TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. – On Wednesday night, Traverse City (Mich.) West junior offensive tackle Thiyo Lukusa, who is rated as the state’s No. 9 prospect on 247sports.com, committed to Michigan State. Lukusa chose the Spartans over a handful of offers including Auburn, Ohio State and Michigan.
“I’d like to start this off by saying thank you to all the colleges that have spent time watching my film and flying to my school and just recruiting me in general,” Lukusa shared in a message on Twitter. “It’s been full of ups and downs, but I was blessed to have the opportunity. I’m also blessed to say that after talking with my mother and all my family who have supported me through this process that I am verbally committed to Michigan State University. I’m officially part of the Spartan family and am a Spartan Dawg.”
Growing up in the Great Lakes State, Lukusa received a stiff press from both Michigan and Michigan State. At one time, Lukusa was widely believed to be a lean to the Michigan Wolverines under then-head coach Brady Hoke.
In fact, Lukusa nearly committed to the Maize and Blue during an official visit to watch the basketball team play at the Crisler Center last February. Instead of closing his recruitment then, Lukusa instead chose to remain uncommitted and better evaluate his options.
In the meantime, programs across the country continued to pursue the 6’5”, 300-pound offensive lineman as Lukusa hauled in offers from Arkansas, Georgia and Auburn. Despite a strong charge from many traditional Southern power programs, Michigan State continued to recruit Lukusa as strongly as any school.
The Spartans’ recruiting efforts paid off as Lukusa became the 11th commitment in Michigan State’s 2016 recruiting class, bumping MSU up to the No. 2 class in the Big Ten and 10th in the country.
Lukusa’s commitment also extends what has been an exciting week for the Michigan State program. The Spartans have reeled in four commitments in two days, starting with cornerback Austin Andrews and linebacker Jonah Morris on Tuesday and finishing with safety Demetric Vance and offensive tackle Thiyo Lukusa on Wednesday.
In high school, Lukusa plays offensive tackle for a talented Traverse City West team that has three Division One caliber offensive linemen. Lukusa, however, has the versatility and ability to play either tackle or guard at the next level. On tape, Lukusa shows an ability to fire quickly off the line while maintaining good leverage as he engages defensive lineman. Lukusa is able to open up holes for West running backs and is strong at the point of attack. For a 300-pounder, Lukusa moves very well and displays quick feet as he progresses to the second level. These quick feet also come in handy during pass protection. With long arms to compliment his size at 6-5, Lukusa is able to keep crashing linemen away from the pocket and collapses on top of defensive ends that lose their footing.
In college, Lukusa could play a multitude of positions. Michigan State has a track record of developing its players, and offensive line coach Mark Staten will have a talented prospect to work with in Lukusa. Staten was the secondary coach recruiting Lukusa to MSU, with linebacker coach Mark Tressel manning the job according to 247sports.