When Alan Haller announced the hiring of Jonathan Smith as the next Michigan State football coach, replacing Mel Tucker, I was truly hesitant to buy in.
It's not that I didn't believe that Smith was a good coach, but I was worried that he didn't know the Midwest well enough and he wasn't a good enough recruiter to lead Michigan State into a new era by rebuilding that roster in a hurry.
Through a month of him at head coach, I can admit that I was wrong. I'm buying all the stock in Smith before it's too late.
And here's why,
For one, he's proven to be an excellent recruiter. He's not going to win any blue-chip recruitments right away (although you could argue Aidan Chiles was just that), but he's going to get his guys and recruits seem to like him and buy into him. He's already flipped a couple of four-stars and he improved Michigan State's 2024 class from the 90-range all the way up to No. 38 by Early Signing Day. He can recruit and so can his staff. He's also working hard in the portal.
Oh, and that's not even mentioning the fact that he kept Nick Marsh committed which is a massive recruiting win in its own right.
On top of that, he's a great evaluator of talent. He gets the guys he feels will fit his system and he's a solid closer. He's not going to put his eggs in a million baskets and hope to be considered but rather he goes hard after guys he truly wants and thinks will fit. He's proven during his time at Oregon State that he can evaluate talent.
As if that all isn't enough, he is making the Midwest a priority already. He's landed a couple of major targets in the Midwest and he retained Courtney Hawkins who will help with the area.
Lastly, he's getting guys to buy in. He convinced some big names to withdraw from the portal such as Derrick Harmon, Geno VanDeMark, Ethan Boyd, Jaron Glover, Charles Brantley, and Brandon Baldwin and all signs are pointing to Jacoby Windmon returning as well.
This team is coming together nicely and it's only been a month.
If this doesn't convince you to buy stock in Smith, I don't know what will.