The case for LB Carson Casteel
Carson Casteel is the first player on this list to not be a true freshman.
Casteel redshirted last year with an injury as well as the depth in front of him. With players like Noah Harvey gone and Quavaris Crouch and Chase Kline transferred out, the role of depth linebacker is open. Ma’a Gaoteote received some playing time as last season wound down, or else he would be included on this list as well.
With Jacoby Windmon as a full-time edge rusher and Darius Snow out for the year, the Spartans can elect to give the linebacker from the state of Alabama his first reps. Casteel could be the dark horse to step up.
Due to how close the Western Michigan game was in the second half, we did not get to see much of the true defensive backups. The Spartans rotated a lot of players in the game, but there was not any moment where it appeared to be all backups. In the Spartans cover the spread against the Zips like they did against the Broncos, that should change.
The Spartans, despite the transfer action these last two years, do not have any set linebackers outside of Haladay and Ben VanSumeren. Assuming those two do not see action if the game is out of hand, Casteel might be the next man up.
The case against Casteel
Casteel has not been mentioned by the coaches as a standout, nor has he seen action on special teams. This pick by me is pure speculation, with no facts to base on. Additionally, if the staff has a different player in mind to take Darius Snow’s place, that player could see the majority of the reps this game to break them in and gain experience for next week’s test.