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Five prospects that new Michigan State coach Jonathan Smith should target

Michigan State has announced the hiring of Oregon State's Jonathan Smith as the program's next head coach. The Spartans' eight-member 2024 class ranks at the bottom of the Big Ten at No. 92 overall in the Rivals Team Recruiting Rankings, so Smith has his work cut out for him on the recruiting trail.

Here are five prospects that Smith should immediately prioritize once he's on the ground in East Lansing:


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Bryce Underwood
Bryce Underwood (

This may be a long shot as the previous Michigan State staff did a poor job of recruiting Underwood and the Spartans did not make his top group of programs. But, when the nation’s best 2025 quarterback is in your backyard you shoot your shot and you make him say no repeatedly before giving up. One of the reasons Smith was targeted by Michigan State is for his development of quarterbacks and he needs to sell that to Underwood - Come to Michigan State and you can be the face of the program while leading us to greatness.


Andrew Dennis
Andrew Dennis (Orange and Blue News)

Dennis is a one-time Spartan commit who decommitted after the firing of Mel Tucker, but has said all along that he will still consider Michigan State and he holds the program in high regard. Smith will need to build up the trenches in order to have success in the Big Ten and not only is Dennis low hanging fruit having been a former commit, he has some of the best senior offensive line film I have seen this recruiting cycle. Dennis is set for a rankings bump during the upcoming release and would be a slam dunk commitment.


Nicholas Marsh
Nicholas Marsh (Nick Lucero/

Marsh is already committed to the Spartans and has stuck with the program through thick and then. Even after decommitting from Mel Tucker early he recommitted and remained solid despite the uncertainty following the dismissal of Tucker. Marsh has taken visits, so he isn’t a sure thing, but It would appear he is looking for every reason to stay and Smith making the four-star a priority could go a long way towards signing Marsh next month.



Reggie Powers
Reggie Powers

Powers, another former Spartan pledge, seems about as solid as can be with his new commitment to Oklahoma. But if I’m Smith, I’m definitely taking my shot with Powers because if he liked the program enough the first time around - who’s to say that he won’t like it enough to reconsider now that there is stability in East Lansing. Powers has the talent to be the face of the defense and if you want to turn a program fast, he is the type of prospect you need to land.



Desman Stephens
Desman Stephens (Nick Lucero/

Stephens just committed to USC on Thanksgiving, so his pledge is fresh and it shouldn’t be too insurmountable for a strong recruiting effort by Smith and his new staff to overcome. Stephens is a special prospect and the old Michigan State staff totally botched his recruitment by not offering the in-state star until very late in this recruiting cycle. Stephens is going to be a future star in the Big Ten either way, so Smith and staff would be wise to make him a priority to star for the Spartans opposed to the Trojans.