LANSING, Mich (WILX) -- Mel Tucker arrived in East Lansing and immediately said he would hit the ground running in regards to recruiting. So far, so good for Tucker and his staff. Eight verbal commitments have rolled in and all eight are rated as three-star recruits by different recruiting outlets. One of those commitments came from East Lansing high school's Ethan Boyd who is an offensive lineman for the Trojans.
Mel Tucker, Michigan State's new football coach, speaks during a news conference Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)
Chris Solari is the Michigan State football and basketball beat reporter for the Detroit Free Press. I caught up with Solari to discuss the differences between Dantonio and Tucker when it comes to recruiting.
"The thing that Mel Tucker has that Mark Dantonio didn't is the NFL pedigree. He's a guy that's been in the NFL, been at the highest level. He's been an interim head coach, a coordinator and knows what the NFL teams and scouts are looking for first hand whereas Dantonio knew about it from hearing from them," Solari said.
That NFL pedigree could be key to help future Spartans buy into Tucker's pitch because as of recently, Michigan State has not produced NFL Draft picks quite like it's regional rivals (Michigan, Ohio State, Notre Dame). Despite that, Michigan State did keep it's streak alive of having at least one player selected in the NFL Draft every year since the common era began (1967). Josiah Scott and Kenny Willekes were the only two Spartans that were drafted. If you compare that to Michigan and Ohio State (10 players drafted each), you can see the recent disparity. Solari believes that when recruits ask about the next-level, Tucker can have a solid pitch.
"So now you've got to be able to sell the next level to these kids. You know that's going to be Mel Tucker's test. How can you show what Dantonio did and build on it but also say this is how Nick Saban gets guys to the NFL, this is what we're going to do to get guys to the NFL, this is what we did in the NFL, come be a part of it," Solari explained.
Michigan State's 2021 class is nowhere near completed, but it's a start. Tucker and his staff should have plenty of time on their hands to focus on recruiting during this global pandemic as his team can not gather or practice in person.
Michigan State's commitments as of the date of this article (4/28/2020)
- Antoine Booth - CB
- Ethan Boyd - OT
- Hamp Fay - QB
- Derrick Harmon - DT
- Gabe Nealy - CB
- Davion Primm - RB
- Tyson Watson - DE
- Kevin Wigenton - OL