Michigan State Football: Projecting defensive depth chart for 2020

Antjuan Simmons, Michigan State football (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Antjuan Simmons, Michigan State football (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
3 of 4
Michigan State football
Noah Harvey, Michigan State football (Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images) /


Starting middle linebacker: Luke Fulton
Backup: Noah Harvey

This might be a massive hot take, but I believe Luke Fulton is the most talented option Michigan State has at middle linebacker heading into the season. The redshirt freshman was a top recruit coming out of high school and he’s built in the same mold as a Joe Bachie, but he has yet to get his shot. I see him rising to the top of the depth chart by Week 1.

Noah Harvey isn’t a bad option, either. He wasn’t as highly-touted of a prospect as Fulton but he has experience and had a decent sophomore season, accounting for 49 tackles and three sacks. This battle for the starting job should be fun to watch.

Starting outside linebackers: Antjuan Simmons, Chase Kline
Backups: Jeslord Boateng, Marcel Lewis

There’s no question about it, Antjuan Simmons is the leader of this defense. He’ll be a captain this fall and he’s the next great leader of Michigan State. The young guys look up to him and how can you now when he’s as good as he is and makes it look so easy while also being a great teammate? He’s going to likely lead the team in tackles again. He should be joined by Chase Kline on the outside, but I wouldn’t be shocked if Jeslord Boateng pushed for a starting spot.

Boateng is incredibly talented and could find himself starting and Michigan State may even dabble with a 3-4 defense and that way he’d be on the field with Simmons, Kline and Fulton — potentially.

Marcel Lewis originally opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns, but he should be good to go by Oct. 24 after opting back in. He’ll be a more-than-capable backup option.