The case for DL Zion Young and DL Alex VanSumeren
Zion Young entered as the lowest-rated non-special teams player from the 2022 class, but Mel Tucker obviously saw something in the Atlanta native. Of the four defensive line prospects from last class, only Young and Alex VanSumeren received playing time last week against Western Michigan. I am including Young on this list as he did not receive extensive playing time, and I expect it to be different this week.
As for VanSumeren, he was the highest rated member of the class, ranking no. 200 nationally, per 247 Sports. The Spartans utilized many defensive tackles against the Broncos, and it would be shocking to see them deviate from this for the second straight game against lower-level competition. Much like Young, Alex VanSumeren also did not see extensive action against the Broncos.
The Spartan defensive line had a few holes from graduation this year, and two freshmen already receiving playing time is a good sign of things to come for Michigan State football. I am hoping one or both of them get to record their first career sack or tackle for loss against the Zips.
The case against Young and VanSumeren
Against Western Michigan, three defensive linemen who are presumably ahead of the freshmen duo on the depth chart did not dress. Jalen Hunt, Deshaun Mallory, and Michael Fletcher all did not dress against the Broncos. If any of them are healthy this week, it would be a better game for them to tune up against live action as opposed to the Washington Huskies next week.
When I watch and rewatch this game, I will be keeping my eyes peeled for these two freshmen. Under Brandon Jordan’s tutelage, this defensive line is dangerous. Two freshmen breaking into the rotation is a scary thought for the Spartan’s future Big Ten opponents.