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Michigan State football: You have to love the hire of Diron Reynolds

The hire of Diron Reynolds deserves some praise.



Michigan State football
© Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

Mel Tucker officially made a move to make Diron Reynolds the next defensive line coach for Michigan State football.

When the news broke that defensive line coach Marco Coleman was leaving Michigan State football, it surprised many fans, especially coming off a great recruiting class with guys like Andrew Depaepe, Jalen Thompson, and Bai Jobe. For many fans, this was the job that they did not expect to have to fill.

With Coleman out as the defensive line coach, the question of who the next coach was going to have to be answered, and now, it has been. The next defensive line coach at Michigan State will be Diron Reynolds. 

If you wanted the next Michigan State defensive line coach to have a lot of experience, Reynolds would fit that requirement. Reynolds has 25-plus years of experience coaching and his experience with the defensive line has come from seven-plus years in the NFL and eight-plus years in college.

In the last seven years of coaching at Oklahoma and Stanford, Reynolds has had four defensive linemen drafted including No. 3 overall pick Solomon Thomas to the San Francisco 49ers. Reynolds has a ton of experience and has had success at every place he has coached. He has coached under many great head coaches like Tony Dungy, Bob Stoops, and David Shaw. He also has known Mel Tucker for over 15 years.

While he is not the guy most fans expected, Reynolds and Brandon Jordan should be an elite coaching duo that will continue the momentum and success that the latter and Coleman had already started.

Overall, this is a good hire for Tucker. Reynolds will bring a lot of knowledge and experience to the defensive line room, while Jordan will continue to do what he does as a pass rush specialist. Spartan fans should be excited about this hire and should especially be pumped for the future of the defensive line. That’s because Michigan State football has been really focusing on dominating in the trenches on both sides of the ball and Reynolds and Jordan are coaches who can and will make that happen.


Michigan State football: Mel Kiper Jr. dubs Jayden Reed a 2/3 round pick

Jayden Reed could get a nice birthday present.



Michigan State football
© Dale Young-USA TODAY Sports

NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. says that Michigan State football star Jayden Reed is a second or third-round pick.

When the 2022 Michigan State football season concluded, disappointment set in. The Spartans weren’t going to a bowl game, the coaching staff was doubted for the first time, and certain star players didn’t live up to expectations whether it was because of injuries or just misuse.

One of those disappointing seasons due to injury came from Jayden Reed.

The senior receiver had lofty goals in 2022 after posting his first 1,000-yard season in 2021, catching 59 passes for 1,026 yards and 10 touchdowns for the 11-win Spartans. He was supposed to be one of the best receivers in college football this season but he just couldn’t catch a break. He was hampered in the preseason with a nagging injury and then hurt his back in a freak injury against Akron that kept him out of the Washington game.

When he returned, it took him a minute to get on the same page with Payton Thorne. The two eventually got in rhythm and Reed finished the season with 55 catches for 636 yards and five scores.

Reed has gone from a potential Day 2 pick down to a Day 3 prospect following the season and he would need a heck of a Reese’s Senior Bowl performance along with a solid Combine showing to fix that.

And he delivered.

Reed was the best receiver during the week of practices at the Senior Bowl and then showed out at the Combine with an impressive 40-yard dash and smooth pass-catching drills.

His stock has been on the rise ever since.

In fact, Mel Kiper Jr. recently spoke on a conference call via MLive and said that Reed looks like a second or third-round pick. If he’s projected to go on Day 2 after a “disappointing” season, just imagine how high he’d be mocked if he had another 1,000-yard campaign.

It looks like Reed might get his wish of getting drafted on his birthday (Day 2 of the draft), after all.

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Michigan State football: Ben VanSumeren has all-time great Pro Day

Ben VanSumeren definitely boosted his pro stock.



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

Ben VanSumeren had an up-and-down Michigan State football career but he dominated at his Pro Day in East Lansing.

Dozens of NFL scouts were on hand at Michigan State football Pro Day on Wednesday and there were some eye-popping performances from a number of Spartans.

One of those high-level performers was Ben VanSumeren.

Yes, the linebacker who struggled with consistency for a couple of years but showed flashes of brilliance was arguably the top Pro Day performer. He was dominating just about every single drill.

In fact, even Ian Rapoport tweeted about VanSumeren’s performance, stating that he would have blown up at the Combine if he had been invited.

The blurb at the bottom of the tweet is wildly impressive. Out of all the linebackers at the 2023 NFL Combine, VanSumeren’s 42.5-inch vertical would have been the highest, his broad jump would have been the longest, his 29 bench press reps would have been tied for the most, and his 40-yard-dash would have been the second-fastest. That’s mind-boggling. Actually insane if you think about it.

While VanSumeren may not have had the most productive Michigan State career after transferring over from Michigan, there was never a doubt about his athleticism.

VanSumeren finished his Michigan State career with 93 total tackles, four tackles for loss, and two sacks in 18 games. He could use some work in pass coverage, but his sideline-to-sideline speed is impressive.

The senior linebacker didn’t have the highest draft stock when the season ended, but he led all tacklers at the Shrine Bowl and then had this explosive Pro Day. He may not be a household name in draft experts’ minds, but he’s someone to keep an eye on as the process continues. We may be seeing VanSumeren playing linebacker on Sundays next season just a few years after he was asked to play fullback in Ann Arbor.

Can’t help but root for this dude.

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Michigan State football: Antjuan Simmons is perfect GA addition to staff

This is sure to inject some life.



Michigan State football
© Nick King/Lansing State Journal via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Antjuan Simmons was hired as a grad assistant on the Michigan State football staff and it’s a move that will pay dividends.

Every now and then, players come along that you just feel should have stuck around longer. Every Michigan State football fan would tell you that they wish they got more Antjuan Simmons.

Simmons spent four years in East Lansing and was the team’s leader during Mel Tucker’s first year in a COVID-19-affected 2020 season. He finished with a staggering 75 tackles and nine tackles for loss in just seven games and decided not to use his extra year, leaving the program after 2020. Simmons was well on pace to smash his previous career highs, but the shortened season prevented that.

So basically, we only got 3.5 seasons of Simmons and he really only broke onto the scene in the final year of Mark Dantonio in 2019. We only really got to enjoy 1.5 years of starting Antjuan.


But it looks like Michigan State fans will be able to see him on the sidelines again soon as he’s joining the staff for the 2023 season.

According to Justin Thind, Mel Tucker hired Simmons as a grad assistant on Monday.

Thind and others raved about the move, and it’s easy to see why this is going to work out well for Michigan State. Simmons and Tucker are familiar with each other and the former All-Big Ten linebacker was one of the best leaders the program has seen over the past few years. He’ll be able to connect with the players and also help recruit at a high level.

It’s always good for former players to come back and help turn the program back into a winner. I think Simmons is going to do just that.

After losing Brandon Jordan to the NFL, this is the good news that Michigan State needed, coaching staff-wise. This was a home-run move by Tucker for many reasons on and off the field.

Although this doesn’t make up for the unsatisfying amount of time in which we got to enjoy Simmons as a player, it’ll be great to have him back in East Lansing coaching the good guys.

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