Considering that most people weren’t super-high on the hiring of Mel Tucker at Michigan State, the Spartans had one of the best seasons of any team this past fall.

For a few moments, the Spartans were considered among the best in the country. Stumbles against Purdue and Ohio State put a damper on things, but MSU still finished 10-2 and Tucker secured a major bag by landing a 10-year $95 million contract. Right now, MSU is preparing for the 2021 Peach Bowl vs. Pitt — but it’s also making sure it makes the most out of the Early Signing Period, which begins Dec. 15.

Tucker is the only MSU coach to start 2-0 against Michigan, so that’s a selling point on the recruiting trail — especially when it comes to landing in-state talent.

Tucker has Michigan State regaining the type of momentum that it had under former head coach Mark Dantonio, who routinely snagged the best the in state and transformed MSU in a national brand.

Here’s a look at the Spartans’ current 2022 haul with rankings courtesy of 247Sports.

By the numbers

Overall rank: 19th
B1G rank: 4th
5-stars: 0
4-stars: 5

Did they find a future QB?

Michigan State’s future at QB seems to change as the wind blows. The Spartans will recruit a few and let the best man win. There hasn’t been a quarterback in recent memory that has stood out as a program-QB.

A little more than a decade ago, it was a coin-flip between Keith Nichol and Kirk Cousins.  Everyone knows who won that battle. In 2011, MSU recruited 3-star QB Tyler O’Connor, who was viewed as a future star — then in 2012, the Spartans went after 3-star Connor Cook.

Cook became a legend in East Lansing. O’Connor became a footnote.

At this point, it doesn’t matter who was signed to the current class. Chances are, he’s not the one.

For sake of being thorough, MSU has 4-star Katin Houser signed for the 2022 class. He’s the second-highest ranked QB recruit signed by the Spartans in the modern era — so maybe he’s the one? Jeff Smoker, famed for many reasons at MSU, is the only other higher-ranked QB recruit in MSU history, per 247Sports.

Long answer for a short question — sorry.

Who is the best offensive player?

As mentioned above, Houser is the highest-graded QB signee of the star-grading level for MSU — so he has to be the Spartans’ best offensive recruit for 2022. He’s MSU’s second-highest ranked signee of the upcoming cycle and comes from a high school known for breeding QBs. While at the prep powerhouse, Houser replaced DJ Uiagalelei, who went on to start for Clemson.

Nobody thought that 3-star Payton Thorne would lead MSU to a 10-2 regular-season in 2021 — so who knows?

Who is the best defensive player?

Not one, but two VanSumeren brothers …

The Essexville-Garber brothers have been two of the most sought-after preps in Michigan during the past 5 years. Two years ago, Michigan nabbed Ben, who later transferred to Michigan State. This year, MSU landed Alex, one of the highest-ranked recruits in MSU history. Per 247, the 4-star DL is the No. 29-ranked all-time recruit at Michigan State (star-ranking era).

What position did they recruit the best?

Six of 10 of MSU’s top signees are listed as WR or ATH — so it’s obvious that the Spartans are looking for playmakers in the upcoming class. With 4-star ATH Dillon Tatum and 4-star Jared Mangham — both top recruits in Michigan — the Spartans are stacked with explosive incoming freshmen. Add 4-star Antonio Gates Jr., the son of NFL legend Antonio Gates, and MSU has a group of young talent that’s poised to make numbers.

What position do they still need to recruit?

The Spartans need a future cornerstone QB — and that may be Houser. If not, MSU needs to keep looking. Might not be in this class, but maybe the next class (2023).

Michigan State has done well when it comes to replenishing the well. By way of transfer, the Spartans scored a major running back in Jalen Berger, formerly of Wisconsin. He’s the only designated RB in the Spartans’ upcoming haul. MSU needs to find a follow-up to Doak Walker-winning RB Kenneth Walker III.

Did they keep the best players home?

Since the days of Mark Dantonio, the Spartans have routinely secured the top talent in Michigan — and this year was no different. The No. 3-ranked recruit in the Mitten, Alex VanSumeren adds incredible value to the DL. Jared Mangham and Dillon Tatum, along with Antonio Gates Jr., were highly-coveted in-staters as well. Michigan State got them all.

MSU relies heavily on tapping the metro-Detroit well, along with mining the rest of the state, for its best players. Typically, anyways. Other than Will Johnson, a 5-star CB who committed to UM, the Spartans definitely signed the best that Michigan had to offer.

Overall, how you should feel about this class …

It’s always nice for a school to know it has a future star QB in the recruiting mix, but that’s not the case for MSU this time around. However, the Spartans stocked up on athletes/WRs, so it’s logical to anticipate a fireworks-oriented offense in years to come. Tucker has made that much clear during his 2 years in East Lansing: Big plays will be part of the mix at all times.

Feel good about this class. Houser at QB could be the next big thing in EL — so at least there’s that. Getting Tatum and Mangham were major scores when it comes to in-state dominance — something that Tucker hopes to carry over from the Dantonio era — and that’s another reason to like MSU’s 2022 class.