The roster, which is made up of nearly 100 players, consists of seven true freshmen early-enrollees, 19 redshirt freshmen, 31 sophomores, 24 juniors and 16 seniors (for sophomores, juniors and seniors, these numbers include those who have already redshirted). The rest of the 2020 recruiting class will join in the summer (assuming football activities resume by then), and it’s still possible to add transfers or walk-ons moving forward.
Of course, this roster release is a little bit different than most. Under normal circumstances, Michigan State would already be a couple weeks into its spring practice schedule, and preparing for the annual Green-White in mid-April. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, all team activities are currently shut down by the Big Ten through May 4.
So, Mel Tucker and his new staff have net yet had a chance to implement new schemes, plays, personnel groupings or the overall new system on the field. The staff also has not had the opportunity to evaluate talent on the roster from an on-field perspective.
All of this said, there are some interesting notes from the roster release:
- Julian Barnett is listed exclusively as a cornerback instead of wide receiver or a two-position player. Out of necessity, he played primarily at wide receiver for the Spartans last season. Barnett played a total of 265 offensive snaps, catching 13 balls for 182 yards, while rushing twice for 19 yards. He also played some special teams. There was some debate here between the coaches on where he would play, although, playing both ways shouldn’t be ruled out just yet.
- Adam Berghorst is being listed exclusively as a tight end. Defensive coordinator Scottie Hazelton recently alluded to this on a media conference call. Berghorst, who also plays baseball for MSU, was recruited as a defensive end. After making the transition from defense to offense last season, Berghorst played in four games and reserved his redshirt.
- Connor Heyward is back on the roster as a running back. This is not a surprise, as offensive coordinator Jay Johnson recently said he would likely remain there on a media conference call. Heyward entered the transfer portal last year, but has returned to MSU and will be a redshirt junior in 2020.
- Punter Jack Bouwmeester is no longer on the roster. The Australian punter has left the program. However, punter Bryce Baringer is now back on the roster after entering the transfer portal last year. With Jake Hartbarger now graduated, there will be an open competition for punting duties between Baringer, Tyer Hunt and Evan Morris. MSU could still add a walk-on or transfer at the position as well.
Update: Michigan State has added UTEP grad transfer Mitchell Crawford to the punting mix as well. Crawford will have immediate eligibility (hat tip to verbosedutch for the notification).
Spartans add grad transfer Mitchell Crawford from UTEP to take over punting duties next season (Free Article)https://t.co/VvmQYGcw0r— Corey Robinson (@RivalsRobinson) April 1, 2020
- The fullback position is apparently obsolete. Last year’s returning fullbacks Max Rosenthal and Reid Burton are now listed as tight ends. Perhaps this will be a sort of H-back position or hybrid role.
- Junior DeAri Todd is now listed a a defensive end. He played the defensive tackle spot in 2019.
- Incoming freshmen jersey numbers:
-Angelo Grose (cornerback), No. 15
-Darius Snow (safety), No. 23
-Cal Haladay (linebacker), No. 27
-Devin Hightower (linebacker), No. 37
-Kyle King (defensive end), No. 52
-Justin Stevens (offensive lineman), No. 63
-Jack Olsen (kicker), No. 82