Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Mel Tucker's thoughts on MSU's 2022 recruiting class after National Signing Day

December 16, 2021
<p>Mel Tucker smiles after the Spartan’s win against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Spartan Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021. </p>

Mel Tucker smiles after the Spartan’s win against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Spartan Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021.

Photo by Chloe Trofatter | The State News

After months of waiting, Michigan State and Head Coach Mel Tucker officially welcomed the early commits of its 2022 recruiting class after 22 recruits signed their national letter of intent to play for MSU on Wednesday.

Michigan State’s 2022 class currently sits at 21st nationally, according to 247sports.com, and has five four-star recruits. The new class is truly national, as the 22 recruits and four transfers come from 11 different states, including seven from Georgia, the most of any state, including Michigan.

“I'd like to thank all of our coaches and recruiting staff for tirelessly and relentlessly working on this recruiting class,” Tucker said. “This is a consensus top-20 class in the nation. This class is a national class featuring players from 11 different states, including the transfers.”

Tucker’s emphasis on the Peach state stems from his time as the defensive coordinator for Georgia from 2016 to 2019. He said he developed trusting relationships with high school coaches in Georgia, and it will continue to be a top recruiting area for Michigan State in future recruiting classes.

“I spent three years in (Georgia) at UGA,” Tucker said. “You build relationships; you gain reputation. People kind of know what you're all about, and they say, 'Hey, I know Mel. We can trust Mel. He's gonna do what he says he's going to do. He's a good coach; he's going to develop the players; treat them right.' ... They feel comfortable with us. ... We're going to continue to hit the state of Georgia hard.”

Here’s what Tucker had to say about each member of Michigan State’s 2022 class:

Katin Houser, four-star QB (CA)

"We'll start with quarterback Katin Houser," Tucker said. "(He's) 6-foot-3, 195, Elite 11 finalist, Athletic, versatile — he can make all the throws. He's got a quick release. He's a leader. He's very, very poised in the pocket, very confident, has command of the offense. He has the "it" factor, in our opinion. He played on one of the best high school teams in the country, St. John Bosco, and he is an early enrollee."

Jalen Berger, Wisconsin transfer RB (NJ)

"He's a Wisconsin transfer from Don Bosco Prep High School," Tucker said. "He's 6-foot-3, 195, was a four-star recruit coming out of high school (and) played at a great high school program in Don Bosco prep. He's quick; he's shifty; he's elusive. He finishes forward. He's very good on yards after contact. He's very versatile, and he is a legitimate receiving threat out of the backfield. He will also enroll in January."

Antonio Gates Jr., four-star WR (MI)

"(He's) 6-foot-2, 190 (and) ranked the number one receiver in the state of Michigan," Tucker said. "He's a four-star recruit; son of all-pro tight end Antonio Gates Sr. He's long, he's athletic, he can take the top off the defense. He's a very tough player - very physical. He's very productive. He had 55 catches for 925 yards in just his senior season. He's got great hands, he's fast, and he's a polished route runner."

Tyrell Henry, three-star WR (MI)

"Another versatile athlete," Tucker said. "A Detroit News Dream Team selection and first-team all-state. He's a great returner on special teams — six punt returns for touchdowns while also returning two kicks for touchdowns. He's got some wiggle; he's got some burst. He led Roseville to its first district championship. He is a team leader. I’m very glad to have him."

Jaron Glover, three-star WR (FL)

"6-foot-1, 195," Tucker said. "Long, fast, he is a true burner. He has a legit long speed; he's athletic. He has a great catch radius which is friendly to the quarterback. He's a playmaker; he can make the tough catches at the catch point, contested. He's physical, and the sky's the limit with this athlete."

Jack Nickel, three-star TE (GA)

"6-foot-4, 240." Tucker said, "He's big, he's physical. He's a pass-catching tight end. He's got big-time upside. He loves football; played all four years on varsity. His dad, Paul, played at Stanford in the same position, and he is also an early enrollee."

Michael Masunas, three-star TE (AZ)

"6-foot-4, 240." Tucker said, "(He's a) tough, physical, hard-nosed tight end. He made drastic improvement from his junior to his senior season. He's got a lot of potential. He's a powerful blocker, and he's got very, very soft hands."

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Ashton Lepo, three-star OT (MI)

"6-foot-7, 270." Tucker said, "(He's a) Dream Team selection — ranked best offensive tackle in the state of Michigan. Massive upside. He gets bigger every time we see him. He's quick, and he's agile as an athlete; he flashes power, and he absolutely loves MSU."

Gavin Broscious, three-star OG (AZ)

"6-foot-4, 305," Tucker said. "This guy is a mauler; he plans to finish every play. He's tough; he's physical. He loves MSU. He's a great leader. He's a punisher. He's a good athlete; he's got quick feet. He is a relentless competitor."

Kristian Phillips, three-star OG (GA)

"'Big Dually,' (he's) 6-foot-4, 350," Tucker said. "He was the first commit of the class in November 2020. Again, his nickname is 'Big Dually,' and you can see why — he is a massive human being. He's physical. He loves contact, he wants to finish, and he's got very quick feet for his size. He's somewhat of a dancing bear."

Braden Miller, three-star OT (CO)

"6-foot-6, 290," Tucker said. "(He's) polished, physical, tough, powerful, very technical; plays with great leverage; loves contact. He has massive potential. He could help us immediately."

Alex VanSumeren, four-star DT (MI)

"6-foot-3, 300 pounds," Tucker said. "(He's a) four-star prospect and the number four prospect in the state of Michigan — named to rivals' 250 and ESPN's 300 as one of the best overall players in the country. (He's a) two-time Dream Team selection. Tough, physical and athletic interior defensive lineman. He is a relentless competitor. He's also an early enrollee."

Chase Carter, three-star DE (MN)

"6-foot-6, 215," Tucker said. "A versatile long athlete who held division one offers in football and also basketball, he has great length and flexibility, pass-rush ability. He had a very productive senior season with 27 tackles for loss and 13 sacks — just what the doctor ordered in terms of edge presence."

James Schott, three-star DE (IN)

"6-foot-4, 220," Tucker said. "(A) two-time state champion, his high school team is ranked ninth in the nation. He's long, athletic; he's a great pass rusher. He's a track sprinter. A relentless motor, high-character kid, he loves football, and, again, he's another guy that gets bigger and bigger every time we see him."

Quavian Carter, three-star LB (GA)

"6-foot-3, 200 pounds," Tucker said. "(He's) physical, (a) quick reactor — sideline to sideline. He's a hitter — see ball, get ball. (He's) athletic in space, (has) very good ball skills, will move from the safety position into the box. This guy absolutely loves football; he lives football."

Jacoby Windmon, UNLV transfer LB (LA)

"6-foot-3, 200," Tucker said. "(He had) 119 tackles, 11-and-a-half tackles for loss, six-and-a-half sacks (and) two forced fumbles, in 2021 alone. He's a highly-rated portal transfer, all-Mountain West linebacker (and a) tough, physical leader. (He has a) high football IQ. He's extremely explosive. He's an immediate impact type player, and he will also enroll in January."

Aaron Brule, Mississippi State transfer LB (LA)

"6-foot-3, 200 pounds," Tucker said. "A Mississippi State Transfer (with) 53 tackles, eight tackles for loss, three sacks. (He has a ) very, very high football IQ; just graduated from Mississippi State; lives football. He's tough. He's a leader on and off the field, and he will also be here in January."

Caleb Coley, three-star CB (GA)

"6-feet, 165 pounds," Tucker said. "He's a wiry, shifty, athletic, very, very tough physical player; looks for contact, excellent ball skills. Great in coverage and versus the run, he is a willing tackler. (He has an) awesome personality; you're gonna love this kid once you get to know him. He loves football. He's very spiritual. He knows his purpose in life, and he's also an early enrollee."

Ade Willie, three-star CB (FL)

"A corner from IMG, 6-foot-1, 185, (he's) a very good athlete," Tucker said. "He has great balance and body control. He has good size and length for his position. He's tough; he's physical. He runs really well — he has really good 40 times, electronic times. Played for an excellent program in IMG. A very versatile athlete, I'm looking forward to seeing what he can do and how many positions he can actually play in the secondary. He's also an early enrollee."

Jaden Mangham, four-star DB (MI)

"6-foot-1, 185," Tucker said. "A U.S. Army All-American, number eight prospect in the state of Michigan (and) named to ESPN 300 as one of the top players in the country, he's a four-star prospect. (A) versatile athlete, (he) plays both sides of the ball. He's got great length and ball skills. He's a sideline-to-sideline guy, has excellent range. I coached his brother at CU (Colorado) — know the family very well — and he's also an early enrollee."

Dillon Tatum, four-star DB (MI)

"5-foot-11, 185," Tucker said. "(From) West Bloomfield, (he's a) number nine prospect in the state of Michigan, four-star prospect named to ESPN's 300. (He's) a very tough, physical, aggressive player; a versatile athlete, plays both sides of the ball. (He's) just very, very explosive, super competitive; runs track. He's also an early enrollee."

Malik Spencer, three-star DB (GA)

"6-foot-1, 190," Tucker said. "(A) three-time state champion at Buford High, he's tough, he's physical, he's high motor. He absolutely lives football; he trains year-round. He's got excellent ball skills. He's contact-tough — he looks for contact; practices and plays at a very, very high level, and he is a player that could step in and make an immediate impact for us."

Malcolm Jones, three-star DB (GA)

"6-foot-1, 190," Tucker said. "(He's) one of the most physical players I've seen on tape in the last five or six years. He just visited campus. He's got great size and length. We're gonna start him at the corner position initially. He plays both sides of the ball. He's got really good ball skills; elite-level balls as a receiver his junior year. He's physical — a Kam Chancellor type of athlete, (and a) teammate of Q (Quavian) Carter."

Jack Stone, three-star K (TX)

"6-foot-1, 190," Tucker said. "A five-star kicker, he's got a big-time leg. (He's) very strong on kickoffs and field goals. (He) Plays for one of the best teams to Texas, the 2018 state champs, out there in Highland Park."

Zion Young, three-star DE (GA)

"6-foot-6, 226," Tucker said. "(He had) a very productive senior season at Westlake High School in Atlanta. (A) long, athletic edge rusher, he's got huge upside. We're really excited about his future as a Spartan. (He) looks to have an immediate impact. Former Spartan Tre Person coaches at Westlake High School."

Khris Bogle, Florida transfer DE (FL)

"(He's) a transfer from the University of Florida, Cardinal Gibbons high school," Tucker said. "6-foot-4, 240. (He) started three games and played 11 games — 23 tackles and three sacks. He's a four-star prospect and a top 50 player in the nation coming out of high school in 2019. I recruited him while I was at the University of Georgia. He's big; he's long; he's athletic; he brings the immediate pass rush capability that we need. He should have an immediate impact on our defense."

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