MSU gets needed boost on Signing Day
By DAVE DYE
FOX Sports Detroit
Feb. 2, 2011
After several early high-end commitments, Michigan State slowed down considerably as signing day approached, unable to finish on some key players.
The Spartans, however, added one extra commitment Wednesday, and based on their needs, it could turn out to be an important one.
Fou Fonoti, a Junior College All-America offensive lineman, became one of the 21 recruits who signed with the Spartans.
With the MSU losing tackles D.J. Young and J'Michael Dean, Fonoti actually could have an opportunity to compete for a starting job right away.
Fonoti, a cousin of former Spartans Tupe and Domata Peko, also had offers from UCLA, Arizona, Washington State and Rutgers.
He played at Cerritos College in Lakewood, Calif., and he is rated as a three-star player by Scout.com and the No. 24 junior-college player overall by Rivals.com.
Fonoti is part of a solid recruiting class that features one of Scout.com's five-star players in linebacker Lawrence Thomas (Detroit Renaissance) and three four-star talents including offensive lineman Donavon Clark (Cincinnati), defensive end Joel Heath (Cincinnati) and running back/athlete Onaje Miller (Lansing, Mich.)
As of early Wednesday night, Michigan State was No. 29 in Scout.com's national rankings, fifth in the Big Ten behind Ohio State, Nebraska, Iowa and Michigan.
The Spartans were No. 31 in Rivals.com's rankings, also fifth in the conference behind the same foursome.
"My feeling is as long as you're in that general vicinity of the top-25, you've got opportunities to develop some outstanding football players," coach Mark Dantonio said Wednesday while announcing his fifth recruiting class at Michigan State.
"We've got 12 different states represented, probably the biggest variety of states we've had since we've been here. We've gone all the way to California, to Texas, Jersey, into Pennsylvania and down to Florida.
"We signed (the state of Michigan's) No. 1 prospect for the second year in a row, with William Gholston last year and L.T. Thomas this year. That's exciting.
"We've addressed some concerns, some basic needs. We signed three offensive linemen, six defensive linemen, four linebackers and three defensive backs, an athlete could play defensive back or running back, one tight end, one quarterback, two wide receivers. It's a good class for us."
One of the tough losses of late came when four-star defensive tackle Darian Cooper (Hyattsville, Md.) ended up signing with Iowa after some thought he might be headed to East Lansing.
"I think they expected to have a class that was among the top 20," Rivals.com recruiting analyst Josh Helmholdt said, referring to MSU's numerous early commitments followed by an 11-2 season and co-Big Ten championship.
"It didn't end up that way."
Still, Scout.com recruiting analyst Allen Trieu believes the Spartans have gotten a bump from their best season in decades.
"A lot of these kids (who signed) actually were committed before they even won all those games," Trieu said. "That kind of season helped them keep the commits.
" I think more so it's been a trend of them winning more and more games each year that got a lot of these kids committed over the summer.
"A lot of people are excited about Michigan State football going into next season. I think you'll see that (2010) season have an even bigger effect on recruiting the 2012 class."
Blake Treadwell is expected to move from defensive tackle to center or possibly offensive guard for spring practice.