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Michigan State lands Michigan transfer linebacker Ben VanSumeren

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Michigan State Spartans are bringing in a linebacker from Ann Arbor, as former Michigan Wolverines fullback/linebacker Ben VanSumeren has announced his intention to transfer to MSU.

VanSumeren, listed at 6-foot-2, 253 pounds, began his career at Michigan as a fullback, but switched to the defensive side of the ball in 2020. He is expected to remain at linebacker for Michigan State, which is a big position of need for the Spartans following the loss of several linebackers due to the NFL Draft or transfer portal.

As a true freshman in 2018, VanSumeren played in four games to earn his first varsity letter, but retained his redshirt eligibility. In 2019, he appeared in five games and rushed the ball nine times for 20 yards while scoring a touchdown against Middle Tennessee State. In his first year at linebacker last season, VanSumeren appeared in all six of Michigan’s games, with two starts. He recoded seven total tackles on the season, including two against Michigan State.

Coming out of high school, VanSumeren was a three-star prospect from Garber High School (Essexville, Michigan) in Michigan’s 2018 recruiting class. He was listed as the No. 50 athlete and No. 12 recruit in the state, according to 247Sports.

VanSumeren’s decision to transfer to Michigan State could also have an effect on the Spartans’ 2022 recruiting class as well. His younger brother, Alex VanSumeren, is a four-star defensive tackle at Essexville Garber who recently de-committed from Michigan. He is a top in-state target for Mel Tucker and Michigan State.

This makes two transfers at the linebacker position in as many days, as preferred walk-on Samih Beydoun announced yesterday that he is coming to East Lansing. With Antjuan Simmons declaring for the NFL Draft, and four other linebackers entering their names into the transfer portal, there is opportunity for new faces to take over starting or rotational roles at the position.

Noah Harvey, who will be a redshirt senior this coming season, and Chase Kline, who will be a redshirt junior this season, are the only linebackers with playing experience on defense returning to the Spartans in 2021. Devin Hightower and Cal Haladay appeared on special teams as true freshmen in 2020, while Cole DeMarzo, who was also a true freshman, did not see game action. Additionally, Michigan State signed two linebackers in its 2021 recruiting class in four-star prospect Ma’a Gaoteote and three-star prospect Carson Casteel.

To keep up with all Michigan State transfer portal news, check here.