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Five-star defensive lineman includes Michigan State in 'Top 7' schools

Can the Spartans reel in the biggest recruit on their board?

Michigan State is off to an excellent start in the 2023 recruiting cycle, but the Spartans are still looking for that "splash" commitment that could generate even more excitement in East Lansing.

MSU is still in the hunt for one of those types of players in five-star defensive lineman David Hicks Jr., who included the Spartans in his 'Top 7' school on Friday, July 1.

Michigan State was included alongside Texas, Texas A&M, Oregon, Miami, Alabama and Oklahoma for the Paetow High School product.

Hicks Jr. was part of a home-run opening weekend of June for Michigan State, when the Spartans hosted a trio of five-star prospects at the start of 'official visit season' on June 3.

A native of Katy, Texas, Hicks Jr. is one of the elite prospects in the Class of 2023. He is the No. 5 overall prospect in the country, and the top-ranked defensive lineman and overall recruit out of the Lone Star State. Hicks Jr. has garnered nearly 40 FBS scholarship offers during his recruitment. He does not have a decision date set yet.

Pass rush specialist Brandon T. Jordan is Michigan State's primary recruiter for Hicks Jr., but for a player of this caliber you can be sure that head coach Mel Tucker, D-line coach Marco Coleman and the rest of the staff are involved in some way as well.

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It will be difficult to lure Hicks Jr. out of the Deep South, but Michigan State and Oregon are trying to do just that, and obviously have made strong impressions on the five-star talent.

The Spartans have been named in several final groupings already this week. MSU made the 'Top 3' for three-star offensive tackle Joe Crocker and four-star EDGE prospect Bai Jobe, as well as the 'Top 6' for four-star cornerback Caleb Presley, who is making his decision July 5.

Mel Tucker and his staff were red-hot to start the month of June, landing five commitments following the first two weeks of official visits. But Michigan State has gone over two weeks without a commitment and lost one of those five commitments when four-star cornerback Jaylon Braxton backed off his verbal commitment.

Still, the additions of four-star cornerback Chance Rucker, four-star wide receiver Demitrius Bell, four-star linebacker Jordan Hall and four-star offensive lineman Clay Wedin have created a buzz for the program this summer and bolstered their 2023 class.

While the class ranking has slipped down to No. 30 in the country over the last couple weeks, seven of Michigan State's ten commitments in the Class of 2023 are four-stars, and the Spartans are in final groupings for several more.

MSU signed a total of five four-star prospects in the class of 2022, and has not exceeded that number of four-star signees in one class since 2016, when nine four-star prospects pledged to the Spartans. With a long way to go until National Signing Day in December, Michigan State has put itself in a good position to sign more four-star or higher ranked prospects than ever before in the program's history.

Twitter: @mlounsberry_SI