Where Michigan State, Michigan football's 2022 recruiting classes rank as offseason begins

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Michigan State football and Michigan football should have plenty of momentum after each surprised with at least 11 wins in 2021.

But in college football, you're only as good as your next recruiting class. So let's take a look at the future, with help from ESPN's recent class of 2022 rankings and similar rankings from 247 Sports.

Texas A&M continues to lead both lists, followed by fellow SEC schools Alabama and Georgia. Jimbo Fisher and the Aggies have six five-star commits, according to 247 Sports, and 21 ESPN 300 prospects — each the best in the nation.

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Ohio State is, again, the top team in the Big Ten. It ranked No. 4 in the country after recently securing commitments from ESPN 300 recruits DE Omari Abor and OL Carson Hinzman. Texas would be fourth in the SEC, but since it's still in the Big 12, its No. 5 overall class is best in its conference.

After No. 5, ESPN and 247 Sports split, with 247 Sports ranking Penn State, Notre Dame and North Carolina next and ESPN ranking Notre Dame, Penn State and Michigan next.

Both services ranked Michigan State in the top 25, with ESPN a bit more bullish on the Spartans.

Michigan strong but third in Big Ten

Michigan comes in as having a top-10 class, per each ranking. ESPN puts the Wolverines at No. 8 overall and No. 3 in the Big Ten. That latter number is down from 2021, when U-M was ranked No. 2 in the conference by ESPN.

WR Tyler Morris (ranked No. 135 overall by ESPN) and CB Will Johnson (No. 19) lead the way on offense and defense for the Wolverines, according to ESPN.

"The secondary has benefited with strong pickups in Johnson, ESPN 300 safety Zeke Berry and four-star Kody Jones," writes Craig Haubert. "The rangy and heady Johnson is a key commitment, as he is not only among the top five cornerback prospects in the class but also the top-rated player in the state of Michigan.

"Jones, who possesses excellent quickness, is listed as an athlete but projects to cornerback. Berry can be a versatile player in the back end in the mold of former Wolverines defender Jabrill Peppers."

U-M's seven ESPN 300 recruits is behind North Carolina and Oklahoma, but those teams are ranked behind Michigan's 23 recruits.

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Haubert appreciates incoming QB Jayden Denegal's arm strength and said TE Marlin Klein could emerge as an offensive weapon.

247 Sports slots Michigan ninth nationally, which is up from last year. But ranking third in 2022 is a spot lower than 2021. (U-M has the No. 2 class in the Big Ten for 2023, according to 247 Sports.)

Three defenders are the highest-ranked prospects by 247 Sports, with Johnson (20th nationally), DL Derrick Moore (79th nationally) and S Keon Sabb (94th nationally) leading the way, followed by Morris (115th).

Michigan has 10 four-stars, trailing Penn State, which has 15. Both have has one five-star recruit.

Ohio State has 16 four-stars and two five-stars, per 247 Sports.

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Michigan State slides higher in the Big Ten

The Spartans didn't get any five-stars — or many four-stars — but built a solid class headlined by multiple prospects from Michigan, Georgia and Florida, among other states.

ESPN put MSU 15th in the nation and fourth in the Big Ten, ahead of Rutgers and Indiana. Five of the ESPN 300 landed with Mel Tucker and the Spartans.

"DT Alex VanSumeren, a one-time Michigan commit, possesses good initial quickness and excellent strength, and has the tools to anchor their defensive line unit in coming seasons," Haubert writes. "Rangy ATH Jaden Mangham could play on either side of the ball, likely best contributing in the secondary.

"ESPN 300 WR Antonio Gates Jr. is a nice-sized target with some savviness as a route runner and the ability to make tough catches in traffic. The Spartans went out west to land four-star QB Katin Houser, a passer with good mechanics and a strong arm."

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Dillon Tatum (No. 253) is the top offensive commit — he's listed at ATH, though he's likely to play at defensive back — and CB Caleb Coley (No. 193) is the top defensive commit, according to ESPN.

247 Sports isn't quite as high on Coley but is higher on VanSumeren, who it tabs as the No. 187 recruit in the country and MSU's best 2022 player. QB Katin Houser is second at No. 216 and Tatum third at No. 262.

MSU climbs from 10th in the Big Ten last year to fifth in 247 Sports' 2022 rankings. The Spartans' national rank of No. 21 is a nice increase from No. 46 last year (and a projected No. 39 next year, but there's time to fix that).

Five four-stars and 17 three-stars made up the Spartans' 22 commits.

Follow the Free Press on Facebook and Twitter for more news. Tyler Davis can be contacted at tjdavis@freepress.com or on Twitter @TDavisFreep.

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This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: How MSU, Michigan football's 2022 recruiting classes rank

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