How Michigan State Football Transfers Have Performed at New Schools This Season
After suffering back-to-back losses in the middle of the 2020 season, Mel Tucker challenged his team.
The Michigan State coach said “compete to play, compete to stay” while describing expectations.
Those who stayed were part of a historic turnaround as the Spartans went from 2-5 in 2020 to 11-2 this season. This was after Tucker reshuffled the roster after his first year at the helm of the program, bringing 15 scholarship transfers to a squad of 41 new players heading to fall camp. Michigan State also lost 27 players on the portal between November 2020 and May 2021.
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Here’s a recap of how the transfers that left after Tucker took over the program played out in their first seasons at the New Schools:
Julian Barnett, CB, Memphis
Barnett had seven tackles and a half-sack in eight games with a single start. The Tigers (6-6) were scheduled to play Hawaii in the Hawaii Bowl, but that was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns for the Rainbow Warriors.
At MSU: A former Belleville High School first-60 rookie, Barnett made 13 catches for 182 yards while appearing in all 13 games as a true rookie in 2019. He moved to defensive back in second year and made three tackles in six. matches with one start. to nickelback.
Jeslord Boateng, LB, Akron
Boateng posted team-highs with 80 tackles and 4.5 tackles for a loss and tied for the lead with 1.5 sacks as he started all 11 games he appeared in for the Zips (2-10).
At MSU: Boateng didn’t play like a true freshman in 2018 and made 10 tackles in 18 games over the next two seasons.
Theo Day, QB, Northern Iowa
Day took over in Game 3 of the season and completed 56.2% of his passes (155 vs. 276) for 2,316 yards, 16 touchdowns and 11 interceptions and rushed for 49 yards in 11 games. He was named to the Missouri Valley Football Conference (FCS) newcomer squad after the Panthers finished 6-6.
At MSU: Day didn’t play like a true freshman in 2018 and was 2 on 3 passing 12 yards in two appearances the following season. He didn’t play in 2020 after falling to the third string of the depth chart.
Devontae Dobbs, OL, Memphis
Dobbs appeared in five games and closed the season listed as a save left tackle on the depths board. He only played four snaps on offense, according to Pro Football Focus.
At MSU: A former Belleville First 60 rookie who was a high school teammate with Barnett, Dobbs has appeared in four games in left tackle with a start as a true rookie in 2019. He didn’t dress for a game in 2020.
Luke Fulton, LB, Kentucky
Fulton appeared in 10 special team games and didn’t record any stats as the Wildcats finished 10-3 with a Citrus Bowl victory over Iowa.
At MSU: Fulton did not play as a true freshman in 2019 and was suspended from the squad ahead of the start of the 2020 season following an arrest at East Lansing.
Tommy Guajardo, TE, bowling green
Guajardo did not appear in a game for the Falcons, who finished 4-8.
At MSU: Guajardo did not appear in a game as a true freshman in 2020.
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Devin Hightower, LB, Cincinnati
Hightower had five tackles in four games for the Bearcats (13-1), who lost to Alabama in the college football playoff semifinals.
At MSU: Hightower appeared in a special teams match as a true freshman in 2020.
Chris Jackson, CB, Washington State
Jackson had five tackles and one fumble in nine games with a start for the Cougars (7-6), who ended the season with a loss to Central Michigan at the Sun Bowl.
At MSU: Jackson didn’t play like a true freshman in 2018 and made 10 tackles, including two for a loss, and a broken assist in nine career games with two starts in the next two seasons.
Damon Kaylor, OL, Ball State
Kaylor started all 12 games he appeared (11 in right tackle and one in right guard) for the Cardinals, who ended the season 6-7 with a loss to Georgia State at the Camellia Bowl.
At MSU: Kaylor has not appeared in a two-season game with the program.
Marcel Lewis, LB, Central Michigan
Lewis has appeared in two games and recorded no stats for the Chippewas (9-4) before entering the portal again in September and announcing via Twitter in November that his football career is over.
At MSU: Lewis appeared in three games on special teams in 2019 as a true freshman. After initially retiring from the 2020 season due to COVID-19 issues, he chose to return and did not appear in the first four games before becoming the first Spartan to enter the portal during tenure. by Tucker.
Rocky Lombardi, QB, Northern Illinois
Lombardi completed 58.3% of his passes (200 for 343) for 2,597 yards, 15 touchdowns and eight interceptions and rushed for 473 yards and nine scores while starting all 13 games he’s been in. He threw for a school record 532 yards, plus three touchdowns, in a Nov. 3 loss at Kent State and led the team to seven wins by eight points or less. A season after the Huskies were 0-6, they beat Kent State in the MAC Championship game at Ford Field and went 9-5 after losing to Coastal Carolina at the Cure Bowl.
At MSU: After taking on a red jersey as a true rookie in 2017, Lombardi completed 47.9% of his passes (159 for-332) for 1,902 yards, 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 22 games over the next three seasons while by displaying a record of 4-5 as an entry. He started the first six games in 2020 before being injured and missing the season finale.
Dominique Long, CB, Duke
Long had six tackles, a broken pass and a forced fumble while appearing in all 12 games as a reserve cornerback and special teams contributor for the Blue Devils (3-9).
At MSU: Long has had 51 tackles, two broken assists and one blocked punt in 44 career games with a four-season start, while also serving as a special teams star.
Chris Mayfield, DE, Ohio
Mayfield has not recorded any stats appearing in two games for the Bobcats (3-9).
At MSU: Mayfield did not appear in a game as an actual freshman in 2020.
Tre’Von Morgan, WR, Kentucky
Morgan has not appeared in a game this season as he suffered from hamstring injuries.
At MSU: After missing his real freshman season in 2019 with knee surgery, Morgan played four games in 2020 and made two catches for 46 yards and one touchdown in a loss at Penn State.
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Jack Olsen, K, Northwest
Olsen attempted two kickoffs and was 1 to 1 on extra point attempts while appearing in two games for the Wildcats (3-9).
At MSU: Olsen, a Michigan State Recruiting Class of 2020 scholar, did not appear in a game as an actual freshman.
Jasiyah Robinson, LB, East Carolina
Robinson made two tackles while appearing in two games for the Pirates (7-5). They were scheduled to play at Boston College in the Military Bowl, but that was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns for the Eagles.
At MSU: Robinson did not dress for a game before retiring from the 2020 season as a true freshman.
Max Rosenthal, TE, Illinois
Rosenthal has not recorded any stats appearing in eight games for the Fighting Illini (5-7).
At MSU: Rosenthal, who joined the Spartans as a full-back in 2017, has played 20 career games with two starts. He recovered a fumble for a touchdown in Maryland in 2018, landed a one-yard touchdown in Michigan the following year and did not appear in a game in 2020.
Justin Stevens, OL, Southern Alabama
Southern Alabama doesn’t list Stevens as a participant this season, while Pro Football Focus lists him for playing a game for the Jaguars (5-7).
At MSU: Stevens has retired from his true freshman season in 2020 due to COVID-19 issues.
DeAri Todd, DE, Montana
Todd had 13 tackles, including 1.5 for loss, and a half-sack in 12 games for the Grizzlies (10-3), an FCS program that opened the season with a surprise win in Washington.
At MSU: Todd didn’t appear in a game for four years with the program.
Charles Willekes, LB, State of Arkansas
Willekes recorded 18 tackles, including a career-high 10 in a loss to Georgia State, while appearing in 11 games for the Red Wolves (2-10).
At MSU: Willekes, the younger brother of former Michigan State All-American defensive end Kenny Willekes, joined the program as a substitute and appeared in a game on special teams as a true freshman in 2019. He was suspended ahead of the 2020 season after being arrested in connection with the same incident as Fulton.
Anthony Williams Jr., RB, Akron
Williams had 56 carries for 207 yards and one touchdown and seven catches for 74 yards while appearing in 10 games for the Zips.
At MSU: Williams Jr. has 42 carries for 123 yards and one touchdown and seven catches for 82 yards in 14 games over two seasons.
Davion Williams, CB, Western Kentucky
Williams had 18 tackles and two interceptions – which he returned 45 yards for a touchdown in a win at Marshall – in 13 games with a start. He made three tackles in a 48-31 loss to Michigan State on Oct. 2. The Hilltoppers (9-5) ended the season with a win over Appalachian State at the Boca Raton Bowl.
At MSU: Williams had 14 tackles, two fumbles recovered and one forced fumble in 23 games in three seasons.
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