| Special to The Detroit News
Michigan State added size to their defensive line during the early signing period of the 2021 class, securing 6-foot-5, 360-pound defensive tackle Derrick Harmon and 6-foot-6, 270-pound defensive end Tyson Watson.
That desire to get bigger, but also still retain the athleticism of the front-seven carries now into the 2022 class where the Spartans are also recruiting Deone Walker, a 6-foot-6, 305-pound defensive tackle.
“He had decent size for a young kid coming into high school and then he went through a growth spurt over break and when he came back and I was like, Woah,’” Cass Tech defensive line coach Nicholas Martin said. “I’m 6-foot-2 and he was around my height as a freshman, and then he got to 6-foot-6 almost 6-foot-7. Body wise, he has totally grown, and he has bought into the program at Cass. He is a bright young man and good student and I think the sky is the limit for him.”
That size and upside has schools coming in to challenge the Spartans and Michigan, as both in-state schools have offered. Kentucky and Virginia Tech were Walker’s last two offers. Those came after he had 16 tackles for loss as a junior and went down to a camp in Florida and was named a top performer there.
He notes that multiple members of the Spartan staff have been in contact, including head coach Mel Tucker and defensive line coach Ron Burton.
“From all schools, I’ll say I talk to Coach Burton at Michigan State the most,” Walker said.
The Spartans have Cass Tech representation on the roster with cornerback Kalon Gervin and quarterback Sebastian Brown.
He has not decided when he will make a commitment, but is continuing to speak with coaches and seeing if he will have an opportunity to visit any when the NCAA dead period is scheduled to end on April 15. Now into his offseason, Walker will continue to train and play the other sports that helped him maintain his athleticism when he hit his growth spurt.
“Deone has always been a multi-sport athlete: we push that at Cass with Coach (Thomas) Wilcher,” Martin said. “So he’s played basketball as well, so he wasn’t uncoordinated because he was doing other activities. We are big believers in that. So he can bend and get his pad level down.”
Cass Tech has had success on the defensive line, and Martin demands a lot from the group. He says Walker has embraced that the techniques take time to learn and has done that. It has not hurt that he has had multiple college players to learn from in past years like Duwayne Legette (Albion), James Ester (Northern Illinois) and sharing the line with Toledo signees Clarence Wilson and Doran Ray this year.
“His ceiling is unlimited,” Martin said. “He’s a load and being explosive with that much power coming off two feet, I told him no one going to be able to stop it until he plays against Alabama.”
When Tucker offered Walker, he says he ran around his house excitedly. Now the Spartans have continued to build that relationship in hopes they can add another big, talented body to their defensive line group.
MSU continues NJ recruiting
The MSU staff extended an offer to Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco Prep offensive tackle Chase Bisontis, who is only a sophomore but already considered one of the top recruits in the country in his class.
A 6-foot-5, 275-pound prospect, Bisontis has 15 offers now with Arkansas, Michigan, Miami (Fla.), Ohio State, Penn State and more on his list.
The Spartans signed two Jersey offensive linemen, Kevin Wigenton and Geno VanDeMark, in the 2021 class.
New DB offer in Georgia
The Spartans have also had success with defensive backs from Georgia dating to Darqueze Dennard and then recently Tre Person and Shakur Brown.
One of their newest offers in the Peach State has gone to Ethan Nation, a 6-foot, 170-pound prospect at Roswell High.
Nation had eight interceptions as a sophomore in the fall.
Florida State, Maryland, Boston College, Ole Miss, Penn State, Tennessee and more have offered him.
Allen Trieu covers Midwest football recruiting for 247Sports. He has been featured on the Big Ten Network on its annual Signing Day Show. His Michigan and Michigan State recruiting columns appear weekly at detroitnews.com.
Our special thanks to:detroitnews.com