Michigan State football's defense could be a major surprise in 2022

Michigan State football’s defense could be a major surprise in 2022

Michigan State football had one of the shakiest defenses in the country last season but it could be a major surprise in 2022.

With so many great defensive minds on the Michigan State football coaching staff a year ago, it was a shock that the Spartans struggled so much on that side of the ball.

Mel Tucker won two national titles as a defensive coordinator and Harlon Barnett engineered the ‘No Fly Zone’ for the Spartans under Mark Dantonio. And Ron Burton returned as a veteran defensive line coach but it just felt like the Spartans didn’t have the pieces to dominate.

Michigan State gave up 25.3 points per game (54th) but that wasn’t even the worst part. The Spartans’ run defense was solid, allowing just 117 yards per game on 3.4 yards per carry, but the secondary was the worst in college football. In fact, the Spartans allowed 325 yards per game through the air and opponents averaged about 45 pass attempts per game. It was a season to forget for the Spartan defense and yet Michigan State still went 11-2.

The defense was a disappointment while the offense exceeded expectations with guys like Kenneth Walker, Jalen Nailor, Payton Thorne, and Jayden Reed all breaking out as All-Big Ten players.

With Walker and Nailor gone, however, the Spartans need that defense to take a step forward.

And after spring ball, it seems fairly clear that Michigan State has the pieces to make a huge turnaround on the defensive side of the ball and surprise some people.

The coaching staff changed and got a little younger as Burton moved on, making way for Marco Coleman and outside-the-box home-run hire Brandon Jordan. Those two should combine to make that defensive line the best it’s been in years and they also provide some serious juice on the recruiting trail.

On top of that, the Spartans bring in a talented recruiting class along with guys like Aaron Brule, Jacoby Windmon, Khris Bogle, and Ameer Speed. Charles Brantley returns from a season-ending injury after a promising freshman year, Ma’a Gaoteote returns after entering the portal for a minute, and guys like Ronald Williams, Darius Snow, Cal Haladay, Xavier Henderson, Angelo Grose, Marqui Lowery, Simeon Barrow, Jeff Pietrowski, Tank Brown, and Brandon Wright all return.

This defense is loaded at every position with depth and talent and it just feels like there’s more juice and momentum heading into summer camp.

We’ve heard the hype surrounding the defense all spring, saw it during the open practice, and now we will see it in full force this fall.

With plenty of depth, speed, and the right talent to start, Michigan State’s defense is going to surprise everyone in 2022.

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