EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan State's recruiting class is relatively small.
Mark Dantonio insisted that's not a bad thing.
"I don't get too concerned about the size of the class as much as the quality of the class," Dantonio said after the Spartans received 18 national letters of intent Wednesday. "A lot of these guys were targeted early on and have remained consistent throughout the process.
"People tested the waters to see how firm they were in their commitments, and they stayed firm."
Michigan State is soft at some key positions because three standouts are skipping their senior seasons for the NFL draft.
Running back Le'Veon Bell, tight end Dion Sims and defensive end William Gholston left voids that became opportunities for others, including some incoming prospects.
The class includes three running backs: Michigan's Gerald Holmes, Pennsylvania's Delton Williams and Wisconsin's R.J. Shelton.
"It's a position that can be played by a freshman," Dantonio said. "I think all three of these guys physically are very gifted."
The only tight end signed was Dylan Chmura of Waukesha, Wis. Chmura's father, Mark, was a three-time Pro Bowl tight end for the Green Bay Packers from 1993-99.
"There's a need at that position, so he's going to have opportunities," Dantonio said. "He's a confident young man, and he has a great background, with what he's been exposed to at the high school level or the fact that his father played that position at high level."
Chicago's Demetrius Cooper seems to have the best shot to play as a freshman at defensive end.
Michigan State kicker Dan Conroy was a third-year starter last season as a senior, creating an opportunity next season for high touted Michael Geiger from Ohio.
"He'll be a guy that'll compete for the position right off the bat," Dantonio said.