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Michigan State football: Top 5 transfers in the Mel Tucker era so far

Mel Tucker has been active in the portal.



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

Mel Tucker has landed a number of impactful transfers for Michigan State football, but these are my top five so far.

Mel Tucker has had a strong presence in the transfer portal since taking over as Michigan State football coach. He’s landed a healthy number of transfers each cycle since he’s been in East Lansing, but not all live up to the hype.

Some transfers fade into the background while others rise to the top and put up big numbers.

These are the five transfers that I believe have done the most in the Mel Tucker era so far.

Honorable mentions: Ben VanSumeren, Maliq Carr (will be on the list next year), Jarrett Horst, Ameer Speed

5. Jalen Berger

The Wisconsin transfer was once a blue-chip recruit who was expected to be the Badgers’ next great running back. However, he and the Badgers parted ways during the 2021 season and he visited Michigan State and loved what he saw. He committed in the winter and joined the team as the projected replacement for Kenneth Walker III.

Although his first season with Michigan State didn’t exactly see a breakout like he expected, he still rushed for 683 yards and six touchdowns while catching 19 passes for 128 yards. His production absolutely deserves a spot on this list and he got better as the year went on.

Right now, he’s projected to split RB1 carries with Nathan Carter.

4. Quavaris Crouch

I was a little hesitant to add Quavaris Crouch to this list because he didn’t even play a full season with Michigan State in 2021, but he was impactful. He made some huge plays in critical situations (against Michigan) and finished his lone season with 75 tackles, two sacks, three pass breakups, and a forced fumble. If he had stuck around for a bit longer, he could’ve been a top-three guy on this list.

For now, the former No. 61 overall recruit in the nation and Tennessee transfer is No. 4.

3. Kendell Brooks

I will be very honest, I did not think Kendell Brooks would be as good as he was for Michigan State football. He came in as a Division II transfer defensive back and didn’t play a whole bunch in 2021. In fact, Brooks appeared in five games at cornerback and totaled nine tackles and a pass breakup.

And then he switched to more of a safety role in 2022 and excelled. The Division II transfer had a whopping 100 tackles to go along with 3.5 tackles for loss, three pass breakups, and three forced fumbles in 11 games.

Now he’s with the Arizona Cardinals after signing as an undrafted free agent. The defensive backfield will miss him.

2. Jacoby Windmon

Everyone was excited about the addition of Jacoby Windmon ahead of the 2021 season after an incredibly productive career at UNLV. And he didn’t disappoint.

In just eight games, he finished with 49 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, an interception, two pass breakups, and six forced fumbles. He was one of the best defenders in the Big Ten early in the season and if he never got suspended for the tunnel altercation, he would’ve had even gaudier numbers.

I’m expecting a huge season from Windmon in 2023.

1. Kenneth Walker III

Do I even need to say anything about why Kenneth Walker III is No. 1? No, I don’t. But I will.

After splitting carries through two seasons at Wake Forest, Walker just needed a chance to be the go-to guy somewhere else and Michigan State granted that wish. He took over the RB1 role in 2021 and racked up 1,636 yards and 18 touchdowns on 6.2 yards per carry, winning the Doak Walker Award.

You could even argue that he was the reason Michigan State won a few games in 2021 and without him, the Spartans don’t reach 11 victories. He single-handedly scored 30 points against Michigan with his five-touchdown performance, bringing Paul Bunyan home for a second straight year.

K9 is easily the best transfer in the Tucker era and likely will end up at the top when it’s all said and done.

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.