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Michigan State football rises in ESPN's post-spring Way-Too-Early Top 25 rankings

ESPN is finally starting to take notice of what Mel Tucker is building in East Lansing...

With spring football in the rear-view mirror, Mel Tucker and Michigan State made a positive impression with the work they put in over the last five to six weeks.

ESPN recently updated its Way-Too-Early Top 25 rankings, giving us a post-spring edition, and the Spartans climbed two spots to move up to No. 8 in the country.

"After posting the biggest turnaround in school history, the Spartans spent the spring searching for [Kenneth] Walker's replacement and filling in key transfers on defense," wrote ESPN's Mark Schlabach.

"[Jalen] Berger has already transferred from Wisconsin, and [Jarek] Broussard, who ran for 1,556 yards the past two seasons at Colorado, is expected to enroll in May."

Schlabach also noted that help is on the way this summer for Michigan State's offensive line, and the fact that the Spartans' linebacking corps could be one of the best in college football.

"[Brian] Greene, a Washington State transfer, might be able to help at guard or center. Two other transfers — [Jacoby] Windmon (UNLV) and [Aaron] Brule (Mississippi State) — started at inside linebacker in the spring game. [Ameer] Speed, a Georgia transfer, was one of the starting cornerbacks."

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Michigan State is the second highest-ranked Big Ten team in Schlabach's updated rankings, trailing only No. 2 Ohio State. The Spartans jumped above rival Michigan, who fell from No. 5 to No. 9.

This is the highest that I've seen the Spartans ranked in any of the 'Way-Too-Early' articles from various publications, and the first time I've seen Michigan State ranked above the Wolverines ahead of 2022. In fact, some publications had the Spartans fourth in their own division, trailing Penn State as well.

Obviously, these 'Way-Too-Early' rankings are just what their names suggest, but it's still interesting to see the kind of buzz that Michigan State football is generating from the major publications covering the sport.

Mel Tucker continues to break barriers with the Spartans, and expectations have never been higher. Michigan State has a lot of work to do between now and September, most notably getting healthy and building depth along the offensive line.

If the Spartans can be sound up front, identify a tailback or two to shoulder some of the production lost by Kenneth Walker's departure and make improvements to their secondary, Michigan State will be a contender in the Big Ten Conference this season.

ESPN's post-spring 'Way-Too-Early' Top 25

  1. Alabama Crimson Tide
  2. Ohio State Buckeyes
  3. Georgia Bulldogs
  4. Utah Utes
  5. Texas A&M Aggies
  6. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
  7. N.C. State Wolfpack
  8. Michigan State Spartans
  9. Michigan Wolverines
  10. Oklahoma State Cowboys
  11. Clemson Tigers
  12. USC Trojans
  13. Houston Cougars
  14. Oklahoma Sooners
  15. Pittsburgh Panthers
  16. Oregon Ducks
  17. Wake Forest Demon Deacons
  18. Baylor Bears
  19. BYU Cougars
  20. Arkansas Razorbacks
  21. Ole Miss Rebels
  22. Kentucky Wildcats
  23. Cincinnati Bearcats
  24. Tennessee Volunteers
  25. Iowa Hawkeyes