Michigan State football transfers acclimate to program as spring ball progresses


MSU running back Jordon Simmons catches a pass during spring practice/ Photo Credit: MSU Athletic Communications

Aidan Champion, Sports Editorial Assistant

EAST LANSING — Michigan State football coach Mel Tucker, defensive line coach Ron Burton and some of the newest Spartan transfers in defensive end Drew Jordan and redshirt sophomore running back Kenneth Walker III spoke with the media on Tuesday before the team begins scrimmaging this weekend. 

Jordan enters Spartan Nation coming off an impressive 2020 season with Duke where he notched career highs in tackles (35), tackles for loss (4.5), sacks (3.5) and fumble recoveries (3). The 6-foot-3-inch 285-pound graduate student said one of the main reasons he joined MSU’s program was due to the honesty of the coaching staff.

“The biggest reason was they would set me apart from other defensive ends in this next draft class … they’re really giving me an opportunity to come in here, play, work under a lot of guys that have a lot of NFL pedigree,” Jordan said. “They really made my family feel comfortable, they really included my family a lot in the recruiting process.”

Jordan pitched his case on what he brings to the Spartans’ defense. 

“They needed a little bit more physicality, and that’s what they’re going to get from a guy like me, not only just a guy that can stop the run and bloody your nose on the run, but also somebody that’s going to attack you off the edge,” Jordan said. “Speed, strength, tenacity, all those different things, I’m the complete package.”

Jordan’s role on the defensive line adds to what is already a veteran-heavy group of players. 

“What I’m excited about the group is the fact that they’re a veteran group,” Burton said. “We got some young guys in behind them, but we have the ability to have more people to help coach the group up.”

Burton said Jordan’s incorporation has been “like having another coach on the field.”

“With the experience of him having been a starter coming here, it’s a plus for us,” Burton said. “He’s a student of the game, has great pass-rush ability and also plays with great power. Just being a great example to the young guys up front in what he’s done and how he’s been coached at other places, and that helps improve and reaffirm what we’re teaching here too, so he has been a pleasure on and off the field.”

Walker joins the MSU backfield from Wake Forest where he ran in for 17 touchdowns in two seasons. He said he felt he fit well in the Spartan offense.

“All of us [running backs], Connor [Heyward], Jordon [Simmons], Donovan [Eaglin], Eli [Collins], I think we got a pretty good set of backs,” Walker said. “I mean we compete at practice but we also push each other to do our best. I make a mistake, they critique me and vice versa to make sure we get better.”

Jordan and Walker are two of the many players that MSU has gained from the transfer portal in the offseason. Coach Tucker said the program embraces the portal.

“Everyone’s in the portal for different reasons,” Tucker said. “So you have to do your homework, we have to make sure that the guys that we decide that we want are a great fit for our culture, [that] they fill needs on the field, but obviously they need to fit in off the field as well.

We want to build our team through the high school ranks,” Tucker added, “but we will supplement our roster and complement our roster with guys from the portal, whether they’re grad transfers or they’re undergrad transfers, but we have to make sure that we’re not just collecting players but we’re building a team.”