him on campus 11 days later for an official visit. Pututau responded enthusiastically when asked how it went.

“It was great,” he told Land of 10. “I loved everything about the program.”

Pututau and most of the Spartans’ 2018 class trekked across a snowy campus to see Spartan Stadium, the practice facilities, academic centers and more. On Saturday, they checked in on the Breslin Center to see Michigan State men’s basketball team take down Southern Utah, 88-63.

It was an impressive atmosphere for a visit, outside of the weather, and even that wasn’t out of the ordinary for a Utah resident. Pututau had the chance to spend quality time with Michigan State defensive tackles coach Ron Burton and talk about his future.

Though he’s listed as the No. 24 outside linebacker in the 2018 class, Pututau likely won’t end up at that spot if he chooses Michigan State. Burton and the Spartans view the 6-foot-1 1/2, 260-pound recruit as a defensive tackle, a spot at which they have several remaining targets. And that vision looks appealing to him as well.

“MSU was not really part of the discussion before the trip, but that’s all changed,” Pututau said. “It’s definitely a program I can see myself at for the four years of my college football career.”

Who else is in the picture? BYU, Colorado, Washington, Wisconsin and many more have offered, but Utah has long been considered the program in the driver’s seat for Pututau’s commitment.

And for good reason. One of his older brothers, Hauati, plays defensive tackle for the Utes. Two others, Fua and Taniela, have signed with Utah and set off to serve church missions, just as Hauati had done before enrolling.

Regardless of where he chooses to go, Pututau plans to take a mission trip as well. He said he discussed it with the Michigan State staff, which was on board with the idea.

Surely the Spartans would like him on campus as soon as possible, but they’ve deemed it worth the wait to land the No. 5 senior in Utah. And it wouldn’t affect their scholarship count for next year.

Ron Burton visits other defensive tackle targets

Burton has been hard at work trying to finish off the 2018 class, and his efforts have taken him across the country in the last month.

He was in Utah trying to secure a commitment from 3-star Timpview (Provo) defensive tackle Jackson Cravens. He helped to host Pututau on his official visit. And on Wednesday, he dropped in on 3-star Rome (Ga.) senior defensive tackle Jamarcus Chatman one week before the early signing period.

Michigan State offered Chatman back in March, but the Spartans never seemed to be a major factor in his recruitment. He committed to LSU in April. Then he de-committed shortly after a Tennessee visit and eventually pledged to the Volunteers in June. And on Monday, four days after Tennessee announced the hiring of new coach Jeremy Pruitt, Chatman reopened his recruitment again.

Can the Spartans make a late push to land a commitment? It’s quite possible. They have a strong relationship with Rome High and have offered several players from the school. It’s not as if they’re showing up out of nowhere.

But they won’t be the only team jumping in late. Chatman has reported more than 60 offers, and two of those programs, Georgia Tech and Ole Miss, have dropped in over the last two days.

But this contact period isn’t just about wrapping up the 2018 class. It’s already near completion. The coaches have also been using it to build on the younger classes. On Thursday, Burton dropped in at West Aurora (Ill.) High, where 2020 defensive tackle Denver Warren goes to school.

Burton can’t sit down and chat with Warren yet, as he’s too young, but his appearance didn’t go unappreciated. Warren landed a Michigan State offer while visiting on Nov. 4 and holds the Spartans in high regard.

“I just felt like I was already going there,” Warren told Land of 10 after the visit. “I felt like I’ve already been there, just the energy. All the fans were asking me if I was a recruit. They were just telling me they were alumni. Everybody was so welcoming.”

Dimitri Douglas to enroll early

Add another to the list. MLive’s Matt Wenzel reported Thursday that 3-star Saline (Mich.) offensive lineman Dimitri Douglas plans to enroll early at Michigan State. Douglas confirmed the news to Land of 10.

“I’ve known this for quite a while,” he said of his plans. But many of his fellow commits didn’t.

Seven Michigan State commits plan to enroll early: Douglas, 4-star cornerback Kalon Gervin, 4-star defensive back Xavier Henderson, 4-star quarterback Theo Day, 3-star wide receiver Julian Major, 3-star linebacker Edward Warinner, and 3-star wide receiver Ja’Vez Alexander.

Douglas, the No. 14 senior in Michigan, plans to hold his signing ceremony on Wednesday at his high school.

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