College football's transfer portal deadline came and went on May 1, as any player wishing to retain eligibility for the 2022 season had to have his name submitted to the portal by the first day of this month.
With that deadline past, we've got a more solidified idea of how teams' rosters will look this fall, as we are now less than four months away from the start of college football season.
The Sporting News released it's 'Post-portal deadline Top 25' rankings yesterday, and Michigan State comes in as the No. 13 team in the land.
The Spartans are one of four Big Ten teams that appear in the rankings, trailing No. 2 Ohio State and No. 6 Michigan, while coming in ahead of No. 20 Iowa.
Bill Bender of The Sporting News had this to say about Michigan State ahead of the 2022 season:
What changed? Mel Tucker has both coordinators back, and the Spartans worked the transfer portal again. The Spartans added eight players via the portal, including Wisconsin running back Jalen Berger and Georgia cornerback Ameer Speed. Khris Bogle (Florida) and Aaron Brule (Mississippi State) could be starters on defense.
Lowdown: Berger should fill the void left by running back Kenneth Walker III, who changed the entire dynamic of the Spartans' offense last season. Payton Thorne returns at quarterback and star WR Jayden Reed returns. Xavier Henderson returns to a defense that must be better against the pass. September tests against Washington and Ohio State will not be easy.
Michigan State has fairly routinely found itself in the Top 15 of most publications' early Top 25 rankings. Near the end of April, 247Sports also had the Spartans ranked No. 13 in its post-spring Top 25.
Here's what 247Sports' writer Brad Crawford said about MSU:
The Spartans would’ve been higher had one voter not left Michigan State off of his ballot entirely in favor of Wisconsin and Iowa, among others in the Big Ten. Surprisingly, only one of those aforementioned "other" league teams actually made the rankings. The Spartans piled up players in the transfer portal and hope veteran leadership on offense can help replace the production of Doak Walker winner Kenneth Walker and his obvious impact in the ground game. Three new starters along the offensive line might be concerning. The secondary was college football's worst in 2021, so improvements needed there are obvious as well.
Michigan State will open its 2022 season with a pair of Mid-American Conference opponents in Western Michigan (Sept. 2) and Akron (Sept. 10), but the difficulty level increases substantially from there as the Spartan travel out west to Washington (Sept. 17) before returning home for a battle with Big Ten West contender Minnesota (Sept. 24) to close out the opening month.
After a road trip to Maryland (Oct. 1), Michigan State plays host to Ohio State (Oct. 8) and Wisconsin (Oct. 15) in its most-difficult two-week stretch of the season, ahead of a bye week.
With that kind of gauntlet to end September and begin October, we'll have a pretty good idea of what kind of Spartan team this will be ahead of the annual showdown with rival Michigan (Oct. 29) in Ann Arbor.
Michigan State's schedule lightens significantly — at least on paper — over the next three weeks with a road trip to Illinois (Nov. 5) followed by back-to-back home games against Rutgers (Nov. 12) and Indiana (Nov. 19). The Spartans conclude their regular season with the annual Land-Grant Trophy game at Penn State (Nov. 26).