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Michigan State Football: 2 Spartans make jump to composite 4-stars

We love a good rankings bump.

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Michigan State football
© Nick King/Lansing State Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

Jonathan Smith’s class keeps getting better and better. Two more Michigan State football signees are 247Sports Composite four-stars.

On Monday, the 247Sports Composite rankings were updated, and it gave two more Michigan State football signees their fourth star. Rustin Young and Brady Pretzlaff both received enough of a rankings boost to push them to four-star status.

Both were late additions to the class under Jonathan Smith, with Young following Smith from Oregon State and Pretzlaff being a dramatic flip when Smith made a push that included hiring primary recruiter Joe Rossi as the new MSU Defensive Coordinator.

Rustin Young is finally getting properly rated by all services

I know it is not shocking to see me writing on Rustin Young again. He is a player I’m really high on. Evidentially, with him being a composite four-star, it’s for good reason. Young is a tackle from Hawaii and is a player that 247Sports’ ranking system has always been really high on. The St. Louis (Hawaii) High School product has been flirting with being a top-200 prospect since the beginning of the season, and was the crown jewel for Smith’s 2024 class at Oregon State.

The blocker of the future for Aidan Chiles wound up following Smith to East Lansing, as he expressed interest nearly immediately after Smith left Corvallis. After brief considerations to Arizona State, Young chose Michigan State football and signed in December. Young has gone up massively since then, as his practice for the Polynesian Bowl and other prospect showcases have made the tackle jump from No. 661 in the composite a few weeks ago to No. 344.

Young is on the slightly smaller end for a tackle, and how the staff utilizes the similarly-sized Holy Cross transfer Luke Newman could be a good indicator for how we will see Young on the field in the future. I mention this as 247Sports lists Young at tackle, and On3 lists Young at interior offensive line.

Brady Pretzlaff was a dramatic recruiting victory, and the hype has spread to his ratings

Brady Pretzlaff is another player I have wrote on multiple times in the last month. The Gaylord (Mich.) product has been a tackling machine in his final two seasons of high school, with a combined 241 tackles. He is a playmaker, and the recruiting services are correcting their earlier mistakes of not ranking him higher. Pretzlaff is a player that Spartan fans will love. He aims for the stars, and makes his goals to work towards.

In case you have missed it, he made a listing of his goals as high school freshman and checked off each as he accomplished it. This list was revealed by his mother, Molly, last month:

Even late last month, well after enrolling at Michigan State, Pretzlaff was No. 678 nationally. Now, he has cracked into the top 500, ranking at No. 468. Better late than never, I guess. On3 even lists Pretzlaff as a top-10 linebacker in the class.

Despite being an in-state product, Pretzlaff was no guarantee for Michigan State football. He committed to Minnesota in January of 2023, and Mel Tucker and the old staff did not make a push for him. Upon landing in East Lansing, Jonathan Smith and the scouting staff saw the talent in their new home state and made a tremendous push for them. Pretzlaff started quietly trending towards Michigan State football, but all that quietness turned to a roar late in the cycle. Smith hired in Minnesota defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Joe Rossi, who, in addition to those roles, was the primary recruiter for his coached position. Naturally, he was the main recruiter for Pretzlaff. A week before early signing day, the linebacker decommitted from Minnesota. Then, he picked Michigan State over Stanford and a PWO offer from Michigan.

As a side note, Michigan offering a composite four-star a preferred walk-on spot is downright insulting, and I hope Pretzlaff remembers that and has a chip on his shoulder for the rivalry game this season.

The future is bright for Michigan State football

Smith brought together an amazing class for the Spartans in this cycle. Objectively, this class is quite good, and it turns into downright amazing when you factor in that Smith and the staff threw the class together in three weeks.

The staff has remained busy recently, as they have added three more recruits to sign very soon, along with potentially Jadyn Walker, a commit under Mel Tucker. I say potentially, as Walker has received six crystal balls to USC in the last week.

With a full cycle and field to work with, I expect even bigger things out of Smith and the staff next season. This class originally was highlighted with Nick Marsh and Aidan Chiles, but we are slowly adding enough four stars that it will be hard to keep track of them all. Pretzlaff and Young are now composite four-stars, Payton Stewart is a four-star at On3, and Jack Velling is a four-star transfer at 247Sports.

Safe to say, Alan Haller is a head coach hiring guru. In a recent press conference following Tom Izzo’s 700th win, the basketball head coach kept mentioning how bright the future is for the university. He stated this and preceded to list all of the recent Haller hires, and I have to agree.

The program and all of our sports teams are on the rise.

Michigan State Media and Information Management Class of '22. Emmett covers primarily football, recruiting, and basketball for Spartan Shadows. He has also written for Spartan Avenue, Basic Blues, and Hail WV.

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