Although no Spartans were drafted in 2020, Michigan State can trust that head coach Mel Tucker is the right man for the job. He has developed a strong culture in East Lansing and has his players adapting to it. They recruit every day and seem to always be focused on building up the program. The 2020 season had some bright spots despite a rough season for the Spartans. They had big wins over Northwestern and Michigan that gave fans some much-needed hope for the future.
Expect a much stronger draft class in 2022 for the Spartans, as they have a lot of returning starters and players coming back from season-ending injuries. Here are the top five players for the Spartans that are eligible for the 2022 draft:
DE Drew Beesley
The Michigan native stormed onto the scene during the 2020 season as a leader of the defense, collecting 27 tackles and 3.0 sacks in five games. He’s a hard-nosed player who relies on his physicality and long arms to get to the quarterback. Beesley is also effective in the run game, containing the edge and not letting any ball-carriers get outside of him.
C/G Matt Allen
The Illinois native has 17 starts at center (seven in 2018, nine in 2019 and one in 2020). His older brother, Jack, was a four-year starter and two-time first-team All-America center for the Spartans. Although he started at center in the season opener vs. Rutgers, Allen had to miss the team's next six games due to injury. A bounce-back season for Allen could see him placed on the radar of NFL teams.
S Xavier Henderson
Safety is a valuable position for any defense as those players protect the back end. Henderson is one of the more experienced Spartans on the defensive side of the ball, making 20 consecutive starts at safety for Michigan State. In 2020, Henderson was third on the team with 41 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, one pass breakup and one quarterback hurry. He’s as balanced as safeties are in college football, being able to use his athleticism in pass coverage, but also wrapping up and making a tackle near the line of scrimmage.
WR Jayden Reed
Reed was one of the best wide receivers in the Big Ten last season. He has amazing athleticism on the outside and uses it to his advantage. In 2020, Reed led the Spartans with 33 catches and ranked second on the team with 407 receiving yards. There’s a possibility that Reed enters the NFL Draft after next season, as he was certainly placed on the radar of many NFL teams last season.
T AJ Arcuri
The four-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, Arcuri has a huge frame at left tackle for the Spartans. After graduating last year, he’s eligible for the Senior Bowl and could be a sneaky candidate to receive an invite if he has an impressive season for Michigan State. He has a solid anchor and uses his long arms to his advantage. An impressive player on tape, he will have a big opportunity at improving his draft stock during the 2021 season.