ESPN put out its preseason Big Ten predictions and while it was riddled with lazy takes (shocking, I know), one preseason award was handed out to a Spartan. ESPN named Michigan State football defensive end Bai Jobe as the Big Ten Freshman of the Year.
Jobe is a four-star high school All-American defensive end out of Oklahoma and is a top-100 recruit in the entire class of 2023. He was Oklahoma’s No. 1 high school recruit and Tucker’s highest-rated defensive recruit. He is expected to see plenty of playing time in 2023.
Other defensive players to win Big Ten Freshman of the Year? Defensive back Brandon Joseph (2020) out of Northwestern who is now seeing preseason snaps with the Detroit Lions. Safety Jabrill Peppers (2015) while being one of the most overrated Heisman candidates in history, has had a solid career playing for the Cleveland Browns, New York Giants, and New England Patriots. Defensive end Deon Barnes (2012) out of Penn State won the award and is now coaching the defensive line at his alma mater.
This could mean big things for Michigan State football
It’s rare for defensive players to win awards like these so it means a lot that a defensive end at an afterthought school in ESPN’s eyes can make the list.
If the Michigan State interior defensive line can stop the run like they have been talking about, it gets the opposing offenses in obvious passing situations. This is where pass rushers like Jobe come in as the speed and depth at the edge position should produce much better results for this defense, the secondary (who won’t have to cover receivers as long), and this team’s season.
Huge honor for Jobe ahead of the season.