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Spartans react to Harlon Barnett leaving for FSU

Current and former Spartans react to hearing MSU co-defensive coordinator Harlon Barnett is leaving the team

NCAA Football: Holiday Bowl-Washington State vs Michigan State Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The Michigan State Spartans defense was back in a big way this year and it was a major reason why the Spartans turned a 3-9 team into 10-3. With that kind of success, people take notice. Unfortunately, that’s why one of the biggest cogs of the defensive system is heading south.

News broke Friday that co-defensive coordinator Harlon Barnett was headed to Florida State to take their defensive coordinator position. Barnett spent 14 years coaching under Mark Dantonio and the last 11 in East Lansing.

Dantonio was one of the first to express his thanks for all his time with Barnett. In a statement released to the media, Dantonio said:

“I would like to thank Harlon Barnett for his 14 years working on our staff, including all 11 years at Michigan State. He did an outstanding job and is a great football coach. He’s an extraordinary person with tremendous values and was an integral part of the 100 victories we reached at the Holiday Bowl, which I consider to be a staff achievement. He helped our program win multiple championships and bowl games while also developing All-Big Ten players, All-Americans and NFL Draft pics.

“We recognized the value of Harlon and all of our coaches, and the administration has stepped up with a significant financial commitment to our entire staff. I also understand individually that sometimes coaches are ready for new challenges and opportunities. We wish Harlon and his family all the best as he continues his coaching career.”

As the word spread throughout the MSU program, the response was almost universal. Both current and former Spartans expressed sadness at losing such a special coach and recruiter, but wished Barnett the best with FSU.

The Spartans haven’t announced what they will do to replace Barnett or if they will continue to have co-defensive coordinators. Check back with The Only Colors to follow the offseason news.