Need a sense of how poorly this season has gone for Michigan State? Just look at all the positive reactions a loss to an in-state rival garnered over the weekend.
And they’re well deserved. Saturday may have ended with a 32-23 defeat to No.2 Michigan — meaning a sixth straight loss for the Spartans — but it looked a heck of a lot better than the last five, and it came against the second-ranked team in the nation.
That’s something to be proud of, isn’t it?
Recruits will surely be watching closely to see how the Spartans respond to this massive strike of adversity, and the next few months could bring a lot of unexpected advancements.
And while we’re on the topic of 2017, we’re fast approaching the early signing period for basketball, with lots of prospects yet to make decisions. That shouldn’t be completely overshadowed by the gridiron.
With all of that in mind, here are a few bold predictions on the direction MSU recruiting will head next, including one prediction for Tom Izzo and his squad, as well.
1. Michigan State will flip multiple commits from other schools.
This may sound a little surprising, but it wouldn’t be considering the two-pronged approach of Michigan State’s recruiting strategy. The Spartans expect their commits to stay solid and not take outside visits, but they also have been making widespread efforts to bring in commits from other schools for visits.
Jaquan Henderson, a 3-star Tennessee linebacker commit, wrapped up an official visit to MSU on Sunday. Four-star athlete and South Florida commit Bruce Judson, whom Michigan State is recruiting as a running back, will take an official visit for the weekend of the Nov. 19 game against Ohio State.
Three-star N.C. State linebacker commit Nick Smith recently picked up a Michigan State offer. The Wolfpack are in the midst of similar struggles, having just lost at home to Boston College, which had previously lost 12 straight ACC games. The challenge will be more daunting when it comes to 3-star defensive end Tyree Johnson, whom MSU recently offered. He is committed to No. 7 Texas A&M.
Pitches can always be altered. Given how the season has gone, Michigan State has shifted to playing a lot of young players, and early playing time can be conveyed to recruits. That should ultimately resonate with a few prospects.
2. Michigan State will fall further in the Big Ten recruiting rankings
The Spartans haven’t finished below No. 5 since the class of 2011. They currently sit at No. 7. Just below them, ready to pounce, is Rutgers. Yes, fellow 2-6 squad Rutgers.
It may get worse. Michigan State likely won’t have to worry about the Scarlet Knights, which already have 19 commits, three more than MSU. But the Spartans might get jumped by No. 10 Wisconsin, which has just 13 commits as it gears up to make a run at some top prospects before signing day.
And Illinois, which only has 11 commits so far and has plenty of work to do in the next few months, still has a coach in Lovie Smith who can sell that he’s coached in a Super Bowl. That can translate that success to the college stage. He and his program have plenty of potential to move up in the rankings.
The Michigan State staff probably doesn’t care where it finishes in these arbitrary rankings. But the rankings do tend to be a solid indicator of future success, and a drop to No. 8 or worse would be quite concerning for the future.
3. Michigan State will finish this men’s basketball recruiting class with at least three 5-star recruits
Again, this would mainly be looked at as “bold” because it’s unprecedented. Coach Tom Izzo and his staff have not done it in all the years 247Sports has put together recruiting ratings and rankings.
The Spartans came close with this season’s incoming freshman class, a class which includes a pair of 5-star prospects in Miles Bridges and Josh Langford. The next class could take things up another notch. The Spartans already have one 5-star player in Jaren Jackson Jr. and are working to land more.
Prolific Prep (Calif.) guard Gary Trent Jr. took his official visit over the weekend and Cathedral Catholic (Calif.) forward Brandon McCoy is expected to do the same in the near future. Both have earned 5-star ratings.
Michigan State might not be favored to land either of those two, but 5-star guard Brian Bowen has taken more MSU visits than just about anyone, so the Spartans have to feel good about bringing him in. If they do, the question then becomes whether they can land either Trent or McCoy.
With how much of an impact freshmen will have on this year’s squad, Michigan State is becoming a prime landing spot for potential one-and-done recruits, if it wasn’t already.
All ratings are from the 247Sports composite rankings unless otherwise noted.