September 6, 2013

PA's No. 1 player ready to visit MSU

The position of safety has played a key role in Michigan State's rise as an elite defense.

Trenton Robinson (Philadelphia Eagles) set the standard for excellence in the back row during an All-Big Ten career. Senior Isaiah Lewis has raised the bar even higher during his three years as a starter for the Big Ten's No. 1 defense.

Adding Monroeville (PA) Gateway's Montae Nicholson in the Class of 2014 would help Michigan State ensure its status as one of the top defensive backfields in college football long after All-Big Ten performers like Lewis and Darqueze Dennard join the large fraternity of Mark Dantonio-coached DBs in the NFL.

"He is probably the most gifted DB, I've coached or we've played against said Smith," said Gateway secondary coach Don Smith, who has seen dozens of NFL corners and safeties come up through the prep ranks in the Pittsburgh area during his more than three decades as a high school coach. "That's saying a lot because I have 11 kids that are playing D-1. But Montae is 6-foot-3. He is 210 pounds, and he runs at 10.8 in the 100, a 4.45 40, with a 3.98 shuttle.

"Mont's size, athletic ability, and football IQ allows him to do whatever we ask him to in our defense. The range and flexibility that he brings to our team is unbelievable. He is outstanding in coverage, with great hip flexibility. He's also physical, which makes him an integral part of our run defense. He makes plays in the A, B, and C gaps. He is also an asset in pass rush with the freedom to cut it loose based on what he sees. You might see him coming on a corner blitz, but then he'll roll back and cover a corner route. No one is running past him."



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