Stock up: Zion Young, DE
The freshman defensive end was a player I highlighted in my “freshman to watch” column before the game. I predicted that either the Atlanta native or fellow freshman Alex VanSumeren would make their first career sack or tackle for loss, and Zion Young proved me right, recording the fifth and final Michigan State sack on the day.
Young entered the year under the radar or, in the words of Joe Milton, not on the radar at all. He was the lowest-rated defensive player in the 2022 Michigan State football recruiting class. Many people, myself included, wrote off Young as a redshirt or potentially transfer by the end of the season. Since the start of camp, Young has steadily had hype building. This peaked last week when Young was one of a few freshmen to see the field, and one of only three to see the field in a role besides special teams.
With a massive Spartan lead, Young got an extended look this week and rewarded Mel Tucker, Scottie Hazelton, and Brandon Jordan with a sack.
I do not expect to see a bunch of Young this upcoming week, but I do think he has proven himself as a freshman to watch the rest of the season. That said, Young has proven my playing time predictions wrong before, so take what I say with a grain of salt. I would not necessarily nominate him as a freshman all-conference player quite yet, but he appears to have established himself as a rotational player for the Spartan front.
With Brandon Wright and Jacoby Windmon likely to move on after this season, Young seeing the field this early indicates you should know his name. Invest in Zion Young early.