National signing day has come and gone, which means we can begin to fully evaluate the recruiting haul each team collected. This week on the Big Ten blog, we’re looking at which player or position group has the potential to make an instant impact for each team in 2017.
Up next: Michigan State
Player: TE Matt Dotson
Archbishop Moeller High School in Cincinnati has been sending talented, college-ready players to schools throughout the Midwest for several decades. Tight end Matt Dotson is next in that long line.
Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio said he expects the 6-foot-5 pass-catcher to hit 250 pounds on the scale before he gets to East Lansing this summer. Dotson, who was ranked as one of the top 20 players in Ohio this past fall, might need time to be a physical force in college but he has the skills to be a threat in the passing game next year.
“I think Matt is a guy that’s going to play very early in his career,” Dantonio told reporters Wednesday. “He’s got toughness, can run and catch. A big target and has a great deal of enthusiasm that goes along with it.”
The Spartans’ depth chart at tight end provides Dotson with a better chance to get on the field as a true freshman -- a rarity at Michigan State until this past year. Josiah Price, the program’s all-time leader in tight end touchdowns, and Jamal Lyles are both out of eligibility. That leaves sophomore Matt Sokol as the only returning tight end who made a catch last season. Early enrollee Jack Camper will have a head start on Dotson to take some of those snaps, but the Moeller graduate’s ability to use his big frame to his advantage may end up helping him have an early impact.