NCAA grants sixth year for Michigan State's Jake Hartbarger, Brandon Sowards

The Detroit News
Michigan State receiver Brandon Sowards (16) has been granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA.

Michigan State will have its starting punter back for next season, as well as another veteran receiver.

The program announced Thursday that punter Jake Hartbarger and receiver Brandon Sowards were each granted a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA for next season.

Hartbarger was lost for the 2018 season after injuring his right leg against Arizona State on Sept. 8, forcing the Spartans to use four starting punters.

Hartbarger averaged 42 yards per punt as a junior, placing a career-high 28 inside the 20-yard line to help him enter last season as a Ray Guy Award candidate. He averages 42.1 yards per punt for his career.

Sowards, a Wyandotte Roosevelt product, caught 18 passes for 201 yards last season, starting four games. He saw his role increase with injuries to receivers Felton Davis III, Cody White and Darrell Stewart Jr. during the course of the season.

He also led the Spartans in punt returns in 2016 and 2018, and has 24 for his career for 154 yards.

He missed the 2017 season with a knee injury.