The Michigan State Spartans continued to build an impressive 2016 recruiting class, as they recently received commitments from four-star defensive end Auston Robertson and three-star defensive tackle Mike Panasiuk.
Update: Four-star defensive tackle Naquan Jones committed to the Spartans on Monday afternoon according to ESPN’s Tom VanHarren (via twitter). The Evanston, Illinois, product chose Michigan State over Florida and South Carolina, among others.
MLive reported that Robertson committed to Michigan State while he was at the RAS camp in Fort Wayne on Sunday, an event also attended by Spartans’ head coach Mark Dantonio. The Fort Wayne, Indiana, native was named the defensive line MVP at the camp.
Robertson is ranked as a top-100 ranked prospect by 247sports composite and the No. 143 rated player in the class by ESPN Recruiting Nation. He chose Michigan State over Michigan and Notre Dame, among others. Robertson, along with recent commit Josh King, who is a four-star defensive end from Illinois, are the two-highest rated players in the Spartans 16-player class.
Robertson told Fort Wayne’s ABC 21, WPTA-TV, that he committed to the Spartans because of the family atmosphere Dantonio has created.
“Every time I go up there, it’s like a family atmosphere. I have a great relationships with all the recruits and coaches, and they make me feel like it’s home.”
Robertson will be a senior at Wayne High School, where he plays tight end on the offensive side of the ball. The 6-foot-5 260-pounder also plays for the Generals’ basketball team.
Watch Robertson’s interview with Scout’s national recruiting analyst Allen Trieu here. Scout has Robertson ranked as the No. 9 ranked defensive end in the nation.
Rivals reported that Panasiuk committed to the Spartans this morning. The 6-foot-3, 285-pounder from Roselle, Illinois, visited Michigan State last Wednesday and received an offer from Dantonio on Thursday.
Panasiuk chose Michigan State over Wisconsin, Penn State, Missouri, and Minnesota, among others.
“I knew I was comfortable with Michigan State and that’s why I chose them,” Panasiuk said on his streamed interview at ChicagoFootball.com. “Growing up, I’ve just been watching Big Ten and definitely wanted to play for a Big Ten school.”
How does Robertson and Panasiuk help the Spartans defensive line in the future?
Robertson is long, athletic, and has a good first step quickness from a three-point stance, according to ESPN. He is seen as a disruptive pass rusher, who can also be an effective run stopper due to his speed and high motor as well as physicality.
Panasiuk is considered a hard-nose player who can stuff the run. He is strong and physical.
Michigan State is building a solid defensive line for the future with Robertson, Panasiuk, King, Jones and Mufi Hunt — Hunt, a three-star prospect from the class of 2015, signed with the Spartans this spring but will not be on campus until 2017 as he is currently on a Mormon mission. Three-star defensive tackle Raequan Williams and three-star defensive end Justice Alexander will be freshman this season.
It is a good thing that the Spartans are reloading their front seven as they lost end Marcus Rush, who is currently with the San Francisco 49ers, this past season and will lose senior Shilique Calhoun after this season. Rush and Calhoun combined for 15.5 sacks last year. Michigan State has been one of the best teams in the Big Ten against the run under Dantoni.
The rest of the Spartans 2016 class
Michigan State’s 2016 class has the chance to be the first recruiting class to be ranked in the nation’s top-10 under Dantonio. The Spartans currently have 16 commitments and are expected to use their total allotment of 25 scholarships this year.
The Spartans 2016 class consists of four defensive linemen, two wide receivers, three defensive backs, two linebackers, three offensive linemen, one quarterback, one running back, and one tight end. The other 13 players in the recruiting class include WR Justin Layne, WR Cam Chambers, FS Demetric Vance, OT Thiyo Lukusa, QB Messiah de Weaver, RB Abdul Adams, SS Kenney Lyke, OT Gavin Cupp, CB Austin Andrews, OLB Jonah Morris, TE Noah Davis, OL Matt Allen, and LB Joe Bachie.
Michigan State expects to add at least one more player in this class at receiver, defensive back, offensive line, linebacker and may even add a kicker.
[Photo by Gregory Shamus / Getty Images]