Michigan State Spartans College Football Preview 2021: Defense
– Mel Tucker is a defensive head coach, and coordinator Scottie Hazelton is a longtime well-traveled veteran who’s seen a little of everything. Last year’s defense allowed just under 400 yards per game but it was dead last in the Big Ten in scoring D giving up 35 points per game.
Leading tackler Antjuan Simmons is done, but there’s hope for the …
– Linebackers. The Spartans have a few good ones in Noah Harvey for the middle and fourth-leading tackler Chase Kline. Simmons will be sorely missed, but Harvey and Kline are 6-4, 235-pound space-eaters who should rise with their bigger roles.
The pass rush has to come from the front four – Simmons led the team in tackles for loss. Super-senior end Drew Beesley is a decent playmaker in the backfield, Duke transfer Drew Jordan will push for a starting job, and Jacub Panasiuk is a longtime starting end who came up with five sacks in 2019.
The run D should be stronger with veteran 300-pounders in a rotation. Jalen Hunt and Jacob Slade are huge, 300-pound Dashaun Mallory has good size, and there’s depth behind them.
– Shakur Brown came up with five picks last year. The rest of the Michigan State Spartans came up with as many interceptions as you did. Brown is gone, but Kalon Gervin is a veteran at one corner and the transfer portal is bringing in a few key new parts.
Four corners – Khary Crump (Arizona), Chester Kimbrough (Florida), Marqui Lowery (Louisville) and Ronald Williams (Alabama) are on the way.
Angelo Grose is a good-tackling safety who’ll work at nickel and 6-1, 210-pound senior Xavier Henderson finished third on the team with 41 tackles from his safety job.