Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio has built a solid pipeline at Cincinnati Moeller from his days as coach of the Cincinnati Bearcats. He used that foundation to help snag another top talent from Moeller, earning a commitment from four-star receiver Monty Madaris on Sunday night.
“It was big playing in the Big Ten,” said Madaris, who picked the Spartans over Cincinnati and Kentucky. “I’ve been to the campus twice. I like the coaches and everything. I love the campus and academic plan.
“I know a couple teammates up there from southwest Ohio.”
In all, eight players on the Spartans’ 2011 roster hail from southwest Ohio near Cincinnati or the Miami Valley. Rising redshirt sophomore Marcus Rush is from Moeller, and 2010 All-American Greg Jones also played his high school football at Moeller.
Madaris made a second visit to Michigan State on Jan. 21 to watch the Spartans’ men’s basketball team defeat Purdue. It was the first game of any kind Madaris saw at Michigan State.
“I saw the atmosphere during the game,” Madaris said. “I liked it a lot. They have a very good fan base. They get into it.”
Madaris, at 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds, could see the field early with the Spartans losing five receivers including their top three wideouts in B.J. Cunningham, Keshawn Martin and Keith Nichol.
“They’re saying I can play inside or outside receiver because of the skills I possess,” he said.
Madaris, ranked No. 13 in Ohio, was arguably the state’s top playmaker at receiver this season. As Moeller’s top receiver, Madaris hauled in 56 balls for 1,137 yards, an average of more than 20 yards per catch. He also caught 16 touchdowns, meaning he caught two touchdowns for every seven passes he caught.
Never big on all the attention he has received throughout the recruiting process, Madaris said it’s both exciting and a relief to have a decision made.
“It’s a relief because I don’t have to talk to so many reporters, and I got the decision off my back,” Madaris said. “It’s exciting because I know I’m going to college. I can prepare for it now and worry about my academics more.”