Michigan State Football: A Look at the 2021 Recruiting Class

Michigan State football received 16 national letters of intent on the first day of the early signing period, including one student-athlete who wasn't committed when it began.
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East Lansing, MI – It's official!

Mel Tucker signed his first recruiting class as head coach of the Michigan State Spartans, not every student-athlete, but the majority.

MSU received 16 national letters of intent on Wednesday, and the Spartans won't stop there.

Tucker intends to grow this class continuously.

Michigan State began the first day of the early signing period with 18 commits and added another future Spartan fans should get excited about.

Four-star linebacker Ma'a Gaoteote out of Las Vegas committed to USC in February 2018 but flipped to sign with MSU.

He instantly became the highest-rated player committed or signed to Michigan State for 2021, bumping the class up to 33rd nationally and ninth in the Big Ten.

Here's what Tucker said about each player and a breakdown of all the new Spartans:

Kameron Allen

  • Position: Tight End
  • Height: 6-4
  • Weight: 220
  • Home Town: Forney, Texas
  • High School: North Forney

Coach Tucker on Allen:

"Kameron is a tall, long, and athletic tight end that was very productive this fall as a pass-catching threat. He's got a wide catch radius, with soft hands, and he can extend and pluck, and he shows a great play-making ability once the ball is in his hands. They have isolated him on the outside, and he has really sharpened his route-running skills and is a big-time threat in the red zone with eight TDs this year."

Brandon Baldwin

  • Position: OL
  • Height: 6-7
  • Weight: 315
  • Home Town: Southfield, MI
  • College: Independence
  • High School: Southfield AT&T

Coach Tucker on Baldwin:

"We're excited to be bringing a Michigan player back home. Brandon is very tall, long, and athletic offensive lineman. He's really improved on his physicality during his time at Independence Junior College, and he shows toughness and finish as a run blocker and has great athletic ability, patience, and anchors down as a pass blocker. He's also played basketball in high school, so he has good footwork."

Antoine Booth

  • Position: Cornerback
  • Height: 5-11
  • Weight: 175
  • Home Town: Jessup, MD
  • High School: Dematha Catholic

Coach Tucker on Booth:

"Antoine has good size, build and bulk, and he shows good, reactive athleticism and ball skills. He shows that he won't panic with his back to the ball in man coverage and is disruptive at the high point. He plays with good balance and body control and is versatile as an inside and outside DB. He will add a great deal of versatility value to our DB room."

Ethan Boyd

  • Position: OT
  • Height: 6-7
  • Weight: 295
  • Home Town: East Lansing, MI
  • High School: East Lansing

Coach Tucker on Boyd:

"Ethan is a local product, and we're excited to have him stay home in East Lansing. He's very big, long and athletic, and a dominant force at tackle. He's shown great athletic ability as a pass protector, and as a run blocker, you will see him in space and shows he can really run."

Chuck Brantley

  • Position: Cornerback
  • Height: 6-0
  • Weight: 160
  • Home Town: Sarasota, Fla.
  • High School: Venice

Coach Tucker on Brantley:

"Chuck is fast, quick, explosive, tough, and just highly competitive. He has a big-time burst to close and can cover a lot of ground quickly. I love his effort and passion; he doesn't back down from anyone and is primarily lined up on the opponent's best wide receiver."

Carson Casteel

  • Position: Linebacker
  • Height: 6-3
  • Weight: 210
  • Home Town: Florence, Ala.
  • High School: Florence

Coach Tucker on Casteel:

"Carson is tall, long, and athletic; he's versatile and strong at the point of attack, with very good range and instincts. He doesn't back down from contact and can really strike with his hands. I really love his versatility as both a run defender and pass defender."

Hamp Fay

  • Position: Quarterback
  • Height: 6-6
  • Weight: 230
  • Home Town: Hudson Oaks, Texas
  • High School: All Saints Episcopal

Coach Tucker on Fay:

"Hamp is a big, tall, long, athletic, and versatile quarterback, and he has the arm strength to make all the throws; he shows poise and patience in the pocket and can really step up and zip the ball in there. He has the athletic ability to extend plays with his feet and shows the athletic ability to hurdle defenders on the second level. He is a big-time leader and shows he can make plays on third down."

Ma'a Gaoteote

  • Position: Linebacker
  • Height: 6-1
  • Weight: 230
  • Home Town: Las Vegas, Nev.
  • High School: Bishop Norman

Coach Tucker on Gaoteote:

"Ma'a has really good size, build and bulk; he's very instinctive and tough. He is the QB of the defense, and he plays with good balance and body control. He's got a good burst to close, and he can anticipate, key in on, and diagnose the play. He is constantly one step ahead of the play. He will strike you and does a good job of finishing plays when he makes contact, shows he has three-down value and is good on the second level playing laterally."

Michael Gravely Jr.

  • Position: Safety
  • Height: 6-1
  • Weight: 195
  • Home Town: Cleveland, Ohio
  • High School: Glenville

Coach Tucker on Gravely:

"Michael is long and athletic; he's instinctive, tough, physical, and fast. He's got a very smooth change of direction, and he can effortlessly turn and run with defenders in man coverage and not panic with his back to the ball. He's a strong, physical wrap tackler that doesn't back down from contact."

Derrick Harmon

  • Position: DT
  • Height: 6-6
  • Weight: 350
  • Home Town: Detroit, MI
  • High School: Loyola

Coach Tucker on Harmon:

"Derrick is just a giant human being, he occupies four hands to block him, he's just massive in the middle and is a dancing bear as a pass rusher, but he is a very athletic player for his size. He is a man amongst boys, and he can win with power and strength as well as quickness and suddenness. He showed quick hands and a solid tool belt of pass rush moves, showed lateral strength and quickness as a run defender, and really controlled the line of scrimmage on first and second down."

Steffan Johnson

  • Position: Cornerback
  • Height: 6-0
  • Weight: 170
  • Home Town: Venice, Fla.
  • High School: Venice

Coach Tucker on Johnson:

"Steffan is fast, electric, and very long; he's instinctive and generates production on both sides of the ball. He's played nearly every position except for offensive line and defensive line in high school; at one point or another, he's played quarterback, wide receiver, running back, corner and safety. He is very dynamic with the ball in his hands and shows effortless acceleration when running away from defenders."

A.J. Kirk

  • Position: Safety
  • Height: 6-1
  • Weight: 190
  • Home Town: Columbus, Ohio
  • High School: Archbishop Hoban

Coach Tucker on Kirk:

"AJ is an extremely tough, fast, physical, aggressive tackler, and he's a disruptive and effective blitzer off the edge. I love his instincts and awareness in the box, he plays with good vision and feel, and he has a quick burst to close. He is a physical, wrap-up tackler, but he also has the athletic ability to play press-man coverage in the slot; he's just an eraser that loves to run and hit. I coached his older brother, Mike, at Ohio State, and they have a lot of similarities."

Alex Okelo

  • Position: DL
  • Height: 6-6
  • Weight: 215
  • Home Town: Nashville, Tenn.
  • High School: Pearl-Cohn

Coach Tucker on Okelo:

"Alex is very long and lean and has tremendous initial quickness and burst. He's got big-time upside, especially as a pass rusher; he can bend and run and shows great natural ability to get to the quarterback, and he has good speed to chase down ball carriers from the backside, while his length allows him to recover quickly and get ball carriers down."

Davion Primm

  • Position: RB
  • Height: 6-1
  • Weight: 205
  • Home Town: Detroit, MI
  • High School: Oak Park

Coach Tucker on Primm:

"Davion was our first commitment, and he has great foot quickness, burst, acceleration, and vision; he's a strong runner, with good balance and body control. He shows he can be a home run threat when he gets to the second level and has natural running ability to find creases and holes as he attacks the line of scrimmage. He doesn't go down on first contact and will fight for extra yards."

Tyson Watson

  • Position: DL
  • Height: 6-6
  • Weight: 275
  • Home Town: Roseville, MI
  • High School: Warren Mott

Coach Tucker on Watson:

"Tyson has great size and length for a defensive lineman. He's tall, long, and powerful, and he's a smart, consistent player with big-time potential. He's got good build, bulk, and strength and can push the pocket with power and instincts. He knows how to get to an edge of a blocker and be disruptive in the backfield, and he also has the lateral strength and stoutness to stay square at the line of scrimmage. I love his length and build; you just can't have enough of these big guys in your program."

Kevin Wigenton

  • Position: OL
  • Height: 6-5
  • Weight: 295
  • Home Town: Colts Neck, N.J.
  • School: The Hun

Coach Tucker on Wigenton: 

"Kevin is probably one of the most improved players from his junior to senior year; he really worked this summer to get his body right so he could play with more athletic ability and flexibility. He's played both guard and tackle this fall, which shows he can be a factor on the second level. He's got good seek-and-adjust on his pulls and runs his feet upon contact. He has a very stout anchor to stop the push of the pocket and has very athletic feet to slide and adjust in pass protection. He is smart, plays with good instincts, and plays to the whistle."

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