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Will Mel Tucker scandal cause former Penn State target to reopen recruitment?

In July, Penn State lost out on one of its top targets in the 2024 cycle to Michigan State. But given recent developments in East Lansing, will this recruitment reopen?

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Penn State football, former Penn State target, Nick Marsh, Mel Tucker, Michigan State
Nov 26, 2022; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin (left) and Michigan State Spartans head coach Mel Tucker (right) shake hands following the competition of the game at Beaver Stadium. Penn State defeated Michigan State 35-16. Mandatory Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

Over the weekend, the explosive news broke that Michigan State head coach Mel Tucker had been suspended without pay amid an ongoing investigation into sexual harassment claims. Although he is still technically the Spartans head coach, many expect his days in East Lansing to be numbered. This situation has many unfortunate real-world consequences, but it will also lead to significant changes for Michigan State on the field. But given all the shake-ups likely heading for Michigan State, is it possible that former Penn State football top target and current Spartans commit Nick Marsh could reopen his recruitment?

Michigan State head coach Mel Tucker suspended amid sexual harassment claims

Late Saturday night/early Sunday morning, the USA Today reported that Michigan State football coach Mel Tucker is the subject of an ongoing sexual harassment investigation. The investigation, reported to have started last December, claims that Tucker made inappropriate comments and actions towards rape survivor and advocate Brenda Tracy.

As the news trickled out Sunday, it was unclear if Tucker would make it through the weekend as Michigan State head coach. Several outlets reported Sunday afternoon that Tucker had been fired by the university. Ultimately, a Michigan State news conference revealed that Tucker had been suspended without pay until a formal hearing on the investigation occurs in early October.

However, as several top reporters, including Brett McMurphy of the Action Network, note, this move is merely a formality, and Mel Tucker is not expected to remain as the Michigan State head coach.

Will former Penn State top target Nick Marsh reopen his recruitment?

While the repercussions of this situation will carry on for some time, there are some immediate consequences on the field. Michigan State must first get through the 2023 season with interim head coach Harlon Barnett. Former Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio will also return in a support role. Whether it be Barnett or someone else, Michigan State must find a new head coach for the 2024 season.

Meanwhile, the Spartans must also try to keep its 2024 recruiting class intact. A key name that Penn State football fans may want to keep on their radar in the coming months is four-star WR Nick Marsh.

From River Rouge High School in Michigan, Marsh had initially committed to the Spartans in July 2022. Marsh eventually backed off this commitment, and it appeared like he would end up at Penn State for quite some time.

After his official visit in early June, several outlets predicted Marsh would commit to Penn State. However, Mel Tucker and Michigan State closed strong, and Marsh committed to the Spartans in early July.

Marsh and several of his River Rouge teammates were at Michigan State’s game versus Richmond on Saturday. He is expected to make a return visit this weekend when No. 8 Washington comes to East Lansing. But we will see if recent developments change those plans.

While Michigan State will always have the home appeal for Marsh, Penn State was clearly in the running during his recruitment for a long time. Given the controversy brewing in East Lansing, he may ultimately give Happy Valley a second look. Don’t be surprised if Nick Marsh eventually pops back up on recruiting boards in the coming months.



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Matt is a co-owner and Editor in Chief of Basic Blues Nation. Launched in 2022, Basic Blues Nation is one of the fastest-growing websites covering all Penn State athletics, with over 3.5 million readers in 2023. Matt is also a credentialed member of the Penn State football beat, and is a member of the Football Writers Association of America.

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