Mark Dantonio believes the future of the Michigan State football program is in good hands with Mel Tucker taking over in East Lansing.

Shortly after Michigan State made the hiring official, Dantonio issued a few comments about his successor. He first met Tucker on the Michigan State staff in the late 1990s, when Nick Saban was in charge of the program.

“I first came in contact with Mel when he was the graduate assistant here at Michigan State for Coach Saban,” Dantonio said. “He did an outstanding job with the defensive backs. When I went to Ohio State to work for Coach Tressel, he asked me who should coach the secondary, and I immediately thought of Mel. He was a part of the national championship staff and has gone on to coach at the highest levels of football.

“Mel is charismatic, brings good energy and is a very forward thinker. He’s also an outstanding recruiter who connects with his players, but also holds them accountable. He’s from the Midwest and has a Spartan background with knowledge of the Big Ten.

“I’m extremely excited for Mel and his family. I’m looking to support him in any way possible. Go Green.”

Dantonio made the decision to step down a day before National Signing Day, forcing Michigan State to find a replacement quickly. Tucker initially turned down the opportunity to coach the Spartans, but had a change of heart early Wednesday morning.

Tucker comes to Michigan State after spending the 2019 season as the head coach at Colorado. The Buffaloes finished the season with a 5-7 record. Tucker has more than two decades of coaching experience at the college and NFL levels.