Less than 24 hours before Early Signing Day, where does Michigan State football stand with its 2024 recruiting class?
Well, Michigan State football fans, the month of December is coming to an end very quickly. Christmas and New Year’s are upon us and for college football fans that means bowl season and early signing day. The latter of those two things happens this Wednesday.
Early Signing Day officially will open for those hoping to early enroll at their selected schools. That is becoming a vastly popular option for high school athletes so they can participate in a full spring camp and maximize their opportunity to play next fall.
So, where does MSU sit with its top targets? Let’s discuss.
Without going deeper into where MSU’s class sits currently, let’s first take a look at where we started.
I mentioned briefly in the Austin Clay commitment article that the ground Jonathan Smith and staff have made up since taking over has been nothing short of amazing. As of the time the season ended, MSU was down to seven high school commits and had multiple players entering the transfer portal.
Not only was Smith able to come in and speak with all the current players, he was able to reassure the vision and keep the class we had committed for 2024 to stay with Michigan State. That was no easy task. Smith has convinced four members of the current roster to withdraw from the portal, has landed a commitment from a transfer quarterback, picked up three other transfer portal players, and added to the high school class with more commitments looming.
Let’s first break down who’s committed.
Transfers coming into the program
Starting with the current college players coming in from other programs, this has been an area that Smith said he would explore deeply. So far he wasn’t kidding. At the time of writing this article (late Monday night), MSU has gotten commitments from four transfer players. One I already mentioned being the perceived QB1 next season in Aidan Chiles from Oregon State. Next we have a probably starting linebacker from Wisconsin in Jordan Turner.
Also on Monday night, MSU picked up a commitment from Purdue receiver TJ Sheffield. Last, but certainly not least, we have Oregon State tight end Jack Velling who led all tight ends in college football last year with eight touchdowns and picked up some serious offers when he entered the portal.
It’s only four commits and more could be looming (more on that later) but these four commits are pretty impressive given the state of where the program was when Smith took over. I mentioned Velling having some serious offers upon entering the portal. I know he likes the staff in East Lansing since they were his coaches at Oregon State, however, to get a West Coast kid to move to Michigan is no small feat. Also knowing he had offers from schools like his hometown team, Washington and also Oregon, he could have stayed out west and played major college football at programs preforming at the highest level already. He still chose to come to MSU.
The same argument can be made for Aidan Chiles, as he is the No. 1 ranking transfer quarterback in the country per 247Sports. Smith’s ability to recognize talent has the Spartans rebuilding potentially shortening by the day.
Current high school commits
While the portal pickups are certainly impressive, the work Smith has done with the 2024 recruiting cycle may be even more impressive. When he was hired at the end of November, Michigan State football had just seven high school recruits remaining in its recruiting class. His first task upon arrival was to quickly get a staff in place so he could reach out to the seven remaining recruits and try to sell them to stay committed to MSU and he successfully did so. Then he had to hit the recruiting trail himself and try to land more and boy has he.
The recruiting class is currently up to 17 commits with plenty more potentially looming. Four-star WR Nick Marsh from River Rouge, Michigan, currently headlines the high school class. After Nick, we have 14 three-star recruits. They are as followed: QB Alessio Milivojevic, CBs Justin Denson and Jaylen Thompson, RBs Makhi Frazier and Brandon Tullis, OL prospects Payton Stewart, Rustin Young, Rakeem Johnson, Mercer Luniewski, and Charlton Luniewski, ATHs Keshawn Williams and Andrew Brinson IV, WR Austin Clay, TE Wyatt Hook, EDGE Kekai Burnett, and LB Jadyn Walker.
The 15 players listed above all have some great talent and will be big boosts to the roster here. With all of them seemingly locked in and barring any last minute surprises, that will give us a base of 23 incoming players this year, at minimum. There are, however, more prospects that we may still pick up commitments from here before signing day on Wednesday.
Let’s look at who we potentially still are in the running for.
Potential remaining high school recruits
Again I’ll add the disclaimer, at the time of writing this. Because as fast as everything has moved lately, I can definitely imagine this article going up and another commitment being finalize. So as I’m trying to be as up to the minute as possible on this, please know this could change quickly.
That entire disclaimer aside, at the time of writing this, Michigan State football is trending with a number of recruits they have hosted on visits over the past few weeks that haven’t committed yet. Some of these recruits have said they will announce on signing day, so expect news on them tomorrow. Others may commit on Tuesday before or wait until the later signing day and hold off until February. So there are some question marks still to be answered.
As of today there are six players that have received crystal balls from 247Sports recruiting experts to commit to MSU. On top of those six players, another four players took visits to East Lansing over the past few weeks and have not received official predictions of commitments, however, enjoyed MSU overall.
The remaining prospects that seem on the verge of commitment are: three-star offensive line prospects Rustin Young, Payton Stewart, and Rakeem Johnson, three-star edge rusher Kekai Burnett, three-star defensive back Camren Campbell, and three-star linebacker Brady Pretzlaff.
Pretlaff is a recent Minnesota decommit but hails from Michigan. Young, Stewart, Burnett, and Johnson were all Oregon State commits prior to Jonathan Smith leaving. They all seem really interested in joining him in East Lansing. Campbell is a former Michigan State football commit. He decommitted when Mel Tucker was fired and explored other options however kept up on MSU. After Smith was hired, Campbell was interested in seeing what the new staff had to offer. He was in last weekend on an official visit.
Other prospects that have been targeted are 2024 four-star quarterback Tyler Cherry, 2024 three-star defensive lineman Francis Brewu, and offensive line transfer targets Isaia Glass and Luke Newman.
Cherry is a former Duke commit who recently decommitted after Mike Elko left and accepted the Texas A&M job. MSU and Indiana are the two finalists for Cherry’s services there. Brewu has been committed to Pitt for some time now but the interest in MSU has always been there. Former head coach Mel Tucker and staff tried to get Brewu to come check out East Lansing but was unable to. Smith did get him to come check out campus this past weekend. Reports were that the visit went great and that he has a decision on his hands ahead of Wednesday.
The two offensive line transfer products I mentioned would be portal targets. Glass started as a sophomore for Arizona State and has not been happy there of late. He is looking for a new home. Newman will end up being a grad transfer candidate from Holy Cross. It’s unsure if he will eventually sign. If he does, it would not be until the spring after his graduation.
What the finished class looks like
Overall, I’m pretty confident in the high school class ending right around 19-20 prospects. Which honestly is pretty crazy to think about. Just three weeks ago we sat at seven prospects with doubts all seven of those would stay committed.
I know I’ve said it on this and other articles before, but I can’t understate how great of a job Coach Smith and staff have done so far.
After Early Signing Day ends, Smith will definitely be taking some time and reassessing which high school prospects are out there and waiting until February to sign. Some of those prospects could see offers extended.
I also think the portal class will continue to grow. The four transfers we have now are some top tier talent. I know the offensive line has been a question mark. Glass would certainly help with some of the depth there. That could potentially be the last portal piece for now. Maybe adding others before February would be in the cards.
Getting back some of the young talent MSU has on the offensive line helps as well. Ethan Boyd, Kristian Phillips, and Brandon Baldwin all withdrew their names from the portal. The new offensive line coach, Jim Michalczik, getting the chance to work with them could really aid in their development.
Also, getting young pieces Stanton Ramil and Gavin Broscuious back from injury and healthy will really help as well.
I do think some of the players from Michigan State’s roster this past season will withdraw their names and staying here. Hopefully that will sure up some potential holes we have. Especially on the defensive side of the ball. Some names to watch for that would be Jacoby Windmon, Charles Brantley, Zion Young, and Khris Bogle. Getting these four back would go a long way in stabilizing the defense under new defensive coordinator Joe Rossi.
Thank you all for checking out the recruiting round up. Keep it here with Spartan Shadows for all your recruiting updates. Have a safe and happy holiday, everyone. Go Green.
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