When Mel Tucker was hired to lead Michigan State football, the one sure thing was that he was an impressive recruiter with connections across the country.
Tucker spent time coaching under Nick Saban (at MSU and Alabama) as well as at Georgia and built up quite the resume as an assistant and he helped land some of the better recruits at both SEC programs. He also coached the heck out of defenses at the collegiate level.
The former Michigan State assistant under Saban turned LSU and Ohio State assistant turned NFL coach turned Alabama and Georgia defensive coach turned Colorado head coach has made his rounds but he looks to have landed at the perfect spot for him — back where it all started. He’s looking comfortable in East Lansing and his recruiting is starting to impress.
With the dead period being enforced essentially since he took over at Michigan State, Tucker was forced to build relationships with recruits over the phone and that’s not always going to work.
Tucker finished with a decent first recruiting class in 2021 but nothing to write home about. It was still impressive given that he wasn’t able to meet with any of these recruits in person and he took over for Mark Dantonio when the 2021 class had zero commitments.
He also used his recruiting chops to pick up 15 key transfers who will likely have a major impact on the 2021 season and have improved the expectations.
While the 2022 class is starting to take shape, I think we can really judge Tucker on the 2023 class as a majority of the top 500 recruits in this cycle were already committed when the dead period was lifted. But he’s still making some noise.
Michigan State football’s 2022 class rising in the ranks
On Wednesday, Michigan State landed three-star offensive tackle Braden Miller over the likes of Michigan, Iowa State, Miami, Tennessee, Stanford, Oklahoma State, Arizona State, and Utah, making him the second pledge in a week with an impressive offer sheet.
During his official visit last weekend, three-star Georgia-based linebacker Quavian Carter picked Michigan State over Clemson, Michigan, Florida State, Ole Miss, Penn State, and Tennessee.
After these two commitments, Michigan State has risen to No. 26 in the 2022 class rankings according to 247Sports, just four spots behind Michigan (No. 22) with the same number of commitments (7). The Spartans are one spot ahead of North Carolina which has four four-star commits and just one spot behind Florida.
And this class is just getting started.
While I think the Spartans finish in the 30-40 range in the 2022 cycle, this just goes to show that Tucker has the recruiting prowess to succeed in East Lansing. His 2023 class could be in that top-25 range if he continues this upward trend.