Skip to main content

Five Takeaways from Michigan State Football Spring Game

The Spartans welcomed fans and on-lookers for a first look at the 2023 team...

Michigan State chose not to host a "Green and White" spring game again this year, but we still got our first full look at the 2023 Spartans during an open practice on Saturday.

Here's what stood out most:

1.) QB Battle Down To Two?

It's never wise to take anything you see in spring practice as definitive, but Michigan State's quarterback battle may be narrowed down to two guys, and the challenger may be someone unexpected.

Redshirt senior Payton Thorne was the first quarterback on the field with the first team offense during live scrimmaging, and he was followed by redshirt junior Noah Kim. Redshirt freshman Katin Houser took just five snaps during the live scrimmage.

During two-minute drills, Thorne led a touchdown drive, capped by about a 15-yard scramble by the redshirt senior for a score. He had a nice throw to Christian Fitzpatrick, and had great timing on an out-route to Tre Mosley for a big gain during the drive.

Kim went next in next in two-minute, and showed off some really good arm talent and mobility in the pocket. Of all the quarterbacks, Kim probably had the three to four most impressive throws of the day. The best one was on the final play of his two-minute session, when he hit wide receiver Antonio Gates Jr. up the right sideline for about a 35-yard touchdown. Kim had a few misfires through the day as well, but overall had a strong showing.

Houser did not get a two-minute drill opportunity. For what it's worth, the redshirt freshman probably had the "weakest" showing of the three quarterbacks today. He air-mailed some throws and did not look as comfortable as either Thorne or Kim. We're not saying that Houser is out of the race for the starting QB job but, based on what we saw today, the redshirt freshman has ground to make up.

2.) Freshman LB Jordan Hall Looks The Part

True freshman linebacker Jordan Hall, the No. 164 overall player in the class of 2023 according to 247Sports' composite rankings, looks like he's been in Michigan State's strength and conditioning program for three or four years already.

The 6-foot-3, 235 pounder looks like a mountain of a linebacker, and instantly stood out on defense for the Spartans. He made a few tackles during the scrimmage session, and showed off his ability to move sideline-to-sideline with good speed and athleticism. While the majority of his snaps today came with the second team defense, Hall looks like a guy who will see the field as a true freshman this fall.

Michigan State returns starters Cal Haladay Jr. and Jacoby Windmon, and if Darius Snow returns to full health he'll play a lot of snaps as well. With that said, Hall looks too good to leave on the sideline. He's definitely a newcomer to pay attention to in the months ahead.

3.) Offensive Line Rotates Several Guys

Michigan State certainly has more available bodies on the O-line this year. The Spartans were able to field a first and second team offensive line throughout the day, and still had a few guys left over.

The first team O-line today went like this: left tackle Brandon Baldwin, left guard J.D. Duplain, center Nick Samac, right guard Geno VanDeMark, right tackle Spencer Brown. JUCO transfer Keyshawn Blackstock took snaps at tackle as well.

The second unit went: left tackle Ashton Lepo, left guard Evan Brunning, center Dallas Fincher, right guard Kevin Wigenton, right tackle Ethan Boyd.

The jury is still out on what kind of improvement we will see for Michigan State's offensive line this season. There were a handful of plays where there was good push up front on a run play, and several where the run got stuff. Pass protection was good early, but seemed to wane as the day went on. With that said, the added depth is a bonus and the Spartans seem to be in a better place in the trenches offensively.

4.) Notable Absences

There were several guys who dressed but were limited in practice, and a handful of guys who did not dress at all.

As far as guys who dressed but did not participate much, the notables were wide receiver Keon Coleman, cornerbacks Charles Brantley, Dillon Tatum and Ade Willie, defensive lineman Khris Bogle and Jarrett Jackson.

Linebacker Darius Snow wore his uniform and sweat pants, and could be seen wearing a big, bulky brace on his right leg. Fellow linebacker Quavian Carter, and defensive lineman Dre Butler were not in uniform either. Other notable absences include wide receivers Sebastian Brown and Alex Watters, defensive back A.J. Kirk, offensive lineman Gavin Broscious (left knee surgery) and defensive back Khary Crump (suspended).

5.) Who Is Wide Receiver No. 3?

With Keon Coleman not participating in drills of scrimmage sessions, Michigan State obviously did not have WR1. Graduate senor Tre Mosley played in the slot and had some good moments. He's pretty much locked in as the Spartans' No. 2 receiver.

Who will be the No. 3 guy for MSU this fall? We got a look at several options today.

Senior Montorie Foster Jr. and redshirt junior Christian Fitzpatrick ran with the first team unit today. Fitzpatrick had a couple nice catches in heavy traffic, hanging on after taking a big hit on one reception. Foster had good separation on a handful of plays as well. 

As noted above, redshirt freshman Antonio Gates Jr. ran a nice go-route up the right sideline during the second two-minute drill and caught a touchdown pass. Sophomore Tyrell Henry also jumped out with a few nice grabs in traffic.

Losing Jayden Reed to the NFL Draft and Germie Bernard to the transfer portal were a pair of big losses for this position group, but the Spartans still have a couple savvy veterans and talented young guys who will compete for that No. 3 spot.