MSU declines potential bowl berth


Mel Tucker walks out onto the practice field/Photo Credit: MSU Athletic Communications

Nathan Stearns, Football Beat Reporter

EAST LANSING— The 2020 Michigan State football season is over.

In a statement released Sunday, MSU coach Mel Tucker and athletic director Bill Beekman announced that the Spartans would decline an invitation to a bowl game if the opportunity presented itself.

“We have decided as a program that the best decision for our team is to prepare for the 2021 season,” Tucker said.  “I’m proud of the players for the way they handled themselves during this difficult and challenging year. They endured a season unlike any we have had before and worked hard to remain diligent in following all of our safety protocols. Our players have been on campus since re-arriving in June and deserve the chance to go home and take some time away from football.”

The Spartans finish with a 2-5 record in Tucker’s first season. MSU is currently dealing with a great degree of roster uncertainty, as defensive players Antjuan Simmons, Naquan Jones and Shakur Brown all recently announced their declaration for the 2021 NFL Draft. 

In addition, the Spartans have had five players (cornerbacks Julian Barnett and Davion Williams, offensive tackle Devontae Dobbs, quarterback Rocky Lombardi and linebacker Jeslord Boateng) enter the transfer portal in the last week. They have also added three players by virtue of the portal.

Noah Harvey, Jacob Slade and Jacub Panasiuk will be tasked with leading and mentoring the 2021 MSU defense while Jalen Nailor, Nick Samac, Kevin Jarvis, Matt Carrick and others will need to help a young offense get up to speed.