On a crisp afternoon in January, in a small conference room in the back of the conference office of the Badgers’ athletics department, it’s hard to believe there was such a big announcement.
It was only a few months ago that the school had officially hired offensive line coach Mike Gesicki and defensive line coach Steve Smith as co-offensive coordinators.
But it was still quite a while before those two were the new faces of their respective programs.
After all, they were only a year removed from their first season as offensive line coaches and, according to multiple reports, already had the Badger recruiting staff ready to go.
“Mike and Steve are good football coaches,” said Mark Schlesinger, the athletic director for the Badgs, when asked about the two hires.
“I mean, they’ve got a really good football program.
I think we’re a little bit ahead of the curve.”
The only question left, after those two hires, was when Michigan State would officially announce their 2017 class.
That would be December 31st.
That was the day that Wisconsin would be awarded its second consecutive Big Ten Championship and would be a one-loss team.
But in that first press conference, after the Badging had beaten Wisconsin in the Fiesta Bowl, and after the Wolverines had already clinched a berth in the Rose Bowl, there was a very real possibility that Michigan State might not have any new players on the roster.
In order to get the most out of their players, Meyer had to make the biggest splash of the offseason, one that would likely land them a top-10 pick in next year’s NFL Draft.
That’s when Mike Gesiki, the offensive line and defensive tackle for the Spartans, was hired.
The hire was not without controversy.
Gesickich was not an offensive lineman, nor was he a defensive tackle.
Neither was he considered a quality recruiter, although Meyer did say that he wanted to be the one to take a player like Gesickis on.
“The thing that I wanted to do was I wanted Mike to go out and say, ‘Hey, this is who we want to recruit,’ and then the next thing you know, he’s been there, he knows the system,” Meyer said.
“So he’s got a real good understanding of it.
And so I didn’t want to get in the way of that.”
In the spring of 2017, Gesickit did just that.
The Spartans had already signed defensive end David DeCastro, an incoming sophomore, to a four-year, $17.5 million deal.
And after DeCastros recruitment, Gesillich and Meyer were the only two coaches in the country to sign a first-round pick, signing cornerback Trevon Bortles to a five-year deal in late February.
When Meyer and Gesick were done, the two sides had agreed to terms on a five year deal worth $37 million.
“There were definitely times that I felt like it was the wrong way to go, and then when you’re trying to figure out, ‘Oh, is this the right thing to do?’ it was a difficult decision, but it was also something I thought was the right decision,” Gesickith said.
But the two still had a ways to go before they could officially make their mark on the program.
And that’s where Gesickisi came in.
The first time the two talked, they both knew the other was coming.
“It was like a dream come true for us,” Gesic said.
The fact that Gesick is a three-year starter at tackle for Michigan State, having played his college football at the same school that he and Gesic played football at, and having been recruited to play at Michigan State by Meyer, who was at the time the Big Ten’s head coach, has left some in the Spartan Nation feeling a bit conflicted.
“That was a dream coming true for him,” Gesinki said.
And yet the two did not exactly know who they were signing, or when.
Gesillis and Gesikis first met at Michigan’s spring practice.
They were both eager to make a splash.
The two had already met at the combine, when they both told reporters that they were interested in making the jump from defensive line to offensive tackle.
But as soon as they stepped into the building, the moment became immediately more intense.
“When we first walked in, it was very emotional,” Gesik said.
“[Coach] Meyer just came up to us and said, ‘I just want to thank you for this opportunity, because this is something I’ve been dreaming about, and I’ve never had this opportunity before.
I’m excited for you guys to come to Michigan State.’
And I said, I don’t know how to say this but, I’ve always wanted to play this position.
I’ve got to get better at it.