For a third straight season, the biggest question mark heading into the year for Michigan State football is the secondary.
Prior to 2020, basically everything was a question mark. Before 2021, it had to be the secondary with almost every other position group looking strong. And heading into 2022, Harlon Barnett’s secondary was the focus as it had a horrible season the year before.
Now, we’re looking at the same thing once again.
This time around, however, there is young talent on the roster that could help turn things around. But the unproven players in the defensive backfield offer some concern.
The quarterback position may be a question mark, the receiving corps, too, and even the health of the defensive line, but there is no biggest mystery than the secondary.
Will Michigan State football finally yield a solid secondary?
The pieces are definitely there for Michigan State to have a half-decent secondary. Although Xavier Henderson and Kendell Brooks are gone, Jaden Mangham returns and Malik Spencer could be a breakout star. Dillon Tatum looks to be pushing for the starting job at the nickel and Charles Brantley returns at cornerback to contend with Marqui Lowery, Caleb Coley, Chance Rucker, Semar Melvin, and Chester Kimbrough for snaps.
Angelo Grose also returns with plenty of starting experience, but he just needs to prove that he can be consistent as he’s had an up-and-down career.
And to top everything off, the Spartans added Armorion Smith from the transfer portal to push for a starting safety job. He has experience as a key player on the Bearcats’ defense.
This secondary has nice pieces and they’re relatively young, but if they can’t take a step forward this year and actually finish in the top half of the Big Ten, Barnett may be on the hot seat.