Feb. 13, 1997
Coach Saban Assesses MSU Football Recruits
The following is the list of Spartan recruits and Head Coach Nick Saban's assessment:
Chris Baker (tight end) - "Tight end was an area we definitely had to address. Usually players have to work their way to the offensive field, but in his case we'll start him out at tight end."
Duron Bryan (defensive back/receiver) - "Reminds me of (sophomore) Amp Campbell in the way he plays; good tackler, good receiver, good hands."
Willie Comerford (defensive tackle) - "He was 75-3 or 75-2 in wrestling and beat some very impressive competition. Defensive line types are usually the best athletes and have the best movement."
Lorenzo Guess (quarterback) - "He is interested in playing basketball, which we are not opposed to. He has good arm strength. He has the ability to be a quarterback here."
Herb Haygood (tailback) - "He's an outstanding running back in my opinion. We needed this kind of runner to compliment the people we have right now."
Renaldo Hill (defensive back) - "He has good ball skills, good ball judgment. We had him in our (prep) camp last year."
Matt Kropf (linebacker) - "He can run and strike you. He has a lot of effort and toughness."
Matt Mauck (quarterback) - "He's kind of a runner and passer, and has excellent athletic ability. We think he has enough arm strength to be a good passing quarterback."
Ivory McCoy (tight end/linebacker) - "We like him as a tight end, but he's a good defensive player as well. The guy can run."
Ben Meloche (linebacker) - "He has good size and can run well. I'm glad I don't have to coach against this Canadian (rules football)."
Joel Mesman (linebacker) - "We'll start him out as an outside linebacker."
Nick Meyers (defensive end) - "He's got pretty good running ability. That's the toughest position that we have to find guys to recruit."
Shawn Murphy (offensive lineman) - "He's got pretty good feet and change in direction for a 280-pound guy."
Demont Smith (receiver/defensive back) - "He's a big-play guy; reminds me of some guys we've had in the past like Mark Ingram."
Josh Smith (offensive lineman) - "Shows good lower body strength, flexibility. He's got good natural quickness, balance and body control."
DeMario Suggs (receiver/defensive back) - "His straight line speed makes him a (junior) Octavis Long type of guy."
T.J. Turner (linebacker) - "He's one of the best linebacker prospects we've recruited here for a while."
Marty Wensel (defensive tackle) - "He's up to about 280 (pounds) now and he uses his hands well."
Chris Baker TE, 6-4, 250 Saline, MI Saline High School Associated Press first-team all-state selection in 1996 . . . honorable mention all-state pick by both Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News . . . earned first-team all-area honors from the Ann Arbor News in '96 . . . also named first-team all-league as a senior . . . scheduled to participate in the MHSFCA East-West All-Star Game in Spartan Stadium in August . . . had 40 receptions for 989 yards (24.7 avg.) and 11 touchdowns . . . also picked up 32 yards rushing on four carries (8.0 avg.) . . . credited with 29 tackles, including eight for losses . . . had one interception and blocked two punts . . . currently averaging 14 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks for Saline's basketball team . . . earned all-area and all-league honors in basketball in '95-'96 . . . runs 4.75 in the 40 . . . plans to major in fisheries and wild life. Duron Bryan DB/WR, 6-0, 185 Lexington Park, MD Great Mills High School Honorable mention all-metro pick by the Washington Post . . . first-team all-conference selection as both a wide receiver and defensive back in 1996 . . . has been nominated to play in the Virginia-Maryland All-Star Game (Chesapeake Classic) . . . played for coach Steve Hoopengardner at Great Mills (Md.) High School . . . named team offensive and special teams MVP . . . boasts personal bests of 6.3 in 55 meters, 6.1 in 50-yard dash and 21 feet in long jump . . . has been listed on Great Mills' honor roll three times . . . plans to pursue a degree in business/management. Willie Comerford DT, 6-4, 280 St. Petersburg, FL Gibbs High School USA Today and Parade honorable mention All-American . . . named to Tom Lemming's Prep Football Report All-Southeast Team and SuperPrep's All-Dixie Team . . . honorable mention all-state pick as a senior . . . earned first-team All-Tampa Bay, All-Pinellas County, All-Suncoast and All-St. Petersburg . . . named MVP at the Pinellas County All-Star Game . . . recorded 160 tackles, including 22 sacks, in 1996 . . . had 17 pancake blocks as a starting offensive tackle . . . outstanding prep wrestler has a 92-3 career record, including a current streak of 50-consecutive wins . . . has won 12 major tournaments over the last three years . . . won '96 state wrestling title, defeating four-time national champion Shawn McCoy in the finals . . . '96 Southeast Regional heavyweight champion . . . ran personal best 4.78 in the 40 prior to the Pinnelas County All-Star Game . . . special education major. Lorenzo Guess QB, 6-3, 190 Wayne, MI Wayne Memorial High School Ranked as the Midwest's No. 4 prospect in Tom Lemming's Prep Football Report . . . also named to SuperPrep's All-Midwest Team . . . listed on The Detroit News All-State Dream Team . . . also earned all-conference and all-metro honors as a senior . . . a four-year starter at quarterback for Coach Chuck Howton at Wayne (Mich.) Memorial High School . . . threw for nearly 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns in 1996 . . . added 220 yards rushing and three TDs . . . had 39 tackles and two interceptions as a starting defensive back in '96 . . . also broke up nine passes and caused a fumble . . . threw for 1,120 yards and nine touchdowns as a junior . . . currently averaging better than 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Wayne Memorial basketball team . . . averaged better than 18 points and eight rebounds as a junior in '95-'96 to earn All-America honors . . . also earned all-state and all-conference honors in basketball . . . runs 4.5 in the 40 . . . member of the National Honor Society with a 3.4 overall grade-point average . . . plans to major in accounting. Herb Haygood TB, 6-0, 180 Sarasota, FL Sarasota High School Midwest Football Recruiting Magazine All-American . . . ranked as the Southeast's No. 3 running back by the National Recruiting Advisor . . . also listed as one of the nation's top 10 all-purpose backs by the same scouting service . . . named to Tom Lemming's Prep Football Report All-Southeast Team and SuperPrep's All-Dixie Team . . . first-team all-state selection as a senior . . . earned all-area honors three-straight years . . . selected to play in Florida's North-South All-Star Game in Jacksonville . . . named Sarasota-Manatee County All-Star Game MVP after picking up 114 yards on 10 carries and scoring twice . . . a four-year starter for Coach Ed Howell at Sarasota (Fla.) High School . . . rushed for 1,770 yards (7.2 avg.) and scored 26 touchdowns in 1996 . . . had a single-game high 359 yards rushing vs. Venice High School . . . gained 3,258 yards rushing (6.5 avg.) and scored 41 TDs during his prep career . . . runs 4.4 in the 40 . . . undecided major. Renaldo Hill DB, 5-11, 170 Detroit, MI Chadsey High School First-team all-state and all-city selection by both the Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News in 1996 . . . named to the Michigan Dream Team and rated the state's No. 3 prospect by The Detroit News . . . a four-year starter for Coach Charles Spann at Chadsey High School in Detroit . . . had 85 tackles and four interceptions as a senior . . . also broke up 15 passes and recovered two fumbles in '96 . . . caught 30 passes for 423 yards (14.1 avg.) and seven touchdowns as a senior . . . picked off six passes as a junior in '95 . . . twice named to Chadsey's Academic Honor Roll . . . plans to pursue a degree in hotel and restaurant management. Matt Kropf LB, 6-4, 220 Traverse City, MI Traverse City High School USA Today All-America pick in 1996 . . . first-team all-state and all-conference selection as a senior . . . featured on Tom Lemming's Prep Football Report and SuperPrep's All-Midwest Teams . . . named to The Detroit News Dream Team . . . recorded 156 tackles (120 solos, 36 assists), including 15 for losses and seven sacks, in '96 . . . returned two fumbles for touchdowns, both covering 70 yards . . . played for Coach Ken May at Traverse City (Mich.) High School . . . also lettered in both track and basketball . . . tossed a personal best 169 feet in the discus . . . runs 4.6 in the 40 . . . member of the National Honor Society . . . plans to enroll in pre-med curriculum. Matt Mauck QB, 6-3, 220 Jasper, IN Jasper High School Named to Tom Lemming's Prep Football Report and SuperPrep's All-Midwest Teams . . . selected 1996 Southwest Indiana Player of the Year and Region 9 MVP . . . completed 59 of 117 passes (.504) for 940 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior at Jasper (Ind.) High School . . . rushed for 625 yards (8.2 avg.) and nine TDs in '96 . . . accounted for 4,474 yards total offense and 55 touchdowns during his prep career . . . threw for 2,354 yards (148-286, .517) and 27 TDs as a three-year starter for Coach Jerry Brewer . . . gained 2,120 career rushing yards and scored 28 touchdowns . . . helped Jasper High School to a combined record of 40-3 (.930) during his prep career . . . runs 4.6 in the 40 . . . three-sport standout led Jasper to the '96 state baseball title, driving in a playoff-record four runs in the championship game . . . also earned all-sectional and all-regional honors in basketball in '95 . . . listed on '96 academic all-state team with an overall grade-point average of 3.4 . . . plans to enroll in the College of Arts and Letters. Ivory McCoy TE/LB, 6-4, 225 Chicago, IL Simeon High School Earned second-team all-state honors from the Chicago Sun-Times in 1996 . . . a two-time all-city selection . . . a three-year starter for Coach Al Scott at Simeon High School in Chicago . . . recorded 123 tackles, including 20 for losses and 15 sacks, as a senior . . . intercepted six passes in '96 and returned four for touchdowns . . . had eight receptions for 120 yards and two TDs as a tight end in '96 . . . Honor Roll student who earned Simeon's top physics award last year . . . plans to major in computer science. Joel Mesman LB, 6-3, 245 Grand Rapids, MI South Christian High School Named to Tom Lemming's Prep Football Report and SuperPrep's All-Midwest Teams . . . featured on The Detroit News and Athlon Sports Blue Chip Lists . . . a first-team all-state selection as a senior Coach Bob Blacquiere at South Christian High School in Grand Rapids, Mich. . . . a two-time all-conference and all-area pick . . . made 82 tackles (46 solos, 36 assists), including five for losses, in 1996 . . . also caught 12 passes for 156 yards as a tight end . . . a two-time all-conference and all-area choice in track as a discus thrower . . . plans to pursue a degree in engineering. Nick Meyers DE, 6-4, 255 Springfield, OH Springfield North High School Honorable mention all-state pick as a senior . . . earned first-team All-Southwest Ohio Region, all-league, all-district, all-area and all-county honors in 1996 . . . also named league MVP as a senior . . . played for Coach Jim Dimitroff at North High School in Springfield, Ohio . . . nominated to participate in the Ohio North-South All-Star Game . . . had 71 tackles, including 12 for losses and five sacks, in '96 . . . also forced five fumbles and recovered two fumbles . . . posted an average grade of 92 percent as an offensive lineman with 14 pancake blocks . . . played in the same Western Ohio League which produced current Spartans Mike Austin and Brian Stephan . . . plans to pursue a degree in computer science. Shawn Murphy OL, 6-5, 285 Cincinnati, OH Oak Hills High School Named to Tom Lemming's Prep Football Report All-Midwest Team . . . honorable mention all-region choice in 1996 . . . first-team all-conference and second-team all-city selection as a senior . . . played for Coach George Kontsis at Oak Hills High School in Cincinnati, Ohio . . . runs 5.0 in the 40 . . . plans to pursue a degree in business. Demont Smith WR/DB, 5-11, 175 Grand Rapids, MI Ottawa Hills High School First-team all-state selection as a senior . . . a two-time all-city and all-area pick for Coach Jerry Dutcher at Ottawa Hills High School in Grand Rapids, Mich. . . . caught 26 passes for 565 yards (21.7 avg.) in 1996 . . . recorded 116 tackles (84 solos, 32 assists), including nine sacks, as a senior . . . had three interceptions and broke up four passes . . . track regional champion in both the long jump and 4 x 100 relay . . . plans to enroll in the College of Arts and Letters. Josh Smith OL, 6-5, 275 O'Fallon, IL O'Fallon Township High School SuperPrep All-American . . . USA Today honorable mention All-American . . . named to Tom Lemming's Prep Football Report All-Midlands Team and SuperPrep's All-Midwest Team . . . earned first-team all-state, all-area, all-district and all-conference honors as a senior at O'Fallon (Ill.) Township High School . . . consistently graded out as a winner for Coach Gary Bridell, with an average score of 85 percent . . . runs 4.8 in the 40 . . . averages 9.3 points and 7.4 rebounds for O'Fallon Township's basketball team . . . plans to pursue a degree in criminal justice. DeMario Suggs WR/DB, 6-0, 185 Toledo, OH St. John's High School Earned first-team all-city, all-area and all-district honors as a senior . . . second-team all-state selection . . . has been nominated to participate in several postseason games, including the Ohio North-South and Regional All-Star Games, Ohio-Pennsylvania Big 33 all-star game and the Down Under Bowl in Australia . . . rushed for 1,327 yards (7.1 avg.) and scored 15 touchdowns last season . . . had 33 tackles, including a sack, and one interception as a starting defensive back for Coach Fred Beier . . . '96 city league track champion in both the 100 (10.5) and 200 meters (21.7) . . . runs 4.3 in the 40 . . . member of the President's Council and a guest speaker for the DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program . . . plans to pursue a degree in business. T.J. Turner LB, 6-4, 240 Hillsboro, OH Hillsboro High School SuperPrep All-American . . . listed on both Tom Lemming's Prep Football Report and SuperPrep's All-Midwest Teams . . . earned first-team all-state, all-region, all-district and all-league honors as a senior at Hillsboro (Ohio) High School . . . named league MVP after recording 103 tackles, including seven sacks, in just seven games (missed three games with an ankle injury) . . . had three interceptions and recovered six fumbles . . . also caught 39 passes for 757 yards (19.4 avg.) and 14 touchdowns as the starting tight end for Coach Jim Horne . . . runs 4.6 in the 40 . . . plans to pursue a degree in business. Marty Wensel DT, 6-4, 275 Slatington, PA Northern Lehigh High School USA Today honorable mention All-American . . . two-time first-team all-state and all-league selection . . . nominated to play in the Ohio-Pennsylvania Big 33 all-star game . . . a four-year starter for Coach Jim Tkach at Northern Lehigh High School in Slatington, Pa. . . . registered 40 tackles, including two sacks, and batted down four passes in 1996 . . . plans to pursue a degree in criminal justice. 1996 Scholarship Counter Ben Meloche LB, 6-3, 225 Beloeil, Quebec CEGEP Du Vieux Montreal Named to the CEGEP AAA All-Star Team in 1996 . . . recorded 75 tackles, including nine sacks, as a senior for Coach Marc Santerre at CEGEP Du Vieux Montreal . . . helped Vieux Montreal capture the Quebec AAA CEGEP championship in '96 . . . also earned Ontario All-Star Team honors in 1992 and '94 while playing for the St. Bruno Barons. . . undecided