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Michigan State A Finalist For Top Offensive Tackle Target

O-line coach Chris Kapilovic is hunting for the next member of the 'Juice Squad'...

Michigan State was named a 'Top 3' finalist by three-star Nashville (Tenn.) Franklin Road Academy offensive tackle Joe Crocker on Monday.

The 6-foot-6, 310-pound prospect included Wisconsin and Mississippi State in his final grouping as well.

The Spartans appeared to be behind the Badgers and Bulldogs earlier this this recruitment, but an official visit to East Lansing this past weekend helped Michigan State close the gap with Crocker.

According to the 247Sports Composite rankings, Crocker is ranked No. 38 among offensive tackles and No. 468 overall in the country for the Class of 2023. He's considered the No. 15 prospect out of the state of Tennessee.

Crocker took official visits to Wisconsin (June 3) and Mississippi State (June 10) earlier this month, and both schools made an impression on the tackle prospect. Following the visit to Madison, 247Sports' director of football recruiting Steve Wiltfong put in a crystal ball prediction for the Badgers, which was mirrored by Wisconsin Insider Evan Flood.

Interestingly, 247Sports' Steve Robertson, who write for Mississippi State Insider, put in a crystal ball prediction for the Bulldogs following Crocker's visit to East Lansing this last weekend.

However, Michigan State remains a player in this recruitment and offensive line coach Chris Kapilovic has done a good job showing the tackle prospect what MSU has to offer.

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At this moment, Crocker does not have a decision date determined, but he's indicated that he'd like to have his recruitment wrapped up this summer before his senior season of high school football.

Although he's only listed as a three-star prospect, Crocker's offer sheet suggest he's underrated as a recruit. He's received 30 FBS scholarship offers, including programs like Arkansas, Florida State, Georgia, Michigan, Ole Miss, Tennessee and others. 

Michigan State started this month red-hot, landing five commitments following the first two weeks of official visits. But things have slowed a bit for the Spartans over these last couple weeks, and MSU 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.

Head coach Mel Tucker and his staff are on the verge of building one of MSU's best recruiting classes in recent memory. The Spartans' 10 verbal pledges, seven of which come from four-star prospects, has Michigan State's 2023 class currently ranked No. 19 in the country.

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