Most Improved Defensive Player: DB Jaden Mangham
Much like Tyrell Henry, Jaden Mangham saw some limited game action in his first season, but I expect him to take a huge step forward in the safety spot that the Spartans desperately need now that Xavier Henderson is making his case for a spot on the Washington Commanders roster.
While Angelo Grose can make up for Henderson’s absence in the leadership department, Mangham has the skill and football IQ to make up for X on the field.
Looking at the roster, one could see the safety spot as a weakness for the Spartans since it’s a perfect mix of youth and lack of talent. Grose isn’t as talented as Mangham and the latter doesn’t have the experience of the former. We can hope that it’s the inverse, that both safeties are greater than the sum of their parts (a staple of Mark Dantonio teams).
With a secondary that we though couldn’t get worse between the 2021 and 2022 years, Mangham’s impact can be the spark that propels this team to the top of the Big Ten.
Dark horse candidate: DB Chester Kimbrough — I know his MSU career has been underwhelming but I think with a strong front-seven, his job becomes easier and he can keep his coverage tight for enough time for the quarterback to think twice about throwing his way