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Recapping Michigan State’s June Official Visits

Michigan State has been busy and successful on the recruiting trail in the month of June

With the dead period coming up, this has been the most exciting June in the history of Michigan State football recruiting.

From five-stars prospects, to Ferraris, to dinners at the head coach's house, it seems like Mel Tucker’s master plan is coming to fruition. The four weekends with official visits in East Lansing had some of the most star-studded lineups in the country. Each weekend had its own special moments, so let’s break it down week-by-week.

June 3-5

The first weekend started off with a bang as Michigan State hosted three big-time, five-star prospects in Katy (Texas) Paetow defensive lineman David Hicks, Warner Robins (Ga.) High defensive lineman Vic Burley and Tacoma (Wash.) Lincoln defensive lineman Jayden Wayne — who was actually taking an unofficial. 

Douglasville (Ga.) South Paulding interior offensive lineman Madden Sanker, who considered one of the top guards in this class, was also on campus. Spartan commits Jonathan Slack, an offensive tackle out of Detroit Martin Luther King, and Austin (Texas) Lake Travis quarterback Bo Edmunson were in East Lansing as well. Slack was actually the only recruit from the state of Michigan to be on campus during this opening weekend of June.

So what attracted these coveted recruits from Georgia and Texas to fly up to mid-Michigan? 

For Hicks, Burley, and Wayne, it was the pass rush specialist Brandon Jordan and defensive line coach Marco Coleman; who are both new additions to the staff. Jordan has worked with more than 100 NFL players and is still training guys like Rashan Gary, TJ Watt, Maxx Crosby and other starters and Pro-Bowlers. Don’t sell Coleman short, either. He played for more than a decade in the NFL, and coached previously with the Raiders and his alma mater, Georgia Tech. 

From the visit, Michigan State secured a pair of commitments from cornerback Chance Rucker out of Denton (Texas) Ryan and cornerback  Jaylon Braxton out of Frisco (Texas) Lone Star, with each verbal pledge coming within 10 days of their visits.

On the offensive side of the ball, Murfreesboro (Tenn.) Blackman wide receiver Demitrius Bell gave his commitment, adding to arguably Michigan State’s best position group. Other recruits on hand were Fairburn (Ga.) Langston Hughes tight end Jelani Thurman and Alpharetta (Ga.) Denmark offensive tackle Sham Umarov.

June 10-12

While the first week included multiple five-stars, the second weekend was just as loaded, headlined by Brockton (Mass.) Thayer Academy offensive tackle Samson “Pancake Honcho” Okunlola.

Also in attendance were Seattle Rainier Beach cornerback Caleb Presley, Colleyville (Texas) Covenant Christian Academy defensive lineman Enow Etta — who MSU is battling rival Michigan for — and Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy linebacker Jordan Hall. The IMG product ended up committing at a team dinner at Mel Tucker’s house on the June 11, becoming the second-highest rated recruit in the Spartans' class.

Committed prospects — New Caney (Texas) High running back Kedrick Reescano, Dexter (Mich.) High tight end Brennan Parachek, and Bettendorf (Iowa) Pleasant Valley defensive lineman Andrew Dapaepe — were also on the visit, and each have been shown recruiting other players to come with them to East Lansing — especially Dapaepe working on Etta.

But the headlines from this weekend weren’t about the players — it was about the amenities. Photoshoots are one of the most crucial components of recruiting in this era, and this staff knows that. The June 3 photoshoot had players posing with Coach Tucker next to a Jeep Grand Wagoneer. This week, a Mercedes G Wagon, Ferrari and Rolls Royce were rolled into Spartan Stadium as part of the photoshoot. 

Effectively, Tampa (Fla.) Carrollwood Day interior offensive lineman Clay Wedin, who goes to the same school as cornerback commit Eddie Pleasant, committed after his visit. The momentum of MSU recruiting in the first two weeks of June was something that no one has seen this program do before.

June 17-19

While no commits were in East Lansing this weekend, it was still a very effective outing. The highest rated recruit this weekend, Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco Prep offensive tackle Chase Bisontis, was reunited with former high school teammate and new MSU running back Jalen Berger.

The visit also welcomed Norman (Okla.) Community Christian School edge Bai Jobe — MSU has recently jumped in the mix with him. Orlando (Fla.) Dr. Phillips offensive tackle Payton Kirkland and East St. Louis (Ill.) High offensive tackle Miles McVay have shown interest in playing together in college, and were on this visit with each other. Both are north of 6-foot-6 and 340 pounds. McVay has won MVPs at multiple lineman camps and Kirkland is a 4-star prospect from Florida. 

Twin linebackers Michael and Andrew Harris out of Altamonte Springs (Fla.) Lake Brantley were on hand and are obviously high on MSU. The twins are also getting a lot of attention from Pittsburgh and Maryland. 

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Other notable visitors were Indianapolis Roncalli offensive tackle Trevor Lauck and Chesapeake (Va.) Western Branch wide receiver Paul Billups

Oh, and the cars this weekend were only a Lamborghini and a Ferrari — disappointing, I know.

June 24-26

Last, but certainly not least, Michigan State will close out the month with multiple recruits they are battling other schools for. 

Michigan native Jalen Thompson, out of Detroit Cass Tech, is one of the big names in this group.  Adding another in-state recruit would be huge for this staff, not only for this class but for recruiting in the future. 

While Venice (Fla.) High safety Elliot Washington is committed to Alabama, his recruitment is far from over. Right now, it seems like a close race between the Tide and the Spartans. Washington is from the same high school in Florida as current Spartan corner Charles Brantley. With Brantley seeing the field early in his career and showing success, Washington might see East Lansing as a landing spot for him.

Long Beach (Calif.) Long Beach Poly cornerback Daylen Austin is currently committed to LSU, but again, the Spartans have a fighting chance to flip him as well. 

Nashville (Tenn.) Franklin Road Academy offensive tackle Joe Crocker is an intriguing prospect. He's modestly viewed as a three-star prospect, but he has the offer list of a blue chip recruit with more than 30 tenders on it. Crocker's athleticism, along with his size at 6-foot-6, 310 pounds, has made him a priority for schools like Wisconsin, Mississippi State and Tennessee along with MSU.

Pleasant will also be along for the ride, recruiting just as hard as the coaching staff.

What This All Means

For starters, this isn’t the first time many of these recruits have visited East Lansing. Travelling on their own dime to come from Texas, Florida, Washington, Massachusetts and other states to visit says a lot about how well the Spartans' staff has branched out, and how interested players are. 

While the first two weeks were great successes, there is no need to go into panic mode if there aren’t any more commitments within the next month. When being recruited by all the big-time schools in the country, these high-profile athletes have a lot of variable to weigh. 

It's very common for prospects to make announcements during special events, such as the Under Armour All-American game and the Adidas All-American Bowl, which come after high school football season. Many of these recruits will want to make a return visit to East Lansing to see the Spartans play in a home game this fall. 

Others, like Kirkland — who has a commitment date of July 23 — like to conclude their recruitments before their senior season of high school football begins. Different players have different timetables to make their decisions.

What's Next For MSU

This is a new era of Michigan State football recruiting and fans should get used to it. According to 247Sports, MSU currently has eight 4-star recruits for the 2023 class, and that number is expected to grow. Michigan State's highest recruiting class of all time, the infamous 2016 class, had nine four-star recruits.

What Mel Tucker has done before Year 3 of his tenure in East Lansing has exceeded expectations by all accounts. 

With the new players collective (The East Lansing NIL Club) and SDFL (Spartan Dawgs For Life) brand coming soon, paired with a facilities upgrade, Michigan State has put itself in a position to compete long-term, not only with Ohio State and Michigan, but on a national level.

The talent gap between the Spartans and some of the top programs in the country that Tucker has talked about has been steadily closing over the past two-plus years. With Michigan State on track to have the highest-ranked class in school history, months like this current June will be something fans can look forward to for years to come.