Michigan State made a couple of moves in the Class of 2017 this week and the biggest was finding their name on the list of Malik Williams top eight schools, which he released on Twitter on July 25.
The four-star big man from Fort Wayne, Indiana has plenty of options if he wants to stay close to home. Four Big Ten schools made his top eight, including Michigan State, Indiana, Iowa and Purdue. Georgetown, Louisville, North Carolina State and UCLA make up the rest of the top eight. Illinois and Maryland also offered Williams, but they didn't survive the first cut.
247Sports ranks the 7-foot, 200-pound Williams as the 32nd-best player in the Class of 2017, including the third center. The Spartans were the favorites on 247Sports' Crystal Ball earlier this month, but the current projections have Louisville as 71 percent favorites to land Williams, while Michigan State is at 29 percent.
Michigan State could use a player of Williams stature, as he would immediately become the tallest player on the roster. The departures of Matt Costello, Deyonta Davis, Colby Wollenman, Javon Bess and Marvin Clark Jr. have left the Spartans relatively undersized. The 6'9" Gavin Schilling and 6'8" Ben Carter will be seniors in 2016-17, leaving current freshman 6'8", 230-pound Nick Ward as the largest player on the roster for 2017-18.
The Spartans also extended an offer to Isaiah Livers on July 23. The 6'8", 205-pound Livers is a four-star forward on 247Sports, listed as the 120th-ranked player in the nation, including the 24th-best power forward and second-best player in Michigan. Livers, who plays AAU ball with the Chicago Meanstreets, is ranked even higher on the ESPN 100 for 2017, listed as 69th overall and 10th at his position.
Livers averaged 14 points, 10.4 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game as a junior at Kalamazoo Central.
Michigan wasn't far behind in offering the in-state player, as John Beilein and the Wolverines offered Livers on July 25. The Spartans are currently listed as 100 percent favorites on the Crystal Ball, receiving all five of the predictions. Livers also has Big Ten offers from Maryland, Michigan and Minnesota, while Boston College, Butler, California, Creighton, DePaul, Notre Dame, VCU and Xavier have also offered.
Livers told Justin Dacey of Michigan Live that his top five schools are Butler, California, Michigan, Michigan State and Minnesota.
"I had an idea (the offer) was coming, but I wasn't sure," Livers told Dacey. "I like what Izzo has created at Michigan State. He's the type of coach who not only teaches you about basketball, but also how to be a man in life."
The Spartans have yet to receive a commitment for 2017, but there is plenty of positive buzz out there. If they can land one of their top targets, they should have the opportunity to put together another huge class. A big Class of 2017 could make for a special couple of years in East Lansing, as the Class of 2016 has four top-40 recruits in Ward, Cassius Winston, Miles Bridges, Josh Langford.