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Michigan State football: 2-deep depth chart projections for 2023

Who should be QB1?



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

Michigan State football is a week away from kickoff and here’s what I think the depth chart could look like.

The 2023 Michigan State football season is about a week away and here’s what I think the two-deep depth chart could look like.
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With the season just about a week away, I think now would be the perfect time to predict what the Michigan State football depth chart could look like to begin 2023.

I have no insider info, just educated guesses. Feel free to disagree with my selections (I’m sure many will).


Starter: Katin Houser
Backup: Noah Kim

Probably my boldest prediction on the depth chart, I believe that Katin Houser is going to win the quarterback battle although Noah Kim is the much safer pick. Even if Kim trots out there as QB1 against Central, I’m going to count this as a win if Houser takes over at any point during the season. In my opinion, Houser has the higher upside given his build and arm talent, but Kim is safe and has a better grasp of the playbook since he’s been in the system for two years longer. I’m riding with Katin.

Running back

Starter: Nathan Carter
Backup: Jalen Berger

Another new starter for Michigan State, I think that Nathan Carter takes the reins in the backfield. Jalen Berger finished the 2022 season on a high note, playing really well in the final four games, but Carter has been a star this offseason. Besides being incredibly jacked, Carter has been rattling off big runs during practices and scrimmages. All signs are pointing to the UConn transfer to get the bulk of the carries, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see this backfield be a “hot hand” situation. Don’t sleep on Jaren Mangham either.

Wide receivers

Starters: Tre Mosley, Alante Brown, Montorie Foster Jr.
Backups: Tyrell Henry, Christian Fitzpatrick, Antonio Gates Jr.

Probably some of the most questions I have about this team are at receiver. And that’s not a horrible thing.

Tre Mosley is the lock of the century to start and be the team’s projected WR1. Beyond that, however, it’s a toss-up. I’d venture a guess that Alante Brown is another starter because he has the experience and his speed sets him apart. Montorie Foster Jr. is finally healthy and that’s why I give him the nod as the third starter. I think Montorie has a surprisingly effective season.

The backups are all worthy of starting as well. Tyrell Henry is a breakout candidate, in my opinion, and should be a factor on special teams. Christian Fitzpatrick’s frame really intrigues me and we always hear good things about him. Antonio Gates Jr. has elite bloodlines and he’s just a good athlete with a nice frame. And we can’t sleep on guys like Jaron Glover who has received praise during fall camp and I’m also high on true freshman Jaelen Smith.

Tight ends

Starter: Maliq Carr
Backup: Tyneil Hopper

The headlines surrounding Maliq Carr this offseason have been extremely positive. For the past couple of years, we didn’t know what we’d get from the talented tight end transfer from Purdue. Now, he’s a leader and he’s ready to show that he can be an All-Big Ten contributor. Carr has all the tools to be a great tight end in East Lansing. I’m expecting a monster year from him.

Tyneil Hopper is another guy I’m excited for. He came over from Boise State and he’s had his two best weeks of practice with Michigan State football recently. Not a bad 1-2 punch at tight end.

Offensive line

Starters: Brandon Baldwin, JD Duplain, Nick Samac, Geno VanDeMark, Keyshawn Blackstock
Backups: Spencer Brown, Kevin Wingenton, Dallas Fincher, Kristian Phillips, Ethan Boyd

A group that many believe is going to be the best in the Mel Tucker era, the offensive line packs some punch. The size has improved and these guys are finally healthy and looking to make some noise (and create some lanes).

My starting tackles are Brandon Baldwin and Keyshawn Blackstock. There’s a chance that Blackstock rotates with Baldwin at left tackle while Spencer Brown starts at right tackle, but this is my bold pick. At guard, I see JD Duplain on the left side and Geno VanDeMark on the right. And at center, Nick Samac is expected to be healthy for the opener. I really like this group of starters and hopefully they can develop some chemistry and stay healthy.

Behind them, I have Brown and Ethan Boyd at the tackles, Kevin Wigenton (or Gravin Broscious) and Kristian Phillips at guard, and Dallas Fincher at center. Don’t sleep on the freshmen (Stanton Ramil, Cole Dellinger).

Defensive line

Starters: Khris Bogle, Simeon Barrow, Jalen Sami, Tunmise Adeleye
Backups: Avery Dunn OR Ken Talley, Derrick Harmon, Jarrett Jackson, Zion Young OR Bai Jobe

This was the toughest position group to predict.

Michigan State football has one of the deepest defensive line rooms in the country. Are they all proven? No, but the talent is undoubtedly there.

I see the starting ends being Khris Bogle and Tunmise Adeleye but I could also see the latter sliding to the interior to provide a more dynamic look. Simeon Barrow Jr. and Jalen Sami are my picks to start on the interior. You’d be hard-pressed to find many better defensive lines in the country. This should be a major strength on this team.

The backups could be starters on most teams. Avery Dunn was a surprise last year at end and I could see him battling with Penn State transfer Ken Talley for snaps. At the other end, there’s another battle but Zion Young may honestly be a starter to begin the season. He’s a budding star. Bai Jobe, too, will do big things this year — as a true freshman. Derrick Harmon, another guy who could very well start, will be on the interior along with Florida State transfer Jarrett Jackson.



Starters: Cal Haladay, Jacoby Windmon
Backups: Aaron Brule, Darius Snow (when healthy) OR Ma’a Gaoteote OR Jordan Hall

Cal Haladay returns after a career season and he’s going to be one of the best linebackers in the Big Ten again. I’m expecting a second straight 100-tackle season from the junior. Jacoby Windmon will line up next to him at linebacker in the 4-2-5 and he also has the ability to line up on the edge. These two make up one of the best linebacking units in the Big Ten.

Behind them will be Aaron Brule, Darius Snow (assuming he gets back to live action this year), and either Ma’a Gaoteote or Jordan Hall. I really like how deep this group is and I think we’ll see all of them contribute.


Starter: Malik Spencer
Backup: Angelo Grose

The rave reviews for Malik Spencer haven’t exactly been few and far between as everyone seems to like this kid. He was recruited as a defensive back but he has the size and potential to be a really good nickel. I see him starting with Angelo Grose fighting for snaps behind him. This spot should be vastly improved.


Starters: Charles Brantley, Caleb Coley
Backups: Terry Roberts, Chester Kimbrough OR Marqui Lowery OR Semar Melvin

Outside of the defensive line, I think cornerback was the toughest time I had picking starters. Why? Because it could literally be anyone in this position group.

Charles Brantley seems like the safe option because he’s entering his third year in the system and he has starting experience. If he can take that next step, watch out. Caleb Coley is probably my second-boldest prediction on the depth chart as a starter. I really like his game and I think we’re going to see him take a huge step in year two with Michigan State football.

Terry Roberts will probably start some games this year after transferring in from Iowa. Chester Kimbrough is an option with all of the experience he has here and if Marqui Lowery can stay healthy, I like what he brings to the table. Semar Melvin is a wild card.


Starters: Dillon Tatum, Jaden Mangham
Backups: Armorion Smith, Malcolm Jones

We’ve heard that the leaders in the secondary during fall camp have been Dillon Tatum and Jaden Mangham and that’s why I see both guys starting. They got some valuable experience as freshmen in 2022 and while Mangham got injured, he still showed flashes of being a really good safety. I’m excited for the future of this position.

Behind them, in my opinion, will be Cincinnati transfer Armorion Smith and rising second-year defensive back Malcolm Jones.

Writer, co-owner of Spartan Shadows. Michigan State and college football expert at FanSided and formerly of The Detroit News. Expert on all things Michigan State. Connor Muldowney has written about Michigan State since graduating from the university with a degree in journalism back in 2013. Ten years of experience as a Michigan State writer/reporter.