Michigan State Football: Is low number of returning starters for 2020 concerning?

Xavier Henderson, Michigan State football (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Xavier Henderson, Michigan State football (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Michigan State football is returning the lowest number of starters in the Big Ten for 2020, but is that actually a bad thing for the Spartans?

Believe it or not, returning starters isn’t the most telling statistic when talking about how good a team might be in any given year.

Sure, having more returning starters helps, but when you have a disappointing season and many first-stringers fail to live up to their potential, starting fresh isn’t a bad thing — especially when a new coaching staff takes over. For Michigan State, the latter is most definitely the case.

After a rough 7-6 season, Michigan State doesn’t exactly have a plethora of returning stars, losing guys like Brian Lewerke, Cody White, Darrell Stewart Jr., Joe Bachie and Kenny Willekes.

In fact, the Spartans are tied with Ohio State for least amount of starters returning from the 2019 squad.


Is this necessarily a bad thing for the Spartans who have gone 14-12 over the past two seasons?

Starting fresh under Mel Tucker

A new coaching staff already signals change and the fact that there are going to be at least 12 new starters will be a good thing for the start of the Mel Tucker era.

Is it concerning that 12 starters are gone? Not exactly, but guys like Lewerke, Bachie, Josiah Scott and Willekes will be missed regardless. They’ll be replaced by younger hungry guys who will get the job done.

The offensive line has been underwhelming, same with the quarterback, running back, receiver, tight end and defensive backfield positions.

Those will all experience plenty of changes, outside of running back with the rise of potential 1,000-yard rusher Elijah Collins. They will all likely improve with Courtney Hawkins taking over the receivers, Ted Gilmore controlling tight ends, Chris Kapilovic on the offensive line, Jay Johnson with quarterbacks and as offensive coordinator, Harlon Barnett and Mike Tressel in the defensive backfield and Scottie Hazelton as defensive coordinator.

Michigan State’s only returning starters are as follows:

  • Luke Campbell, OT
  • Matt Allen, OC
  • Kevin Jarvis, OG
  • Matt Carrick, OG
  • Jordan Reid, OT
  • Elijah Collins, RB
  • Jacub Panasiuk, DE
  • Antjuan Simmons, LB
  • Shakur Brown, CB
  • Xavier Henderson, SS

Those are all solid pieces and the offensive line could finally live up to its potential while the rest will get a hard, much-needed restart.

So, is the lack of returning starters a bad thing heading into 2020?

No, and while the 2020 season may be a rough start to the Tucker era, starting almost all new guys will pay off in the long run.

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