On Saturday, April 16 at 2 p.m., the Michigan State Spartans will open the doors to the public for Spring Game 2022. Although not a traditional game, the enthusiasm and energy towards the event are unshakeable. The excitement isn’t just reflected through the fan base, but also by watching rookies across the country. A look at our VIP 2022 Spring Game Visitor List shows how truly unprecedented this event is for Michigan State’s program.
USM Head Coach Mel Tucker knows the significance of Saturday’s spring game to their staffing efforts. In turn, he wants fans to show up and create a lively atmosphere for his rookies, talking about how rookies will compare this to other spring games they attend. “It makes a difference, because recruiting, we’re competing for players, we’re competing against other programs. When it comes to recruiting, competition, in large part, is about comparison. So they’re going to compare their experience here to the experiences they see elsewhere, so we have to do our best.”
Last year, MSU received many prospect visits for the 2021 spring game despite major hurdles. There was an attendance limit due to COVID, which required every spectator to obtain tickets to attend, which was difficult due to the scarcity. And since the pandemic had also induced a recruitment dead period, there was nothing the technical staff could do to ensure that their recruits got those tickets. Still, MSU had over 15 scholarship targets to attend the game and it was considered a very successful result.
This positive result last spring has led to growing belief that this year’s game will be an even bigger spectacle as the aforementioned hurdles are gone and the program emerges from an 11-2 season that has generated tremendous excitement. Well, that belief is definitely coming to fruition.
MSU is expected to host nearly 40 scholarship goals for this year’s spring game, with the talent level significantly higher than last year’s game. The three main visitors expected for the match are prospects 247Composite Five-Star, in DE David HicksRB Rueben Owensand TO Francois Maugoa. Although they are five star which is pretty impressive, the fact that they are from Florida (Mauigoa) and Texas (Hicks & Owens) starts to underline the point that the geographical composition of the entire visitor list is almost as impressive as the echelon of talent therein.
Keep in mind that spring play visits are considered unofficial visits, which means that a school’s staff cannot pay the prospect’s travel, accommodation, and food expenses as they would. can during official visits. So when players from across the country make unofficial visits to Michigan State, it really underscores how quickly the national profile of the program is rising. This is perhaps the most important lesson of the whole weekend, if you try to use it as a barometer to assess the trajectory of the program.
Plus, this awesome out-of-state theme continues well beyond the five-star section of the Visitor List as well. Alone a of the top 11 visitors in 2023 are from Michigan, while only two of the top 11 are from the Midwest (Depaepe and Thompson). That’s nine of the top 11 prospects coming out of the SEC country. That would be impressive even for a long-standing traditional recruiting power, let alone a school that is just getting ready to make some noise during the Mel Tucker time.
Let’s look at some more numbers behind the full visitor list (as of 11:00 p.m. Thursday):
- 109 – # of “total stars” when added together
- 41 – # of known visitors so far (counting only children who hold FBS offers)
- 16 – Number of five stars and four stars present
- 12 – # of states represented (Texas, Michigan, Florida, Georgia, California, Tennessee, New Jersey, Arizona, Illinois, Iowa, North Carolina, Alabama)
- 5 – # of current commits that will be present (i.e. all)
It is important to note that visitor lists often grow until the last minute. Local children have the opportunity to make plans at any time since they will be driving to campus, while some children from outside the region might be missed during our research phase simply because it is a very wide net to cast. As the game gets closer, those gaps are being filled, and those numbers will only increase over the next two days.
All in all, seeing star power at East Lansing this weekend can’t help but have fans wondering: if this is what the staff are up to after just one winning season and before we break into the new multi-million dollar Tom Izzo football building, how high is the program ceiling under Mel Tucker?
Although there is only one way to truly find the answer to this question, one thing is always certain. For Michigan State to win a national title in this era of college football, the Spartans will need to have unprecedented success on the recruiting track. Well, this weekend’s visitor list definitely fits the description. If Mel Tucker, Saeed Khalif and staff can start landing these guys during official visiting season, then this weekend could be seen as the real catalyst for a special era for Michigan State football.
For more on how Michigan State recruiting went last month, as well as the size of the Spring Game visitor list, check out the latest episode of SPARTAN SPOTLIGHT wherever you listen. podcasts. The Apple Podcasts feed is attached below.
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