Michigan State Football: 3 things to know about new DC Scottie Hazelton

Mel Tucker, Michigan State football (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)
Mel Tucker, Michigan State football (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images) /
3 of 3

1. Turned Kansas State’s defense around in one year

When you see a coach has moved around quite a bit like Scottie Hazelton has, you’d be led to assume that he can’t effectively keep a job. But that’s not the case with him. He’s quite the opposite, actually. He’s been so good at each job that other programs have come calling and requesting his services.

There’s a reason he started off a schools like Fort Lewis and St. Olaf and ended up at North Dakota State, USC, Nevada, Wyoming, Kansas State and now Michigan State while taking a pit-stop in the NFL with the Jaguars from 2014-16.

Kansas State and Chris Klieman hired him in 2019 to be the defensive coordinator after Hazelton spent two seasons with Wyoming, turning that defense around. It turned out to be the perfect hire for the new head coach in Manhattan as he turned the Wildcats into one of the best defenses in the Big 12.

In fact, Kansas State had the second-best scoring defense in the conference and the 21.4 points per game the Wildcats allowed was their best number since 2003. They were also second in the country in third-down defense (music to Spartan fans’ ears) at 28 percent. The Wildcats also had the second-best passing defense in an aerial-heavy Big 12.

3 reasons Mel Tucker will get MSU back on track. dark. Next

If Michigan State wanted to get back to that ‘Spartan Dawg’ defense, they hired the right guy in Hazelton to lead a crew of Harlon Barnett, Ron Burton and Mike Tressel.