Over the weekend, as we all know, Michigan State football lost out on another four-star recruit with Xadavien Sims “committing” to Oregon. I use the term “commit” loosely because in this new era of crootin’, nothing is set in stone until kickoff of Week 1.
Whether it’s a better NIL deal (Kee’yon Stewart/Keon Coleman), proximity to home (Montana Lemonius-Craig), playing with old teammates (some kid eventually), every school will have a player decommit before stepping foot on campus.
Just search “decommit from” into Twitter and you’ll get a hundred stories of 16-year-olds changing their mind.
A lot of us find it absurd that we must pick a career path at age 20. We’re asking 16-17, maybe even some 15-year-olds to do the same. Picking a school to go to can be just as beneficial or detrimental in getting to the NFL as is it is for a regular student trying to pick a school for a degree. It just seems like it happens to Michigan State every week because the media loves to kick this program while it’s already down and having three commits right now while the rest of the Big Ten is busy having top-10 classes can drive fans nuts.
But let’s take a deeper look.
Michigan State football fans need to pump the panic brakes
Mel Tucker’s class of 2022 had 23 total commits consisting of five four-stars and 18 three-stars for an average rating of 3.22, good for 23rd in the nation and fifth in the Big Ten.
On this day in 2021, Michigan State had five committed recruits, all three-stars, so the class of 2024 is already ahead, with four-star Jaylen Thompson committing on Dec. 27. By the end of June, the Spartans added six more recruits including four-star and program savior Katin Houser. The month of July saw Tucker grab five more players, including four-star Alex VanSumeren. Three of the five four-star recruits committed later than July.
Not enough for you? Let’s look at the class of 2023, widely considered one of the best classes in Spartan recruiting history. Yes, there were only 16 total recruits, but the average of 3.44 stars per recruit (seven four-stars and nine three-stars) was good for third the Big Ten and 18th in the nation. On this day last year, Michigan State had three commits, including two four-stars. From there, the Spartans picked up two commits in June, two in July, and two in August.
A whopping six recruits committed in December of 2022 including top JUCO offensive lineman Keyshawn Blackstock.
Again, maybe I’m just blinded by my own fandom and like to see the glass as half full, but I really don’t get what all the panic around the program is all about. I understand that recruiting is important and if you recruit well, there’s about a 50/50 shot it translates into a College Football Playoff berth. For every Alabama/Georgia, there’s a Texas A&M or pretty much any Power Five Florida school.
Do you think Kyle Wittingham tells the Utah Utes that they shouldn’t win their conference because they finish no higher than third in recruiting in the Pac-12? No, he knows it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog then goes out and wins back-to-back Pac-12 titles.
There are roughly 324 days until next year’s Michigan State spring game where we as fans actually get to see these recruits on campus for the first time and at least 837 days until anyone in the 2024 recruiting class plays a meaningful snap of football outside of a select few freshmen who will see the field.
I’ll worry about the class of 2024 in 2024. Right now, I look at who is on the roster and the more I review it, the more optimism I have. Barring injury, this group has a lot of talent and experience that can translate into wins in 2023.