Michigan State football may have finally found an explosive kick returner

Shakur Brown, Michigan State football (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Shakur Brown, Michigan State football (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

After years of a quiet return game, Michigan State football may have landed an explosive athlete to its special teams in Division II star Justin White.

For years, Michigan State’s return game has left a lot to be desired. Kickoffs have been downed in the end zone or fair caught for touchbacks at a high rate and punt return yardage has been basically out of the question.

This is no knock on someone like Brandon Sowards who was not exactly a fan favorite in the return game, but the Mark Dantonio-led coaching staff put him in a position in the return game that he didn’t necessarily belong in nor did he thrive.

Michigan State has put plenty of athletes back in the kickoff return game but no one has panned out in recent years in the way RJ Shelton did through 2016.

That may soon change as Mel Tucker has made an interesting addition to the roster in former Division II defensive back Justin White who played his freshman season at Colorado Mesa. He led all of Division II in kickoff return average and this may be just what the doctor ordered on special teams.

White had a 100-yard kick return for a touchdown last season and picked off four passes and blocked four kicks. He was the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference’s special teams player of the year which is music to Michigan State fans’ ears.

A much-needed boost for Michigan State football

While White didn’t exactly face the stiffest of competition in 2019 at Colorado Mesa, he proved he can be an explosive special teams player and that’s exactly what Michigan State needs.

The Spartans ranked 101st in the nation in kick return average at just 18.9 yards and 82nd in average punt return yardage. Getting a guy who more than doubled MSU’s kick return average in 2019 is not only a power move but a necessary one.

If White can live up to his production at a lower level or even a fraction of it, Michigan State will finally be able to win some field position battles.

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