November 29, 2007

JUCO TE looking forward to MSU visit

With Kellen Davis set to take his skills onto the NFL, the Spartans are looking to address the tight end position with the recruiting class of 2008. Coach Mark Dantonio and his staff have targeted JUCO tight end Maurice Graham as a possibly replacement for Davis and immediate impact player for the 2008 season. spoke with Graham last night and got the latest

Coach Dantonio has stated that he is not going to go out and sign a bunch of JUCO prospects every year like some programs have a tendency to do. Instead he has indicated that he wants to build the program with 4-year players and on occasion fill a pressing need with a player the staff believes can step in and make and significant contribution. The 6-foot-5, 275-pound Graham is a player the staff believes can do just that.

Graham is considered one of the top JUCO tight end prospect in the nation for the class of 2008. He has an impressive list of offers, which includes Michigan State and Arizona State. The Oregon Ducks are also actively involved in Graham's recruitment. We spoke with him about the process and where he currently stands.

"Things are going well," Graham said. "I am taking a visit to Arizona State this coming weekend and then next weekend I will go to Michigan State. The week after that, I may take another visit as well. I want to make my decision before the holidays."

Graham is a mid-year player and that makes him a valuable recruit from the Spartans perspective. The loss of Davis as well as second-stringer fellow senior Eric Andino, means that the tight end position will be wide open this spring.

Coach Mark Staten is recruiting Graham for the Spartans. The fact that Coach Staten also serves as the tight end coach for Michigan State is a positive factor in Graham recruitment.

"Coach Staten was just down here earlier today," Graham said. "He has been keeping in-touch with me. We get along real well. He said they want me to come in there and play right away. They want me to be an every down tight end, one that can block, catch and get downfield."

As far as what factors will ultimately determine where Gram ends up playing his college football, he said he has three main criteria he is looking at.

"First is my major. I want to major in political science, so I want to make sure they have a good program I also want to see who is returning at my position and then I want to see how I would fit into the offense they run."

Graham indicated that he has two years of eligibility left and that is why he wants to get on campus as soon as possible. He wants to make sure that come September of 2008 he is on the football field helping a tem win games. Could that be in Spartan stadium?

"Michigan State is up there, they are definitely one of my top three schools," Graham stated. "I am looking forward to my visit there. I will get to compare things and that should really help me make my choice." will be sure to follow-up with Graham after he return from East Lansing. The Spartans currently have not signed any tight ends for this year. A commitment from a player with Graham ability would be a big addition to the 2008 recruiting class.

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