Despite success on field under Mark Dantonio, the Michigan State Spartans haven't quite made the leap into an elite recruiting powerhouse along the lines of Ohio State or even in-state rival Michigan. However, the reigning Big Ten champions made a big pick-up on Friday, as Dantonio and his staff out-dueled SEC schools like Ole Miss and Kentucky to snatch a verbal commitment from four-star 2018 prospect Xavier Henderson.
Henderson, who hails from Pickerington High School in Ohio, is considered an "athlete" prospect at this stage, though 247Sports indicates that Michigan State is likely envisioning a role in the defensive backfield. At 6-foot and 189 pounds, Henderson is a top-200 player in the Class of 2018 and he also doubles as the first pledge that Dantonio has secured for that particular recruiting class, setting a very encouraging precedent for the future.
It is unquestionably a significant win for Michigan State to go outside of the borders of Michigan in order to secure a four-star prospect like this, and that is magnified when beating out SEC schools for that player. The Spartans face modest expectations on the field in 2016, but if they can (once again) exceed those expectations, Michigan State's path to recruiting excellence could illuminate in a hurry.
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