Michigan State has landed its biggest defensive commitment in the Mark Dantonio era in William Gholston (Detroit/Southeastern). This is a big get for the Spartans because they have kept the Under Armour All-American close to home. Gholston picked the Spartans over a list that included Ohio State and Michigan among other national powers.
What the Spartans get is a tall and physically good-looking athlete. He will give the defense some options as he is a high school linebacker, but we can see the Spartans predominately using Gholston as a defensive end. With his size potential and ability to run, he could be a very tough defender from the end spot. He uses his hands and long reach to take on blockers, and can be a tough player to block versus the run or pass. His athleticism could also give the Spartans some versatility to move him from end to linebacker at times to get favorable matchups, especially as a pass-rusher. With his ability to beat the opposition in so many different ways, we are fairly confident Gholston will contribute as a freshman at Michigan State.
The fact that Gholston -- the cousin of former Ohio State standout Vernon Gholston -- has landed at Michigan State is not a huge surprise, but the timing is a bit of a surprise, because it looked like he was going to check out some of his options. Recently, Gholston created some buzz by attending a friend's prom in a green and white tux and Michigan State hat. He said he just wanted to match, but now it looks as if he might have slyly been letting everyone know what was coming. Whether he knew or not when he wore that outfit matters little to Spartans fans, because the bottom line is they just landed one of their biggest recruits in recent years.
Gholston committing can definitely provide the foundation for what can be Michigan State's biggest class yet under Dantonio. Landing a commitment from an ESPNU 150 Watch List prospect of Gholston's caliber can lead to a domino effect of bringing in other top prospects. I think that could be the case in East Lansing.
As far as the Big Ten, this makes a major statement. The Spartans have landed some big-name recruits on offense, but Gholston is the first real marquee defensive prospect Dantonio has lured in. Any time you can steal some headlines from Michigan, Penn State and Ohio State, it's good for the program.
Craig Haubert is the recruiting coordinator for Scouts Inc. and has more than a decade of coaching experience.