Jonathan Smith's Success Before and After Arriving at Michigan State on Recruiting Trail Proves He Can Compete

It is still early in his tenure, but Coach Jonathan Smith and the Spartans' recent success, combined with his previous success at Oregon State, showed that Michigan State football can compete with the best.
Michigan State head coach Jonathan Smith looks on during the Spring Showcase on Saturday, April 20, 2024, at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing.
Michigan State head coach Jonathan Smith looks on during the Spring Showcase on Saturday, April 20, 2024, at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing. / Nick King/Lansing State Journal / USA

Michigan State and Coach Jonathan Smith are in one of the toughest leagues in the country. The Big Ten may be a top-heavy division, but it still boasts some of the best football programs in the country. Coach Smith and the Spartans took some bumps and bruises early this offseason. However, they recovered nicely. After losing 20 scholarship players to the transfer portal, Coach Smith and his coaching staff gradually increased recruiting efforts, signing multiple talented players over the last few weeks.

The loss of such a significant number of players was undoubtedly a blow to Coach Smith and his coaching staff. However, they used their early experience with losing multiple talented players to the transfer portal to finally find a way to make it work for the Spartans. 

Coach Smith was tasked with turning around a Michigan State football program that desperately needed his leadership. However, even though the roster already lacked the talent to compete within the conference or the country, more talented players were required to join the team. Coach Smith’s success in the transfer portal gives a glimpse into how he plans to handle things moving forward. 

After signing enough players in the transfer portal, Coach Smith and his coaching staff signed many talented players from the transfer portal, and the Spartans finished with one of the highest transfer portal grades. Coach Smith’s ability to quickly recover from so many players leaving the team simultaneously is a sign that he is the man for the job. 

Everyone involved knows how to turn around a college football program. While it will likely be years before Michigan State can compete with the best teams in the Big Ten on the field, the Spartans' success in the transfer portal and potential success on the field could help them compete with the best teams in the division on the recruiting trail and in the transfer portal

Michigan State’s ability to sign one of the best transfer portal classes on relatively short notice confirmed the coaching staff can bounce back from a bad situation and turn it in their favor by successfully being resourceful and finding talent in the transfer portal. Now, Coach Smith and his coaching staff only have to put together a good football team on the field, and the rest should take care of itself.

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Ezekiel Trezevant

EZEKIEL TREZEVANT

Ezekiel is a former Sports Editor from the Western Herald and former Atlanta Falcons beat writer.