The Michigan State Spartans football program received another bit of good news on Tuesday afternoon. The MSU coaching staff has once again plucked a player from the transfer portal. Ronald Williams Jr., a defensive back who played with the Alabama Crimson Tide in 2020, and originally hails from Ferriday, Louisiana, has announced his intention to play for the Green and White this fall.
The 6-foot-2-inch and 190 pound cornerback was originally a member of the 2017 high school class. At that time, Williams was considered a three-star prospect and was ranked in the top-400 nationally in 247 Sports composite rankings.
Williams went on play at the junior college level at Hutchinson Community College in Kansas where he earned NJCAA All-American honors as a sophomore and began to draw the attention of Power Five programs. In two seasons, he amassed 49 tackles, eight pass break-ups, and four interceptions. By the year 2020, Williams was considered a four-star prospect and a consensus top-15 JUCO transfer candidate.
He was recruited by schools such as Auburn, Kentucky, Mississippi State and Texas A&M, but ultimately decided to transfer to Alabama. However, an arm injury and the global pandemic limited his playing time in Tuscaloosa. Williams only saw action against Mississippi State, Arkansas, and Kentucky and only recorded a single tackle in those three games.
Williams will have a chance to compete for immediate playing time in the Michigan State secondary this fall. MSU’s spring practice highlighted a general lack of depth at the position, but help is certainly on the way.
Williams is the sixth defensive back who head coach Mel Tucker has added to the defensive backfield this offseason from the transfer portal. He joins Kendell Brooks (from North Greenville who joined the program in January and played in the spring game), Khary Crump (Arizona), Chester Kimbrough (Florida), and Marqui Lowery (Louisville). Spencer Rowland, a preferred walk-on, was also a mid-year addition for the team and played in the spring game.
The Spartans are also adding an additional four defensive backs from the high school ranks as true freshman this fall: Antoine Booth, Chuck Brantley, Michael Gravely (early enrollee), and AJ Kirk. With this influx of talent under the direction of defensive backs coach Harlon Barnett, the Spartan secondary appears to be in good hand.