Previewing the Michigan State Spartans


Nov 12, 2022; East Lansing, Michigan, USA; Michigan State Spartans celebrate their 27-21 win over the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Young-USA TODAY Sports

Just like the NFL season is right around the corner, college campuses are preparing to welcome back their football squads for the fall season. As the summer progresses we will be taking a look into how many of the FBS college football programs fared in 2022, what they did during the offseason, and how they can find success during the 2023 season. As we continue our tour through the Big Ten, today, we move onto the Michigan State Spartans.

Overview

GALLERY: Ohio State at Michigan State Football

2022 Results

  1. W vs. Western Michigan, 35-13
  2. W vs. Akron, 52-0
  3. L @ Washington State, 28-39
  4. L vs. Minnesota, 7-34
  5. L @ Maryland, 13-27
  6. L vs. (3) Ohio State, 20-49
  7. W vs. Wisconsin, 34-28
  8. L @ (4) Michigan, 7-29
  9. W @ (14) Illinois, 23-15
  10. W vs. Rutgers, 27-21
  11. L vs. Indiana, 31-39
  12. L @ (11) Penn State, 16-35
    Overall Record: 5-7 (3-6)

All-Big Ten Members

  • WR Jayden Reed (Coaches Second-Team)
  • WR Keon Coleman (Media Third-Team)
  • LB Cal Haladay (Coaches and Media Second-Team)
  • P Bryce Baringer (Coaches First-Team, Media Second-Team)
  • PR Jayden Reed (Media Third-Team)

Recent Vikings Draft Picks

  • WR Jalen Nailor (2022 Draft; R6, P191)
  • DE Kenny Willekes (2020 Draft; R7, P225)
  • CB Trae Waynes (2015 Draft; R1, P11)

2023 Draft Selections

  • R2, P50: WR Jayden Reed (Green Bay Packers)
  • R6, P192: P Bryce Baringer (New England Patriots)
  • R6, P214: CB Ameer Speed (New England Patriots)

2023 Schedule

  1. 9/1 vs. Central Michigan
  2. 9/9 vs. Richmond
  3. 9/16 vs. Washington
  4. 9/23 vs. Maryland
  5. 9/30 @ Iowa
  6. 10/14 @ Rutgers
  7. 10/21 vs. Michigan
  8. 10/28 @ Minnesota
  9. 11/4 vs. Nebraska
  10. 11/11 @ Ohio State
  11. 11/18 @ Indiana
  12. 11/24 vs. Penn State

Notable Additions

West Linn’s Sam Leavitt (10) throws a pass during the 6A OSAA State Championship game against Sheldon on Friday, Nov. 25, 2022 at Hillsboro Stadium in Hillsboro, Ore.

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  • QB Sam Leavitt (four-star recruit)
  • RB Jaren Mangham (transfer portal, USF)
  • RB Nathan Carter (transfer portal, UConn)
  • WR Alante Brown (transfer portal, Nebraska)
  • TE Jaylan Franklin (transfer portal, Wisconsin)
  • TE Tyneil Hooper (transfer portal, Boise State)
  • TE Ademola Faleye (transfer portal, Norfolk State)
  • OT Stanton Ramil (four-star recruit)
  • IOL Keyshawn Blackstock (four-star recruit)
  • DL Andrew Depaepe (four-star recruit)
  • DL Jalen Thompson (four-star recruit)
  • DL Dre Butler (transfer portal, Liberty)
  • EDGE Bai Jobe (four-star recruit)
  • LB Aaron Alexander (transfer portal, UMass)
  • LB Jordan Hall (four-star recruit)
  • CB Semar Melvin (transfer portal, Wisconsin)
  • K Jonathan Kim (transfer portal, North Carolina)

Notable Losses

Michigan State’s Payton Thorne runs for a gain against Rutgers during the second quarter on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022, in East Lansing.
  • QB Payton Thorne (transfer portal, Auburn)
  • RB Elijah Collins (transfer portal, Oklahoma State)
  • WR Keon Coleman (transfer portal, Florida State)
  • WR Germie Bernard (transfer portal, Washington)
  • WR Terry Lockett (transfer portal, Eastern Michigan)
  • WR Jayden Reed (NFL Draft, Green Bay Packers)
  • DL Jalen Hunt (transfer portal, Houston)
  • DL Dashaun Mallory transfer portal, Arizona State)
  • EDGE Chase Carter (transfer portal, Incarnate Word)
  • EDGE Jeff Pietrowski (transfer portal, Wisconsin)
  • EDGE Michael Fletcher (transfer portal, Appalachian State)
  • CB Ameer Speed (NFL Draft, New England Patriots)
  • P Bryce Balinger (NFL Draft, New England Patriots)

Keys to 2023

Michigan State Spartans
The Michigan State Spartans warm up before the game against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Spartan Stadium Saturday, October 8, 2022.

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Consistency on the Defense

This was largely due to injuries and suspensions last year, but the Spartans had a very inconsistent defense during the 2022 season. They allowed an average of 27.4 points per game, ranking around the middle of the pack in the FBS. However, there were games where they played fantastic, and others where they were horrific.

For example, they held Illinois to 14 points in a victory, and despite losing to Michigan, holding that offense to just 29 points was no small feat last season. However, they also allowed Washington and Indiana to put 39 points on them, and Ohio State scored 49.

Steadying the Special Teams

Michigan State has a lot of questions on special teams this offseason. Between kickers Ben Patton and Jack Stone, they made just 50% of their field goal attempts last season, and the program is losing their all-conference punter, Bryce Baringer.

The punter averaged 49 yards per punt last season, so it is going to be difficult to replace him this year. As for place kicking, Michigan State is hoping that North Carolina transfer Jonathan Kim will be able to put points on the board for them.

Overcoming Change on Offense

As of this spring, QB Payton Thorne and top WR Keon Coleman are no longer at Michigan State, with Thorne transferring to Auburn and Coleman heading to Florida State. Jayden Reed also heads to the NFL to play with the Green Bay Packers after a strong career with the Spartans.

This was an offense that wasn’t a world-beater by any means in 2022, averaging just 24.4 points per game, but the lack of continuity at QB and the skill positions makes things difficult heading into this fall.

Prediction

  1. W vs. Central Michigan
  2. W vs. Richmond
  3. L vs. Washington
  4. W vs. Maryland
  5. W @ Iowa
  6. W @ Rutgers
  7. L vs. Michigan
  8. L @ Minnesota
  9. W vs. Nebraska
  10. L @ Ohio State
  11. L @ Indiana
  12. L vs. Penn State
    Overall Record: 6-6 (4-5)

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.





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