Michigan State football No. 1 jersey should be earned, not given

Charles Rogers #1
Charles Rogers #1 / Jonathan Daniel/GettyImages

Michigan State football has had plenty of jersey numbers of significance over the years, but the No. 1 jersey feels like it has a legacy of its own. For nearly 20 years the number was not worn by anyone. Making the number that much more special, until Mel Tucker arrived.

Things were very different for Michigan State when Tucker came to town, as the No. 1 found its way back into the jersey number rotation.

Jayden Reed donned the No. 1 in the 2021 and 2022 seasons and added a shining legacy to the number. The No. 1 has seen its best days at MSU on the jersey of the wide reciever position and Reed was able to put his name on that list with the likes of Andre Rison, Muhsin Muhammad, and most famously Charles Rogers.

Flash forward to the last couple of years, and the No. 1 jersey seems to have just become like any other number as the Mangham brothers both wore the number in 2023.

Both have since left the team in the transfer portal and the younger Mangham to plenty of dismay is considering rival Michigan, which is controversial in its own right. That has made many fans question why the No. 1 Jersey is even available. The history of that number at Michigan State is significant.

So to have just anybody wear the number without earning it is a slap in the face of Rogers and other historic figures who have worn that jersey.

Every school has significant jersey numbers, and the No. 1 is MSU's.

Reed earned the right to wear it, and he wore it proudly. The next player to wear it has to earn it, and I'm confident all of Spartan Nation would agree.

Hopefully Jonathan Smith shares that sentiment, and if the jersey goes away for the foreseeable future so be it. The legacy of that number shouldn't be tarnished by players that aren't real Spartan Dawgs. It deserves to be treated with and worn with respect. As Smith says: low ego, high output.

I'm perfectly fine with going another 20 years without someone wearing the No. 1 on the football field.

That is why the No. 1 jersey should be earned, not given.