Michigan State Football 2021 Early Depth Chart Predictions: Offense

Spartan Nation dives into the Michigan State depth chart and offers up some way too early predictions.
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East Lansing, MI – Since Nov. 16, fifteen players have entered the transfer portal for Michigan State, and there's no guarantee it's over yet.

The Spartans began their offseason strength and conditioning program on Monday, so now felt like a good time to make some way too early depth chart predictions.

But these projections come with their stipulations.

Michigan State isn't confirming which seniors will take advantage of the extra year of eligibility granted by the NCAA due to the pandemic; instead, players have made announcements via social media.

To make this easier, some of last year's seniors who haven't decided are included.


Starter: Payton Thorne (rs-so.)

Reserves: Anthony Russo (grad transfer), Theo Day (jr.), Noah Kim (so.), Hampton Fay (fr.)

Lost in the transfer portal: Rocky Lombardi

Prediction: Thorne started the final regular season game at Penn State after Lombardi beat two ranked opponents in Michigan and Northwestern, yet that didn't stop Mel Tucker from using the portal to grab Russo. It's going to be a close competition, but I think Thorne gets the nod.

Running Back

Starter: Kenneth Walker III (jr.)

Reserves: Jordon Simmons (so.), Connor Heyward (rs-sr.), Elijah Collins (jr.), Brandon Wright (jr.), Davion Primm (fr.)

Lost in the transfer portal: Anthony Williams Jr., Andre Welch

Notes: I left Harold Joiner III, a transfer from Auburn, off the depth chart, because he is not currently enrolled at MSU.

Prediction: Much like the quarterback position, Tucker used the portal to improve his running back room by gaining commitments from Kenneth Walker III (Wake Forest) and Harold Joiner III (Auburn). Michigan State finished the 2020 season with two rushing touchdowns; neither was from a running back. I think it's easy to assume Tucker will shake things up here, hence why Walker is the starter. And if Joiner enrolls, he will compete for a significant workload.

Wide Receiver

Starters: Jalen Nailor (rs-jr.), Jayden Reed (rs-jr.), Tre Mosley (jr.)

Reserves: C.J. Hayes (rs-sr.), Ricky White (so.), Montorie Foster (so.), Cade McDonald (rs-so), Terry Lockett (so.)

Lost in the transfer portal: Tre'Von Morgan, Javez Alexander

Prediction: Michigan State is deep at the wide receiver spot. Nailor is emerging as an NFL prospect, and Reed is more than serviceable. White exploded against Michigan before getting hurt and missing most of the year. Add in Hayes, Nelson, and Mosley – three players who have flashed the ability but have been hampered by the injury bug. If MSU can stay healthy, this might be their most productive skill position.

Tight End

Starter: Matt Dotson (fifth-year sr.)

Reserves: Trenton Gillison (jr.), Tyler Hunt (sr.), Adam Berghorst (rs-so.), Parks Gissinger (jr.), Kameron Allen (fr.)

Lost to the transfer portal: Max Rosenthal

Prediction: Prediction: Now things get interesting; will Dotson return for a fifth-year (NCAA granted the extra year) even though he battled some injuries? He improved, and if Dotson is healthy/listed on the roster, he's my starter. Gillison will back him up, and Tyler Hunt, who moved from kicker to tight end, seemingly paid off and should be another nice addition.

Offensive Line

Starters: LT AJ Arcuri (sr.), LG J.D. Duplain (jr.), C Matt Allen (sr.), RG Kevin Jarvis (sr.), RT Jordan Reid (sr.)

Reserves: C Nick Samac (jr.), RG Matt Carrick (sr.), G/C Blake Bueter (sr.), OT Jarrett Horst (jr.), OT Brandon Baldwin (rs-fr.), OT Mustafa Khaleefah (sr.) G/T Luke Campbell (sr.), G Spencer Brown (rs-so), C Jacob Isaia (jr.)

Lost in the transfer portal: Devontae Dobbs

Prediction: Once again, a lot of potential seniors here, and as of now, we don't know if they will return. It appears Arcuri will be back after spotting him in a video shared by the official MSU football Twitter account, but no announcement has been made. If he and Reid join Allen and come back to East Lansing, the Spartans will have loads of experience upfront. Horst brings another potential starter to the situation, plus Campbell (if he uses the extra year) and Baldwin add depth while Jarvis can switch back to guard, his traditional position. 

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