Michigan State football has locked in numerous five-star official visits with the 2023 class and it feels like momentum is on Mel Tucker’s side.
Three years ago, it felt like Michigan State football was a dying program.
Mark Dantonio was coming off back-to-back disappointing seasons and he just dubbed a Pinstripe Bowl win over Wake Forest a “win program” which was concerning. A coach who had won multiple Big Ten titles, a Rose Bowl, a Cotton Bowl, and made the College Football Playoff was seemingly satisfied with a 7-6 season with a Pinstripe Bowl win.
Months later, Dantonio retired after signing another so-so recruiting class and it left the program in a tough place: finding an adequate replacement after signing day with zero commitments in the following class.
The athletic department interviewed Mel Tucker who seemed to be a top option and he said he would be staying at Colorado instead and Luke Fickell felt like the top candidate all along. All signs were pointing to him agreeing to become the Spartans’ next coach, but he decided to stay at Cincinnati. Michigan State circled back with Tucker and made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.
Rival fans uttered the phrases “desperate” and “overpaid” to describe the deal Michigan State struck with Tucker and laughed at the whole process because it felt like a once-elite program was struggling to stay relevant.
Tucker has quickly proven the doubters wrong with a 2-5 season followed by the 11-2 campaign and Peach Bowl win in 2021.
Along with the on-field success, Tucker has been able to recruit at a high level and it’s only getting more impressive. Dantonio loved to settle for three-star prospects who he could mold into All-Big Ten players every so often, but that was happening less and less in his later years. Tucker, on the other hand, has the golden touch. He is recruiting four and five-star prospects and even landing more in one class than MSU had in three years.
The 2021 class was Tucker’s first and it was mostly done over Zoom because of COVID-19 restrictions and it was ranked 46th. The 2022 class was much better, ranking 23rd nationally, headlined by guys like Katin Houser, Alex VanSumeren, Dillon Tatum, Germie Bernard, Antonio Gates Jr., and Jaden Mangham.
Don’t look now, but the 2023 class is ranked in the top 20 and it has barely even gotten started. It’s currently ranked No. 16 and it has six pledges – four from four-star prospects.
And now that official visit season is almost upon us, Tucker is locking in visits with some of the nation’s best uncommitted players. In fact, he has a few five-stars ready to make the trip to East Lansing in early June which is something that never happened in the Dantonio era.
David Hicks took an unofficial for the spring game and he’ll be back on June 3 for an official with fellow five-stars Vic Burley and Jayden Wayne. All three are five-star defensive linemen and it’s clear that Brandon Jordan and Marco Coleman are having an immediate impact on recruiting.
Along with those guys, Michigan State will host a number of four-star prospects on the weekend of June 3 and it might top the spring game for the most important recruiting weekend in school history.
Tucker has revived the program and it looks to be on the verge of reaching new heights.