Michigan state football wins and rookies are taking notice
There is perhaps no better recruiting tool than a three-hour TV spot, with precise 60-yard touchdown passes, a dazzling 94-yard touchdown run and another win. Six in a row for the Spartans.
Who wouldn’t want to be part of the Michigan state offensive right now? How many frustrated receivers in other college programs can see themselves on the other end of Payton Thorne’s passes next season? How many high school students are intrigued by the excitement and energy of the MSU program?
The Spartans win and do it with courage and style. And that has an impact on how rookies perceive Mel Tucker’s program.
âOh that has changed, because now I see it,â said Belleville junior Jeremiah Caldwell, a top three-star defensive rookie in 2023, who is also considering Tennessee and Toledo. “Like, now everything they told me in the offseason, it all came true.
“It pushed them to the top (on my list of schools).”
For a college football coach trying to rebuild a program, there is often no easier year to recruit than Year 1. You are selling a dream, a vision. And there is no evidence to the contrary yet.
The only way to improve in Year 2 is if this vision is already happening. Welcome to East Lansing, where MSU’s 6-0 football team is a traveling billboard for rookies. Proof that the sales pitch was not BS.
MSU coaches have told Caldwell they will be in the top 25 this season. They told him the defense was going to show how hard they worked. Caldwell saw it live at Spartan Stadium against Nebraska.
“Sometimes what the coaches tell you, they say a word to you, then when you go to the games on Saturday you can see them play, but you don’t see the same words they said to you,” Caldwell said. . “It’s important that the State of Michigan really showed the work ethic that they all have together.”
Detroit Cass Tech junior Jalen thompson, a four-star defensive line prospect in the class of ’23, echoed that sentiment. He said MSU has been on his mind since he received the scholarship offer last February. He became even more interested in the Spartans when his former high school coach Thomas Wilcher joined the MSU staff this summer.
Thompson paid near the MSU defensive line, which leads the Big Ten with 23 sacks, fifth nationally. He wants to go somewhere where he will be developed to become an NFL player.
Seeing the plan fall into place so quickly only increased the appeal.
âIt’s so helpful, because then I know they don’t just talk about it. They’ll take care of it, âsaid Thompson, who also looks at Michigan, Penn State, Notre Dame, Georgia, Missouri and Kentucky.
Ditto for Clarkston junior Cole dellinger, a four-star offensive lineman who also contemplates Michigan, LSU, Ole Miss and Pitt.
âTheir 6-0 record really helps me make up my mind,â Dellinger said. âIt shows that people buy into Coach Tucker’s ideas. They love him, what kind of a coach he is. Ditto for Coach Kap (Chris Kapilovic), the offensive line coach. He does a great job, they all love him. It shows what kind of environment they are creating there.
All but one of MSU’s still-in-training 2022 members – currently 19 in depth and ranked No. 17 nationally by 247sports, with five four-star prospects – have signed up ahead of the season. They embraced Tucker’s culture and vision, without proof of their victory.
But the most recent to join, the four-star athlete Dillon tatum from West Bloomfield, joined the class on September 29, shortly after the Spartans’ victory over Nebraska took them to 4-0. He loved MSU heading into the quick start to this season, including how coaches planned to use him as a real nickel defensive back in some packages and a safety in others. But he also said watching what the coaches were selling him playing on the pitch confirmed what he thought.
For the young recruits, this season is quite an impression. MSU reached out to a sophomore this week Jaydon wright, a Bishop McNamara running back in Kankakee, Illinois, who already has offers from Syracuse and Florida Atlantic. Wright, 15, whose father played college football and whose football memories date back to the age of 2.5, he said, is paying close attention. He said he remembered the Spartans as a winning program, when he was 9, and liked the number of Illinois players playing on the team, including Thorne and Reed.
âIt’s a phenomenal start,â said Wright.
MSU recruiting analyst Nathan Applebaum told Wright this week that he plans to assess him and show his film to the coaching staff and that they want to bring him to a game. But there was a problem:
âHe said right now that it was a little crazy, because since they started winning everyone has signed up for a visit to go to the games and they are a little excited right now. Wright said.
A problem that any college football program would love to have.
Contact Graham Couch at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Graham_Couch.