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Michigan State wide receivers: One thing I like, one thing I don't

The Spartans lost one of their top pass-catchers, but still a lot of options at wide receiver

We are another day closer to the start of Michigan State's football season, which will begin on Sept. 2 when the Spartans host Western Michigan. There's work to be done over the next three months however, starting with the summer conditioning that will begin on Tuesday.

 As excitement starts to build for Year 3 of the Mel Tucker era in East Lansing, Spartan Nation will be taking closer looks at every position group on the Spartans' depth chart and pointing out one thing we like, one thing we don't and something to keep an eye on.

Up next is a position group that lost one of its most productive members to the NFL this offseason, but still maintains high-end talent and good depth: Wide Receiver

One Think I Like

It's hard to narrow down to just one thing I like with this position group, but if I was forced to do so it would have to be the return of senior Jayden Reed.

I don't think it's hyperbole to say that Reed's decision to come back to East Lansing may have been the biggest positive occurrence this offseason for the Spartans. You could also argue that the hiring of pass rush specialist Brandon Jordan was the biggest positive, but that's a discussion for a different article.

Reed was quarterback Payton Thorne's favorite target throughout the 2021 season. He made big-time, crucial catches on multiple occasions for the Spartans last season, and ultimately led the team in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.

Even in a wide receiver draft class that was loaded, there's no doubt that Reed would have been drafted in 2022 had he decided to turn pro. Instead, he'll return for his senior season and provide Thorne with that safety blanket that every quarterback loves to have.

In addition to Reed's return, Michigan State also gets back Tre Mosley and Montorie Foster. With that, the Spartans return three of their top four pass-catchers at wide receiver for 2022, and that doesn't even include sophomore Keon Coleman — who I expect to have a breakout season for the Spartans.

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There's a lot to like about Michigan State's receiving corps.

One Thing I Don't

It's hard to come up with a thing not to like about this position group, but obviously the Spartans could have been even more explosive had Jalen Nailor decided to return as well. It would have created something of a logjam at the position, but we never really got to see a full season of "Speedy" at Michigan State due to his injury history.

Behind Reed and Mosley, we haven't seen much production from any of the other receivers on the roster, but that likely has more to do with the fact that guys like Foster, Coleman and others haven't been given many opportunities do to how good Nailor was these last couple seasons.

I'm having to stretch to find things I don't like about this position group. I think it will be one of the strongest units on Michigan State's roster in 2022.

One Thing To Keep An Eye On

We've already noted the depth at the position, so it may be difficult for a true freshman to come in and earn playing time right away. With that said, Antonio Gates Jr. is a youngster to keep an eye on.

The son of one of the best tight ends in NFL history, Gates Jr. was one of five four-star recruits that Michigan State signed in the class of 2022. The younger Gates does not have his father's size, which is why he plays further out at wide receiver, but the NFL pedigree that Gates Jr. comes with is reason for excitement.

Again, who knows if there will be a place on the field for Gates Jr. in 2022, but we can't help but be excited about his potential.

In Case You Missed It

This article is part of a series examining every position group on Michigan State's roster. You can find the other position groups that Spartan Nation has already covered here: (Quarterbacks, Running backs, Wide Receiver)

Twitter: @mlounsberry_SI