Barnett thrilled to return to MSU coaching staff

Cornerbacks coach Harlon Barnett (Photo: MSU Athletic Communications)

Cornerbacks coach Harlon Barnett (Photo: MSU Athletic Communications)

Liam Jackson, General Assignment Reporter

EAST LANSING — Harlon Barnett is back on the Michigan State coaching staff as the cornerbacks coach for the first time since 2017. 

“I bleed green and white,” said Barnett. “I am really excited to be back.” 

MSU is without its number one corner from a year ago, Josiah Scott, and a senior leader of the defensive backs, Josh Butler. Barnett said that there is still a lot of talent left in the cornerbacks room and players like Shakur Brown have been “taking the next step.” He likes Brown’s ability to become a “complete corner that can run, cover, and tackle.” Kalon Gervin, Dominique Long and Julian Barnett are also players that are vying for a starting job.

MSU had one of the most dominant defenses in the country from 2013-2015 when Barnett was the defensive backs coach. He coached players in the secondary that would go on to play in the NFL like Darqueze Dennard and Trae Waynes, which will help recruiting for the future. 

“There is nothing like proof in the pudding,” Barnett said. 

Mel Tucker is entering his first season as the head coach for MSU and has brought in a lot of new staff. Barnett is new to this coaching staff, but not new to the program by any means. He mentioned that both Tucker and Mark Dantonio come from the “Saban Tree,” as both were coaches under Nick Saban at MSU. Barnett said that both Dantonio and Tucker are similar in the way that they “pay attention to detail, doing all the little things right, and coaching through the process.” He calls the coaching language “Sabanese.”

Although Barnett has not been at Michigan State for a couple of years, there are still familiar faces on the coaching staff as well as the team. He said that himself and current safeties coach Mike Tressel are “brothers for life” and will mesh very well together. Barnett also coached Tre Person and Dominique Long for a year and recruited players like Davion Williams, Xavier Henderson and Michael Dowell.

Liam Jackson is a general assignment reporter for WDBM Sports. Follow him on Twitter at @Liamjackson1525.