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Michigan State football: 5 players make Athlon’s preseason All-Big Ten teams

MSU had five players named to preseason All-Big Ten teams.



Michigan State football
© Nick King/Lansing State Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

Athlon Sports selected five Michigan State football players to its early 2023 preseason All-Big Ten teams.

Athlon Sports released their preseason All-Big Ten teams for the upcoming football season yesterday. Michigan State football had five players selected to their list.

The Michigan State players selected include three defensive players as well as two offensive players.

Lets break down each individual selection.

Cal Haladay, LB

The only Spartan given first-team honors is junior linebacker Cal Haladay. He will be returning for his fourth season in East Lansing and has put up great numbers in his first two seasons. Last season, Cal totaled 120 tackles as well as 1.5 sacks. He also forced one fumble on the season.

Most people probably remember his standout plays from his freshman season in 2021. During that season, he recorded two interceptions, both of which were returned for touchdowns. Most notably, he sealed the Spartans victory against Pittsburgh in the Peach Bowl with a last minute pick-six.

Among his many achievements, he was named the defensive MVP of the bowl game, was a Freshman All-American and was a member of the coaches and media’s All-Big Ten second team last year. It is no surprise seeing Cal on this all Big Ten first team, and I bet he will be there at the end of the season as well.

Nick Samac, OC

Nick Samac is one of two Spartan offensive linemen named to the All-Big Ten third team. Samac will be crucial to the success of our offense this season as he brings back a lot of veteran experience. He is a redshirt senior and is coming off a very solid 2022 campaign. He registered 803 snaps during the 2022 season, the most out of any offensive player.

Samac will be the starter at center again this upcoming season and will be a leader on and off the field for this team. I also expect to see his name on this list at the end of the season after he helps the offensive line improve as a unit.

J.D. Duplain, OL

J.D. Duplain is the second Spartan offensive lineman named to the All-Big Ten third team. He has been a staple on the Spartans’ offensive line for years now at left guard. Duplain has 35 career starts to his name including a current streak of 30 in a row. Like Samac, J.D. is a redshirt senior that bring a lot of leadership to this team. He is coming off a great season last year that saw him named to the media and coaches all big ten honorable mention team. Once again, he will likely see his name on the official list at the end of the season after an even better season in 2023.

Simeon Barrow, DL

Redshirt junior Simeon Barrow is selected to the All-Big Ten third team on defense. He is coming off his second year starting at defensive tackle and just had his best season yet. He recorded career highs in tackles (40), tackles for loss (9) and sacks (4) during his productive 2022 season. Despite not being named to any All-Big Ten teams last season, I expect Barrow to make the list in his third season starting on defense.

Jacoby Windmon, LB

The final Spartan included on the All-Big Ten third team is Jacoby Windmon. He will be in his second season at Michigan State after transferring from UNLV last year. Windmon had a dominant start to the 2022 season, recording six forced fumbles and one interception in eight games played.

Unfortunately, Jacoby was one of the Spartan players suspended after the Michigan game leading to the end of his season. Before that incident however, he was off to a blistering start and was leading the country in forced fumbles.

All of that success led him to earn three Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors as well as two national defensive player of the week awards. Jacoby did not make any of the All-Big Ten teams last year. However, I bet he would have been if it wasn’t for his suspension.

If Michigan State wants to have a successful season, they likely will need more than five names on the all Big Ten lists at the end of the season. I believe we will see these five names included, but who else will step up for the Spartans?

Head to this link for the complete list of preseason honorees: Athlon preseason All-Big Ten teams.


Michigan State football: Washington game time, channel announced

Fans won’t be too thrilled about the channel.



Michigan State football
© Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington vs. Michigan State football rematch is on Sept. 16, and the Spartans have revenge on their minds.

The game time for the Washington vs. Michigan State football game was just announced and is one I think most Michigan State fans will be happy with. The game will kick off at 5 p.m. ET on Sept. 16.

This is a great start time for Michigan State fans. That will give fans plenty of time to travel to East Lansing, enjoy a tailgate and get into the stadium. On top of that, the game will get down around 8 p.m. ET which is good for the crowd that does not like to be out late.

However, I think a lot of fans were hoping for a noon start time in this game. A noon start would have been a 9 a.m. local time for Washington, likely giving the Spartans a slight advantage. It’s no surprise seeing this big of a game scheduled in the evening to avoid that.

On top of the game time announcement, where the game will be aired on TV was also announced. This is where the good news ends. The Spartans game against Washington will only be available for streaming on Peacock. That means Spartan fans at home will have to pay to watch this game. However, a simple Google search showed me that Peacock currently only costs $20 for the entire year. A lot of Big Ten football and basketball games will only be available on Peacock this season, so that may not be a bad investment to make right now if you can.

What would a win mean for Michigan State football?

Michigan State will have revenge on its mind in this game. Washington beat the Spartans last season in Seattle 39-28. The game however did not feel that close. Michigan State made a late comeback to make the final score look respectable, but a lot of fans will tell you we never really stood a chance.

Washington will likely be a top 10 heading into this matchup, so Michigan State has a great opportunity in front of it. A win would would help spring the Spartans into the conference season with a lot of positive momentum.

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Jordan Hall hosts second annual free youth football camp (Video)

Jordan Hall is a legend already.



Jordan Hall
© Nick King/Lansing State Journal via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Michigan State freshman linebacker Jordan Hall continues to show just why he’s one of the best out there.

Jordan Hall is already showing signs of being the next great Spartan on and off the field.

The Michigan State freshman linebacker was born and raised in Fredericksburg, Va. However, he most recently moved to Bradenton, Fla., to play football at IMG Academy.

This past weekend, Hall returned home to Fredericksburg to host his second annual free Jordan Hall Youth Football Camp.

Hall has already been making a name for himself on the field for the Spartans this spring. His play and effort has been praised by fellow players and coaches alike. IMG Academy has a long history of producing high-quality athletes. This makes Hall’s tenure in the program even more noteworthy. He became the first three-time captain in IMG Academy history.

When coaches are recruiting players, they are hoping to find the perfect mix of talent and character. You don’t become a three-time captain of a storied school like IMG Academy without having both.

In a recent interview with Spartan Shadows, Cryeeta Hall said of her son, “One of his favorite things he loves to do is teach the game of football to kids. He loves to coach.”

Michigan State fans are excited to see what Jordan Hall can contribute on the field, but his character off the field so far is creating just as much excitement. When you see a young man with the heart and determination to give back to his hometown, it lets fans know this is the sort of player you can to rally around and support. Mel Tucker has shown intentionality in his recruiting. He has a specific type of player that he’s looking for. Jordan Hall epitomizes a Tucker type of player.

Hall has the potential to earn immediate playing time this year as a true freshman. I’m not a betting man but if I were, I’d wager that we’ll see him as a team captain for the green and white sooner than later.

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Mel Tucker is best coach in the Big Ten when it comes to one stat

This may surprise you.



Mel Tucker

Mel Tucker is the best coach in the conference when it comes to this one surprising stat.

Michigan State football coach Mel Tucker is one of the best coaches in the Big Ten when it comes to close games.

This may surprise some considering two of Tucker’s three years at Michigan State have resulted in losing seasons. But the data shows that Tucker knows how to come out on top when the game is close.

He has been at Michigan State since 2020. During that three year timeframe he boasts a 10-1 record in games decided by 10 points or less which is the best record in the conference during that span.

Here is a list of all 11 of those games:


  • at Michigan (W 27-24)
  • vs. Northwestern (W 29-20)


  • vs. Nebraska (W 23-20)
  • at Indiana (W 20-15)
  • vs. Michigan (W 37-33)
  • vs. Penn State (W 30-27)
  • vs. Pittsburgh (W 31-21)


  • vs. Wisconsin (W 34-28)
  • at Illinois (W 23-15)
  • vs. Rutgers (W 27-21)
  • vs. Indiana (L 39-31)

How impressive is this really?

A 10-1 record when games are within 10 points is extremely impressive. The only loss on this list is Indiana from last season, a game Michigan State likely should have one. The Spartans ended up losing in overtime to the Hoosiers, but were a chip shot field goal away from winning in regulation. That is a field goal college kickers make almost every time, so Tucker’s one loss on this list could easily have been another win.

Regardless, 10-1 is the best winning percentage in games decided by 10 points or less in the Big Ten during that three-year span.

This is how the rest of the Big Ten teams fared during this same timeframe:

  1. Michigan State: 10-1 (.909)
  2. Maryland: 8-3 (.727)
  3. Iowa: 11-5 (.688)
  4. Indiana: 7-4 (.636)
  5. Purdue: 12-7 (.632)
  6. Ohio State: 3-2 (.600)
  7. Michigan: 6-4 (.600)
  8. Minnesota: 9-7 (.563)
  9. Rutgers: 7-6 (.538)
  10. Wisconsin: 6-7 (.462)
  11. Penn State: 5-7 (.417)
  12. Northwestern: 5-9 (.357)
  13. Illinois: 6-11 (.353)
  14. Nebraska: 5-16 (.238)

What does this tell us about Mel Tucker?

One thing this tells us is the Tuck is a great in game coach in tight situations. No coach goes 10-1 in close games by accident. Sometimes there is a lot of luck involved with winning close games, but that’s not necessarily the case when you win them this efficiently. Anyone can close a game out when you are up by 20, but not everyone can win a close game in the closing seconds.

This statistic is not all good though. Michigan State has won 18 games during the past three seasons. This means that over half of the games Mel Tucker has won at Michigan State have been within 10 points. For a program with extremely high goals, that fact is a little scary.

As I mentioned before, sometimes luck has to be on your side to win these close games. So relying on winning a lot of close games to have a great season is not a recipe for success.

One things for sure though, as long as Mel Tucker is the coach at Michigan State, we stand a very good chance at winning any close game.

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