Mel Tucker’s mission was accomplished in more than one way during Michigan State’s open practice and spring game over the weekend. Not only did the Spartans finish the spring season strong, they made quite an impression on one of the best running backs of the 2023 recruiting class.

Speaking with 247Sports, 5-star running back Rueben Owens talked about his impression of Michigan State and Tucker. He didn’t hold back, saying he was thoroughly impressed by his visit.

“Coach Tucker is the king of East Lansing,” Owens said. “I can see myself as the prince of East Lansing!”

That’s pretty high praise from the nation’s top running back in the 2023 cycle and No. 17 overall prospect, per 247Sports. That could be a good sign for the future of Michigan State’s backfield, as well.

Tucker should already have a strong rapport with running backs after his recruitment of Kenneth Walker III out of the transfer portal. Walker had a strong career at Wake Forest but flourished in East Lansing.

Walker was named the B1G Running Back of the Year and was the winner of the Doak Walker Award after rushing for 1,636 yards and 18 touchdowns during an 11-2 season for the Spartans. Could that previous success and Tucker’s fame in East Lansing be enough to land Owens?

Michigan State sure hopes so.

During the 2021 season at El Campo High School in Texas, Owens rushed for 2,989 yards and 46 touchdowns while also adding 252 receiving yards and 2 touchdown catches. He’s one of the best prospects in the 2023 class for a reason.

Owens would be an instant difference-maker in Michigan State’s backfield, regardless of how deep the Spartans are at the position heading into 2023.