Two Michigan State football players have entered the transfer portal

Michigan State coach Jonathan Smith talks the media on the first national signing day for college
Michigan State coach Jonathan Smith talks the media on the first national signing day for college / Nick King/Lansing State Journal / USA

It's that time of the year again, transfer portal season is once again upon us. On Tuesday morning, the transfer portal officially opened up in college football, and I'm sure you all know what that means. Things are about to get crazy.

Players all over the country will enter the transfer portal, looking for their next school for whatever their reason may be. Like every other school in the country, Michigan State football will not be immune to players leaving the program and entering the portal.

In fact, two Spartans have already done so (well, three, counting Ma'a Gaoteote).

Braden Miller, OL

Braden Miller is the first of two Spartans who have entered the transfer portal on Tuesday morning. He plays on the offensive line and dates back to the 2022 recruiting class under Mel Tucker.

As with most offensive linemen, Miller got off to a slow start in his college career. Most linemen do not play much at all in their first couple of seasons in college as the difference in physicality from high school to college in the trenches is massive. That increase in physicality impacted Miller, causing him to only play in three games during his two seasons in East Lansing.

But as I just alluded to, that does not mean he is a bad player. It takes many offensive linemen a few years to get their feet under them in college before they become contributors on the field. Unfortunately for Miller, he did not get a chance to show his abilities in East Lansing. But even though he was not a contributor for Michigan State, his loss is still impactful. One thing MSU desperately needs is depth, and losing him means losing a key depth piece. Especially at an important position like the offensive line, this loss is more impactful than it might originally appear.

Jaelon Barbarin, RB

The second Spartan to officially hit the transfer portal on Tuesday was running back Jaelon Barbarin. He's another player, similar to Miller, who hasn't been in East Lansing for very long and hasn't made much of an impact. He has been at Michigan State for one season, only playing in one game to preserve his redshirt. In his one game, he only carried the ball one time for one yard.

Like Miller, just because Barbarin only appeared in one game doesn't mean leaving the program isn't meaningful. He brought something to the running back room that is tough to teach: pure speed. I would argue he was the fastest running back on the team, so losing a guy like that definitely hurts.

But there may be a good reason from Michigan State's perspective that he is leaving the program. One main reason players decide to transfer is due to too much competition for playing time at their position. This could very well be the case here as the Spartans return star running back Nate Carter. There also is a chance Jonathan Smith is active in the portal at the running back position as well. One of the best running backs in the country, Damien Martinez, has also entered the portal and is from Oregon State. So maybe there will be a reunion between Martinez and Smith in East Lansing.

These two guys likely won't be the only two Spartans to hit the portal this spring. But thankfully for MSU fans, Smith likely will be active in the portal and look to upgrade the roster himself. So all we can hope for is that the best players on Michigan State's team stay in East Lansing, and Smith does his job and improves the roster through portal acquisition as well.