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Michigan State four-star OT target commits to Texas

The Spartans led this recruitment for a while, but...

Four-star Orlando (Fla.) offensive tackle Payton Kirkland, who was considered a Michigan State-lean for part of his recruitment, committed to Texas on Saturday.

This was a disappointing result for the Spartans, who had been in a great spot for much of Kirkland's recruitment before a late surge by the Longhorns carried Texas over the finish line.

To say that this development is somewhat suspect is putting it lightly. Texas was not even in Kirkland's 'Top 5' that he announced back in March — a list that included MSU, Alabama, Oklahoma, Miami and Florida.

Earlier this week, rumors began circulating that Texas was flying up the board for Kirkland as his decision drew near, but the four-star tried to dispel those rumors on Twitter:

Additionally, Kirkland took official visits to see the Sooners (June 3), Gators (June 10), Spartans (June 17) and Hurricanes (June 20) last month, but has not taken an official visit to Texas.

Yet, when decision day arrived for Kirkland, seven crystal balls came in predicting he would commit to the Longhorns, which came to fruition. This came despite Kirkland tweeting out a graphic that read "The Commitment" earlier today that did not even have the Longhorns featured.

At 6-foot-6 and 345 pounds, Kirkland is ranked No. 274 overall and No. 25 among offensive tackles in the 2023 recruiting cycle, and is the No. 57 player out of the state of Florida, according to 247Sports' composite rankings.

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Despite missing out on Kirkland, Michigan State's offensive line recruiting has been strong so far in the 2023 cycle. O-line coach Chris Kapilovic has already landed four-star interior offensive lineman Cole Dellinger out of Clarkston (Mich.), four-star IOL Clay Wedin out of Tampa (Fla.) and three-star IOL Johnathan Slack out of Detroit (Mich.).

The Spartans are also in on the recruitments of five-star offensive tackle Samson Okunlola (trending to Miami), four-star offensive tackle Chase Bisontis (trending to Texas A&M), four-star offensive tackle Miles McVay (no crystal balls) and four-star offensive tackle Stanton Ramil (no crystal balls).

Michigan State has 12 players committed to its 2023 recruiting class thus far, nine of whom are rated as four-star prospects. Should that hold through signing day, it would be the most four-stars that the Spartans signed to one class since 2016 — right after MSU won its third Big Ten championship under former head coach Mark Dantonio.

The Spartans signed six four-star prospects in the 2022 class, which equaled the amount of four-stars that Michigan State had signed in the previous four classed combined.

As head coach Mel Tucker and his staff take a more national approach to recruiting, and battle with some of the top brands in college football for players, it's inevitable that the Spartans will miss on some of their top targets.

However, Tucker has taken Michigan State's recruiting to a level never before seen in East Lansing, which is evident in the amount of Top 400 players (15) that the staff has signed or holds commitments from over the last two recruiting cycles.

Michigan State verbal commitments, Class of 2023

  • Four-star EDGE Bai Jobe; Community Christian School; Norman, Okla.; No. 69 nationally, No. 9 EDGE, No. 1 in state of Oklahoma
  • Four-star DL Andrew Depaepe; Pleasant Valley High School; Bettendorf, Iowa; No. 185 nationally, No. 27 Defensive Lineman, No. 2 in state of Iowa
  • Four-star LB Jordan Hall; IMG Academy; Bradenton, Fla.; No. 207 nationally, No. 14 Linebacker, No. 41 in state of Florida
  • Four-star IOL Cole Dellinger; Clarkston High School; Clarkston, Mich.; No. 333 nationally, No. 16 Interior Offensive Lineman, No. 5 in state of Michigan
  • Four-star TE Brennan Parachek; Dexter High School; Dexter, Mich.; No. 341 nationally, No. 18 Tight End, No. 6 in state of Michigan
  • Four-star RB Kedrick Reescano; New Caney High School; New Caney, Texas; No. 356 nationally, No. 22 Running Back; No. 63 in state of Texas
  • Four-star ATH Demitrius Bell; Blackman High School; Murfreesboro, Tenn.; No. 359 nationally, No. 24 Athlete; No. 10 in state of Tennessee
  • Four-star IOL Clay Wedin; Carrollwood Day High School; Tampa, Fla.; No. 385 nationally, No. 22 Interior Offensive Lineman, No. 72 in state of Florida
  • Four-star CB Chance Rucker; Ryan High School; Denton, Texas; No. 394 nationally, No. 39 Cornerback; No. 68 in state of Texas
  • Three-star IOL Johnathan Slack; Martin Luther King High School; Detroit, Mich.; No. 550 nationally, No. 38 Interior Offensive Lineman, No. 13 in state of Michigan
  • Three-star QB Bo Edmundson; Lake Travis High School; Austin, Texas; No. 761 nationally, No. 37 Quarterback, No. 145 in state of Texas
  • Three-star CB Eddie Pleasant III; Carrollwood Day High School; Tampa, Fla.; No. 778 nationally, No. 75 Cornerback; No. 117 in state of Florida

Twitter: @mlounsberry_SI