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FOOTBALL RECRUITING: Spartans getting a leg up on UofM in in-state recruiting game for 2014

By: Scott Burnstein, December 1, 2012, 9:00 am

Michigan State has the early lead over rival Michigan in the in-state high school football recruiting war for the Class of 2014.

The Spartans have garnered three of the four Division I commitments from players in the state’s Class of 2014, while the Maize and Blue have still yet to snare an in-state commit spawned from the upcoming senior class.

The three gridiron standouts already committed to Michigan State are wide receiver Drake Harris (Grand Rapids Christian) and linebackers Deon Drake (Detroit Cass Tech) and Byron Bullough (Traverse City St. Francis).

Harris (6-4, 190) and Drake (6-2, 220) are both coming off junior seasons where they helped lead their respective prep squads to state titles.

In Grand Rapids Christian’s exhilarating 40-37 overtime defeat of Orchard Lake St. Mary’s in the Division 3 state championship, Harris was in rare form, catching eight balls for a state finals-record 243 yards and one touchdown.

It’s not just football that lies in Harris’ future up in East Lansing either; He’s one of the state’s top point guards on the basketball court and will suit up for Tom Izzo and the Spartans hoop crew as well.

His 2,016 receiving yards in 2012 is only the twelfth time in the nation’s history that a prepster has eclipsed the 2,000-yard barrier.  

Drake shined on offense in Cass Tech’s 36-21 victory over Novi Detroit Catholic Central, scoring on a 30-yard touchdown run in the second half.

Bullough, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound punishing tackler, comes from a long line of Spartans linebackers in his family’s lineage. His two older brothers, Riley and Max, are currently on the team. His father, grandfather and uncle all played at Michigan State, too.

When they hit campus in 18 months, Bullough is projected as an outside linebacker, while Drake will play on the inside.

Besides Harris, Drake and Bullough, the only other player from the state’s Class of 2014 to be committed to a DI college program heading into December is Sturgis quarterback Chance Stewart, who is committed to Wisconsin.

Michigan has collected two commitments from the Class of 2014, however, both of them hail from out of state; linebacker Mike Ferns is from Ohio and offensive lineman Denzel Watts is from Illinois.

The Class of 2013 is a different matter, though, and going into the final month of the year, the Wolverines currently have six in-state commits compared to just three by Michigan State.


Currently, Michigan State has a three-man advantage over Michigan on in-state scholarship players on the roster in 2012, with Michigan State having 24 and Michigan 21.