Michigan State's success on the field is paying dividends in recruiting circles off the field, too.
The Spartans, who finished in the top five after their win over Baylor in the Cotton Bowl, made a mark with four-star quarterback Messiah deWeaver of Huber Heights Wayne (Ohio), who is likely to commit to MSU when he announces his college choice on Wednesday night at his high school.
"Everything I've heard with him is that it would be a big-time shock if he didn't end up at Michigan State," said Allen Trieu, Midwest recruiting analyst for Scout.com. "There is probably a little bit of room for a surprise, but the absolute smart money is that it's Michigan State — and it's been that way for a long time."
deWeaver had committed to Michigan last year but reopened his recruitment in January after UM's coaching transition from Brady Hoke to Jim Harbaugh.
But MSU's interest in deWeaver is more than just poaching a recruit from a rival; deWeaver fits the mold of the Spartans' quarterbacks and provides a good fit.
"He brings some of the things they like," Trieu said. "Not only does he have the physical stuff, size and arm and the things you can see on film, but the fact the kid has started on varsity at a very good school since his freshman year, that's a big part of it. He's a leader and a winner and those are some of the things they always look for in their quarterback recruits.
"Some of these guys they've gotten in the past haven't been big-time recruits but turn out well because they have the intangibles behind that, and Messiah has a lot of that."
At 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, deWeaver is ranked among the top 20 pro-style quarterbacks in the class of 2016. Kentucky also was on deWeaver's list, but when Gunnar Hoak of Dublin, Ohio, committed to the Wildcats on Sunday, MSU was left as the most likely destination for deWeaver.
deWeaver is expected to be in attendance this weekend for the MSU's spring game at Spartan Stadium.
ESPN lauds deWeaver as a physically-gifted quarterback, calling him "a lanky, late bloomer physically with good frame development upside. Is an accurate thrower that shows patience and toughness within the pocket to work through his progressions."
But the biggest connection to the Spartans could be deWeaver's relationship with the coaching staff. His two most recent unofficial visits have been to MSU, likely solidifying the decision. That he's built a rapport with coach Mark Dantonio and taken more visits is no coincidence.
"They've always done it that way — valued getting kids on campus," Trieu said. "You never see them offer kids without them meeting the kid, having the kid and parents come up, and you never see them take commitments from kids until they can get to know that kid — and that's part of their success.
"You rarely, if ever, see kids decommit from Michigan State and go to other schools."
deWeaver also considered Arkansas, Louisville, Penn State and Mississippi State.