When Michigan State enters Ohio Stadium on Saturday, they will be doing so with a significant amount of its players playing in their home state.
The Spartans have 26 current players on its roster who hail from the Buckeye State, including some who were recruited by Ohio State in high school.
Of those 26 players, 11 are starters on offense, defense and special teams. The trio of linebackers who have led a Michigan State revival this season all had different stories of how they ended up in East Lansing.
Senior Cris Frey, from Upper Arlington, Ohio, was lightly recruited by much of the Big Ten and didn’t receive an offer from his home state school. Meanwhile Sophomore sensation at middle linebacker Joe Bachie first received an offer from Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio, before the Buckeyes tried to nudge the Brook Park, Ohio native from East Lansing. It didn’t work as Bachie honored Michigan State’s initial offer.
Then there are the twin brothers linebacker Andrew Dowell and safety David Dowell who have combined to have special seasons for the Spartans on defense.
On offense, starting running back and Hubbard, Ohio native L.J. Scott will be looking to make a big impact after last season’s game against Ohio State where he gashed the Buckeyes for 236 total yards and 2 touchdowns in a 1-point defeat at Spartan Stadium.
Do not forget about the all important special teams as both the Spartans kicker Matt Coghlin and punter Jake Hartbarger are from that state down South as well.
Make no mistake, Dantonio has always placed and emphasis on plucking the players out of Ohio who Ohio State may have not shown much interest in.
The Spartans are looking to continue that tradition of bringing in players from just South of the Great Lakes State, with nine current verbal commits for its 2018 class.
Perhaps the old saying ‘familiarity breeds contempt’ is true after all, as Michigan State and Ohio State continue the Big Ten’s newest rivalry in Columbus.
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