Just a few weeks ago, Jonathan Smith was hired to be the new Michigan State football coach. He had a small recruiting class and had to hit the ground running in order to assemble a respectable Big Ten-level class by signing day.
Immediately, on Dec. 1, Smith offered 6-foot-3, 230-pound linebacker Brady Pretzlaff from Gaylord, Mich. Pretzlaff at the time was committed to Minnesota and only had three other scholarship offers from the likes of Illinois, Stanford, and Central Michigan.
Smith's hastily scouting of in-state recruits would soon pay dividends as the Michigan State staff would blow it out of the park on Pretzlaff's official visit. In turn, Pretzlaff would flip to the Spartans on signing day.
Pretzlaff had a very productive senior season as he would be a first-team all-state player. His stat line includes 126 tackles, eight sacks, 31 tackles for loss, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. His impressive senior season also came with an extra star, as On3 has Pretzlaff rated as a four-star prospect and the 221st-ranked player in the nation.
It's extremely hard to see how Pretzlaff had so few offers. He is an absolute baller. His senior tape shows a high-motor linebacker with the physicality to compete in the Big Ten. Pretzlaff moves well for a linebacker his size and he is comfortable dropping back into coverage or getting downhill as a blitzer.
Adding Pretzlaff to the mix is a huge get for Smith and making in-state prospects a priority is something we should see more of in the future. It's hard to imagine how Mel Tucker's staff ignored Pretzlaff and was okay with letting him leave the state. It may take some time for Pretzlaff to adjust to the college game coming from a smaller high school, but nonetheless, he is a solid prospect will all the tools needed to succeed at Michigan State.
The Spartans have a great recent track record of talented linebackers from Max and Riley Bullough, Joe Bachie, Darien Harris, Denicos Allen, Antjuan Simmons and many more. Pretzlaff has a chance to join this list and become another great Spartan linebacker.