Last weekend was a big one in East Lansing, as the Michigan State football team took on Oregon in what was considered a defining moment in each team’s season.
It may have been an even bigger weekend for Michigan State in terms of their recruiting goals. They invited 300(!) recruits to the game against the Ducks, which was nationally televised on ABC.
The recruits that may be most important to the Spartans would not see themselves playing at Spartan Stadium, though.
The university had a slew of basketball recruits on campus as well. Cassius Winston and Miles Bridges — members of the class of 2016 — were joined by Spartan commits Nick Ward and Joshua Langford on Saturday.
Ward was the first to commit to Tom Izzo, way back in April in fact. The four-star big man was joined on the commit list by five-star guard Josh Langford in June. While Ward’s commitment was not a huge surprise, the Ohio native had been linked to the Spartans for a while, the Langford commitment was certainly a pleasant surprise to everyone — especially the coaching staff — in East Lansing. Getting four and five-star players early could prove to pay off for the potential of the rest of the class.
Miles Bridges is the consensus best player out of the four. Ranked in the top 15 at all the major sites, (ESPN, 247Sports, Rivals, and Scout) Bridges brings an amount of athleticism that can impact any game. The forward announced his final three on Twitter, and it included the Spartans. Bridges also announced he will commit on October 3rd, which is about three weeks away.
— Miles Bridges (@MilesBridges) September 14, 2015
Bridges’ AAU teammate Cassius Winston is a four-star guard from Detroit, and is a heavy lean to Michigan State. He announced via Twitter that he will be making his final decision on Friday.
Getting ready for my LAST official visit 🏀. I will announce my decision at my schools pep rally on Friday, September 18th. 🙌🙌🙏
— Cassius Winston (@cassiuswinston) September 12, 2015
Why is Winston’s announcement date important? Unless he shocks the recruiting world and does not pick Michigan State, he’ll be the third high profile commit in the class, and the one with the closest connection with Bridges. Although Kentucky is the leader in Bridges’ recruitment at the moment, Winston’s announcement could be enough to change the Flint native’s mind.
The two were even tweeting each other on Wednesday.
@MilesBridges01 💀 I know what's best for you
— Cassius Winston (@cassiuswinston) September 16, 2015
Lol I know you do bro https://t.co/DAw3Uutda3
— Miles Bridges (@MilesBridges) September 16, 2015
There really is not much stock to put in Twitter conversations, though. Teenagers talk to each other via social media all the time; it does not necessarily mean they are bound to commit to the same school.
It does seem that Winston and Bridges are good friends, though. That is natural from their AAU days playing for The Family, which was a participant in Nike’s EYBL league. If Winston was to commit to Michigan State on Friday, it would be hard to think he does not talk to Bridges about forming a really great class.
There is the very outside shot that Michigan State has any chance at top three player Josh Jackson. Jackson is originally from the city of Detroit, and the Spartans have not been in the mix for a while, but a recent tweet from Bridges was interesting:
Coach Izzo is one of the realest guys alive!!! Nothing but love for Michigan State! 😈😈 pic.twitter.com/GXSE52Cgjr
— Miles Bridges (@MilesBridges) September 13, 2015
Yes, that is Jackson’s name on the jersey on the left. 247Sports also gave Michigan State a trend upward in recent weeks, as the Spartans are now “warm” in Jackson’s recruitment. It would certainly be interesting to see how it unfolded if Winston and Bridges do indeed both commit to Michigan State. That said, I cannot stress how unlikely it is that the shooting guard even considers the Spartans in the end. 247Sports gives Arizona the lead for Jackson’s services, with Kansas and Maryland trailing. All three schools have been on Jackson’s trail for a while now. (Talk about a Fab Five, though.)
A Winston commit on Friday would give Michigan State the top 2016 class in the country, according to 247Sports’ Class Calculator.
Would it all be enough for Bridges to spurn Coach Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats? All signs point to a late surge from Tom Izzo and the Michigan State Spartans. It could be a program changing class, and it could all come down to Friday afternoon.
Main photo via Twitter (Stephanie Ward/@Stephdubs3)