Jonathan Smith flexed recruiting muscle in recruiting win over Alabama

Michigan State's head coach Jonathan Smith walks to the sideline during the Spring Showcase on
Michigan State's head coach Jonathan Smith walks to the sideline during the Spring Showcase on / Nick King/Lansing State Journal / USA

When you think of Jonathan Smith, the first thing that comes to mind is "program-builder". While he's not quite an elite recruiter like Kirby Smart or Ryan Day, he has found a way to make a name for himself by turning around his alma mater before getting poached by Michigan State.

After a successful tenure at Oregon State, Smith decided to take the leap to the Big Ten with uncertainty surrounding the Beavers and the implosion of the Pac-12.

Though he was never an "elite" recruiter, he was able to locate talent and develop it. He's the kind of coach who can turn a three-star into an NFL draft pick but he's not going to challenge the likes of Ohio State, Georgia, and Alabama for five-stars every year.

But the transfer portal is a different beast. And that's where Smith has thrived.

In order to turn programs around quickly and efficiently, the transfer portal must be utilized heavily and Smith knows that. He's landed over a dozen players from the portal this offseason and has a top-20 transfer class on 247Sports.

On Tuesday, he flexed that portal recruiting muscle, landing Arizona State cornerback Ed Woods over Alabama.

I know, that sounds crazy. Alabama probably could've landed Woods had it really wanted him, right? Well, he was on a visit to Tuscaloosa over the weekend and the staff was pushing for him to commit to the Tide, but Smith and the Spartans were able to convince him to take one final visit to Michigan State on Monday.

Woods committed to the Spartans on Tuesday.

While this may just be a one-off, it shows that Smith has pull with these transfers who are buying into his system and his vision. They believe in him as a head coach and they're willing to help turn Michigan State around with him.

Alabama will be just fine, but Michigan State is in really, really good hands.

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