Michigan State football: Jonathan Smith is building the roster at record pace

Nov 28, 2023; East Lansing, Michigan, USA; Michigan State Spartans football head coach Jonathan
Nov 28, 2023; East Lansing, Michigan, USA; Michigan State Spartans football head coach Jonathan / Dale Young-USA TODAY Sports

When Jonathan Smith was hired as the next Michigan State football coach, replacing Mel Tucker, the 2024 recruiting class sat at just a handful of commits. On top of that, the Spartans were losing a plethora of key players, including starters, to the transfer portal.

It felt like the 2024 season was about to be a nightmare. I mean, would the Spartans even be able to fill out a roster? They didn't even have a quarterback.

Fast forward a few weeks and Smith has grown the 2024 recruiting class to 18 (potentially 19 with Brady Pretzlaff committing on Wednesday) commits as well as five more transfers who are likely to slide into starting roles immediately.

Aidan Chiles has become the new QB1 as the former No. 1 transfer quarterback, TJ Sheffield should be a starting receiver after a solid career at Purdue, Jack Velling is a future NFL tight end, and Jordan Turner is going to get a look as the starting linebacker.

On top of the transfers, Smith convinced Nick Marsh to stick with the Spartans as well as Jaylen Thompson and he landed some top targets of his own like Rustin Young and Kekai Burnett.

And he turned an empty quarterback room into a three-man show with Chiles leading the way for Alessio Milivojevic and Ryland Jessee.

As if these 23-24 new additions by Early Signing Day aren't enough, Smith has made it a priority to recruit guys on the roster to remain in East Lansing. Budding stars like Nathan Carter, Antonio Gates Jr., Brennan Parachek, Bai Jobe, Jordan Hall, Staton Ramil, Andrew Depaepe, Jalen Thompson, Chance Rucker, Dillon Tatum, Darius Snow, Jaren Mangham, and Ethan Boyd all decided to stick with the new head coach and give him a chance.

The roster building has been impressive early on, and he's only had a few weeks to do it. Imagine what he could do with an entire offseason.

Early on, Michigan State is getting some solid returns from Smith and it's not wild to expect a bowl berth, at the very least, in 2024.