One of the best players on Michigan State football's roster bid farewell to the program on Monday after exhausting his collegiate eligibility.
Punter Bryce Baringer, whose career average of 46.0 yards per punt set a new Big Ten record, delivered a message to the MSU fanbase through kicking coach Kenny Spencer's Twitter page on Monday.
"To all my teammates, I can't thank each of you enough for everything you did for me," Baringer wrote. "I truthfully would not be in this position without the encouragement and love of my teammates."
Late last week, Baringer was named one of three finalists for the Ray Guy Award, given annually to the nation's best punter. The senior's 49.0-yard per punt average this season leads college football, and is a Michigan State record as well as the second-best single-season mark in Big Ten history.
"To Coach Tucker, Dantonio, Els and Spencer, thank you for taking the chance on a walk-on transfer punter from southeast Michigan," Baringer wrote. "You all helped me to set new standards for myself both on the field and as a man. Thanks to you, I have been able to reach new heights as a person and a player."
Last Tuesday, Baringer became the first Spartan to win the Eddleman-Fields Big Ten Punter of the Year award. He was also named first team All-Big Ten by the league's coaches, the first MSU punter to earn that honor since the late Mike Sadler (2012, 2013).
Michigan State ranks No. 1 in the country in net punting (45.5-yard average), and Baringer has only four touchbacks on the year while placing 22 out of 50 punts inside the opponent's 20 yard line, including eight inside the 10. Baringer also leads the Big Ten with 24 punts of 50-plus yards, including 10 punts that went beyond 60 yards.
"To my parents, girlfriend, family and friends, thank you for your unconditional love and support," Baringer wrote. "You are my 'burn' and motivate me to work hard and always reach higher. I am forever grateful for all of you.
"To Spartan Nation, thank you for an amazing 5 years and for making me a Spartan Dawg 4 Life. There isn't a fanbase in the nation that shows support the way you do. I'm looking foward to the next chapter of my career by officially declaring for the 2023 NFL Draft. Forever Go Green!"
The Ray Guy Award winner will be announced on Thursday, Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. during The Home Depot College Football Awards show on ESPN. Joining Baringer as finalists for the award are Cincinnati's Mason Fletcher and Rutgers' Adam Korsak.