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How Steve Clinkscale’s presence at Michigan may be affecting MSU’s in-state recruiting

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MSU has been recruiting the state of Michigan very well in 2022.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 03 Georgia at Kentucky Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Part of the discussion on this week’s Future Brew centered around in-state recruiting for football in the 2022 class, and how Michigan State has been picking up some solid players as of late. With Steve Clinkscale not recruiting the same type of players in the state of Michigan that he used to when he was at Kentucky, is this helping the Spartans in the short term?

Von: They’ve really been picking up steam on the recruiting trail, particularly in the state of Michigan over the last two weeks. They’ve picked up two four-star commits in the state, the most recent coming last weekend from four-star athlete Jaden Mangham. Two weeks ago they picked up four-star wide receiver Antonio Gates Jr. Michigan State has risen all the way up to the No. 5 class in the Big Ten and No. 15 overall, which is a very remarkable turnaround from last year, from when they were No. 10 in the conference and No. 45 overall. Both Gates Jr. and Mangham had Kentucky offers, and Mangham’s profile lists Steve Clinkscale as the primary recruiter. Obviously, he has not been recruiting him for a while. It doesn’t say who it was for Mangham, but I’d imagine it was also Steve Clinkscale. Now, during his time at Kentucky, Clink was able to reel in several guys in the state of Michigan to play ball in Lexington. So Stephen, with all this said, I wanna get to you since you kinda had this topic idea here. Kinda where I’m at with this — obviously, Clink is a great in-state recruiter for the state of Michigan. You’d imagine he’ll probably help Michigan land more guys than not. But do you attribute Michigan State’s recent success on the recruiting trail to Clink being at Michigan and not at Kentucky? Because a lot of these guys were not takes for Michigan. They weren’t actively recruiting Gates Jr. or Mangham. You could argue they should have. So, Stephen, what do you think?

Stephen: So, it’s something that is interesting. When you take a guy like Clinkscale away from Kentucky, you’re taking away a lot of really long relationships that he’d built over the years with guys that are usually either fringe four-stars or in the rare case, you’ll have a higher four-star. And it’s a little tricky because my initial thought when I started to watch Michigan State improve on recruiting overall was “that’s usually a guy that would randomly go to Kentucky.” And that’s not really happening as much. But Clinkscale really did do a great job scouting realistic people, and understanding the in-state recruiting in Michigan to find the guys that would be receptive to a team like Kentucky. So, occasionally that would result in a guy like Justin Rogers, Marquan McCall who are top 200 guys that Michigan could have sorely used. And there are a number of those guys in the state of Michigan that Clinkscale was able to get away from that. So in terms of building a recruiting board, knowing the schools and locations that kinda produce that level of talent, that’s something he had to do year in and year out at Kentucky. And he had a long tenure at Kentucky, relative to other coaches in his position. When you combine all that, as well as having to be regional, because Kentucky can’t really go and battle outside the Midwest region for those big names. When you take a guy like him away from Kentucky, you’re taking away the primary competition for a program like Michigan State. And it’s a little worrying because you give Clinkscale a job now that’s a little bit different. Now that he’s at Michigan, he’s not looking for those under the radar guys as much, or at least he shouldn’t be, because he’s at a school that has a much more national level pull.

Listen to the full discussion in the player below.

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