Whose stock is on the rise after Michigan State football’s 35-13 win over Western Michigan to start the year?
One game is in the books and Michigan State football has been the subject of criticism from rival fans and even some national analysts.
But that doesn’t mean the Spartans lacked positives.
The Michigan State football defense looked improved in some areas despite losing Xavier Henderson and Darius Snow and Simeon Barrow didn’t play the entire second half.
The offense also had its moments and put up 35 points and yet left 17-21 points on the field.
There’s room for growth, but there are a few guys whose stocks are on the rise.
Whose stock is skyrocketing after the season-opening win over WMU?
Jacoby Windmon, EDGE
If you haven’t already purchased stock in Jacoby Windmon, you may be too late. He had a monster opener, rivaling (but not really) Kenneth Walker III’s breakout in the first game of 2021. Windmon finished with four sacks and seven total tackles after moving over from linebacker to defensive end.
The Brandon Jordan Effect (trademark pending, hopefully) was in full swing and Windmon was the main beneficiary. He looked like the best player on the field all night long against WMU.
Keon Coleman, WR
If it were up to Keon Coleman, everyone would have already purchased his stock.
The sophomore led all receivers on Friday night with four catches for 84 yards and his first touchdown at Spartan Stadium. He just looked like a different player out there than a year ago — he’s built like a truck and he still has speed and athleticism to burn. Coleman was a matchup nightmare at receiver all night and probably should have put up even better numbers, but Payton Thorne was a little off.
Michigan State football may have found its post-Jayden Reed WR1.
Chester Kimbrough, DB
Are you as surprised to see this name on a list of players with rising stocks as I am? Probably, right?
Chester Kimbrough had his best game as a Spartan against Western Michigan on Friday, posting a career-best PFF rating and looking like the best defensive back on the field.
MSU Nickel Back Chester Kimbrough recorded his highest individual game PFF Grade of his Career with an 81.1 on 65 Snaps (Previous 75.0 vs IND ‘21). Kimbrough moved from Outside CB to the Slot this offseason and was tasked with primary coverage of leading returning WR Corey Crooms
— Al Karsten (@bigalfredosauce) September 4, 2022
The second-year Spartan came in as a cornerback but moved to nickel and looks to be more confident this season. If the opener is a sign of what to expect moving forward, Kimbrough is going to be a very pleasant surprise in 2022.
Daniel Barker, TE
I wanted to see a lot more out of the tight ends against Western Michigan, but outside of Daniel Barker, the rest of the group was quiet. Barker, too, is capable of much more, but we saw him flash those strong mitts on a one-handed catch in the corner of the end zone for an early score. He can be that dude.
Jalen Berger, RB
Anyone who joined my Spartan Shadows watch party for the opener knows who I favor in the backfield. I’m driving the Jarek Broussard bandwagon and I still am despite him having a quiet game compared to Jalen Berger. But what we saw from the Wisconsin running back transfer was impressive. He finished with 120 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries and it looks like he could be the workhorse.
Berger showcased good vision, strength, and some nice speed in the open field for more of a power back.
Michigan State’s backfield duo is going to be a problem for opponents.
Ben VanSumeren, LB
With Darius Snow going down, no one is going to mean more to the linebacking corps than Ben VanSumeren. Like Chester Kimbrough, VanSumeren wasn’t a name that was on my radar heading into the opener, but he shocked me by how great he looked against the Broncos.
VanSumeren led the team with 11 tackles and a tackle for loss and showcased his speed, strength, and IQ from the linebacker position. It looks like he’s going to be the surprise of the defense this season.
Germie Bernard, WR
It’s so early in Germie Bernard’s career, but I’m buying all the stock now. He had one reception for 44 yards and a touchdown against Western and the catch and run was impressive. Bernard reached up for a slightly high pass, slipped past his defender, and sprinted by everyone for the score.
This receiving corps is going to be scary this season.
Other Michigan State football players who I thought played well but didn’t necessarily make the cut were Khris Bogle and Barrow and already-proven stars like Bryce Baringer, Tre Mosley, and Jayden Reed looked good.