2. Dillon Tatum, DB
If I have to pick a breakout member for the MSU secondary with all of the suspensions and injuries going on, I will pick Dillon Tatum. He is a tremendously talented player who I was expecting to see a lot more of this year, and now the route to the field has cleared up a bit with Justin White and Angelo Grose suspended.
With Jaden Mangham, Kendell Brooks, and Xavier Henderson all having lost time due to injury, as I mentioned previously for AJ Kirk, Tatum should be the next man up if any injury flares back up or is nagging one of the Spartan secondary members.
At the start of the year, I figured that Tatum would be showing up frequently on the field, but he has not quite cracked MSU’s rotation consistently yet. He saw a few snaps in the opener and recorded his first tackle against Akron but has not been on the field enough to show his full potential. I firmly believe that it is Tatum time headed into our matchup against a ranked Illinois program.
Tatum has seen the field sparingly this year, recording nine tackles as well as a pass breakup for a struggling Spartan secondary. With all three of Henderson, Mangham, and Brooks out against Wisconsin, Tatum put up six tackles in the overtime win.
With a highly unlikely chance of going to a bowl game this year, Michigan State should look to increase playing time for their underclassmen, and Tatum is one of the first players I would expect to receive an extended look.
Tatum came into the MSU program as the No. 279 player in the country and the fifth-best in-state player. He was among the top 20 prospects in the “athlete” category due to his versatility on both sides of the ball. Due to the Spartans’ secondary issues, Tatum came to MSU as a defensive back. The West Bloomfield native picked Michigan State football over 33 other schools, including Ohio State, Michigan, USC, Notre Dame, Tennessee, and Texas A&M.
The time is right for Tatum to show up and make the leap this month with so many players out or questionable.