Early Thursday morning, Michigan State received huge news on the recruiting front. As fans prepared to wait for 2017 forward Jaren Jackson to announce his college commitment, news leaked that he had opted to commit to the Spartans over a host of other major offers.
— Paul Biancardi (@PaulBiancardi) September 15, 2016
According to 247Sports, Jackson is a five-star prospect, the No. 8 power forward, and the No. 3 player in the state of Indiana in the 2017 class. He’s listed at 6-foot-10 and 220 pounds. He had offers from Georgetown, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Notre Dame, Purdue, and Xavier, among others.
Most will project Jackson to make a substantial impact in the frontcourt given his size, but his skill set goes far beyond that. He’s a powerful player with a great wingspan who can move well without the ball. Additionally, he’s a solid outside shooter and should be more than good enough to keep defenses honest while playing power forward for the Spartans.
What’s really intriguing about Jackson’s commitment is that he joins what has been an epic haul for Michigan State over the last few years. Jackson will join the nation’s No. 3 recruiting class in 2016 (highlighted by two five-star prospects in Miles Bridges and Josh Langford) and plenty of experience, highlighted by Tum Tum Nairn.
Jackson should fit well with that group. Although fans will have to keep an eye on potential NBA departures from Bridges and Langford, Michigan State could potentially field a 2017-’18 lineup with 2016 four-star Cassius Winston and Langford in the backcourt, Bridges and Jackson on the wing, and 2016 four-star Nick Ward in the frontcourt.
Maybe that doesn’t quite match some of those recent Duke or Kentucky teams, but on paper, that’s an unbelievably talented group. All five would be rated as (at least) four-star prospects, and three would have earned five-star status. Moreover, four of those anticipated starters would have a year of coaching and development under Tom Izzo. It’s hard not to see the team’s potential.
Just imagine having to face that lineup. Even if Ward and Winston don’t hit the ground running as freshmen, having to face a wing group with Bridges, an incoming prospect such as Jackson, and several legitimate depth options would be nightmarish. In particular, trying to score anything on a wing group of Bridges and Jackson would be beyond brutal.
Most importantly, that doesn’t even include all the talent Michigan State is still pursuing in the 2017 cycle. Jackson could very well go down as the team’s top 2017 prospect, but considering that the Spartans are still in on Brian Bowen and Brandon McCoy, the depth and talent on Michigan State’s 2017-’18 roster could be off the charts.
Without exaggerating, Michigan State could seriously start four five-stars.
Talk about an embarrassment of riches.
There’s still a lot of things that will develop between now and when Jackson is slated to arrive on Michigan State’s campus, but if the team’s current roster and Jackson’s ratings are any indication, this could be the beginning of quite a run in East Lansing.