The wait is over.
After months of speculation and a bitter recruiting battle, five-star offensive tackle Samson Okunlola of Brockerton, Mass., Thayer Academy has announced his commitment to Miami. The 6-foot-5, 305-pounder had the Hurricanes in his “Final Four” alongside Michigan State, Florida and Alabama.
MSU head coach Mel Tucker and offensive line coach Chris Kapilovic went all in on Okunlola’s recruitment and made a lasting impression on the five-star players. The Spartans hosted Okunlola last summer on the weekend of June 10 and were right in the thick of the fight until the very end.
Unfortunately, Michigan State fell just short in recruiting for the 20th overall player in the state, according to 247Sports rankings.
Miami and Michigan State went toe-to-toe for Okunlola from the start of his recruiting, while Florida has made a late push for the five-star. That commitment came just days after his last visit to Florida last week.
While it’s encouraging to see Michigan State scrambling for five-star talent outside of the Midwest, there aren’t any morale victories in recruiting. This is a big loss for MSU, who need an offensive tackle. The Spartans regained some recruitment momentum this week, but not enough to land Okunlola. Now MSU must turn to “Plan B” for an offensive tackle.
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Fortunately, the Spartans already have a “Plan B” in the works — four-star junior college transfer target Keyshaun Blackstone from Coffeyville Community College in Covington, Georgia. Blackstone is listed as the #4 JUCO transfer prospect in the country, and has a “final five” from Michigan State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee and USC.
If Tucker and Kapilovic are able to land Blackstone, that would take some of the sting out of missing Okunlola.
Since the end of their disappointing 2022 season, Michigan State has been very active on the recruiting path, struggling for some of the best players remaining on their board. However, after hosting several five-stars at East Lansing last summer, he failed to land one in the 2023 class.
Winning five-star recruitment battles is tough, and the fact that the Spartans fell short in those battles isn’t the end of the world. However, it’s disappointing considering the state of Michigan has invited nine of the top 100 players for official visits. The Spartans have landed one of those players – four-star EDGE Bai Jobe (No. 82 in the country).
With Okunlola off the board, we’ll see how Michigan State approaches offensive tackle position in the coming months. Blackstone is the next best option, but the Spartans may need to dive back into the transfer portal as well.
With 13 prospects currently committed to their Class of 2023, Michigan State still has work to do and many spots to fill by the second signing period in February.
Oral Pledges by the State of Michigan, Class of 2023
- Four-star EDGE Bai Jobe; Congregational Christian School; Norman, Oklahoma; #82 statewide, #14 EDGE, #1 in the state of Oklahoma
- Four Star DL Andrew Depaepe; Pleasant Valley High School; Bettendorf, Iowa; No. 137 statewide, No. 16 defensive lineman, No. 2 Iowa state
- Four Star LB Jordan Hall; IMG Academy; Bradenton, Florida; No. 179 nationally, No. 16 linebacker, No. 41 Florida state
- Four Star DL Jalen Thompson; Technical University of Cass; Detroit, Michigan; No. 219 statewide, No. 32 defensive lineman, No. 3 Michigan state
- Four Star OT Stanton Ramil; Thompson High School; Alabaster, Alabama; #222 national, #20 offensive tackle, #17 Alabama state
- Four Star TE Brennan Parachek; Dexter High School; Dexter, Michigan; #326 statewide, #18 tight end, #6 Michigan state
- Four-star QB Sam Leavitt; West Linn Grammar School; Westlinn, Ore.; #373 national, #23 quarterback, #1 Oregon state
- Four Star LB Jayvant Brown; Gymnasium St. Thomas Aquinas; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; #394 national, #31 linebacker, #72 state Florida
- Four Star IOL Cole Dellinger; Clarkston High School; Clarkston, Michigan; #403 national, #26 interior offensive lineman, #7 Michigan state
- Four Star CB Chance Rucker; Ryan High School; Denton, Texas; No. 406 national, No. 40 cornerback; No. 68 in the state of Texas
- Three Star CB Eddie Pleasant III; Carrollwood Day High School; Tampa, Florida; No. 854 national, No. 83 cornerback; No. 125 in the state of Florida
- Three Star ATH Aziah Johnson; Thomas Jefferson High School; Richmond, VA; #1013 national, #80 athlete, #28 in the state of Virginia
- Three Star ATH Jaelon Barbarin; Chaminade High School; Simi Valley, California; #1116 national, #94 athlete, #99 state of California