East Lansing — There is no spring practice taking place at Michigan State, but that doesn’t mean preparations for the 2020 season aren’t already in progress.
That includes putting together a roster, which the Spartans released on Tuesday.
No, we won’t be seeing this team on the field anytime soon, but as first-year coach Mel Tucker and his staff continue to work remotely, it at least gives some idea of the direction the team is heading in a couple of areas.
The most notable was the fact sophomore Julian Barnett is listed as a cornerback. One of the top corners in the nation coming out of Belleville, Barnett flipped to wide receiver last season, appearing in all 13 games as a true freshman. Last week, defensive coordinator Scottie Hazelton said Barnett had spent some time on the defensive side of the ball before players were sent home because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Julian has been in our room a little bit,” Hazelton said, “and he might be playing some corner and doing some stuff to get trained for that way, so we’ll have to see.”
Another notable move on the roster was the fact redshirt freshman Adam Berghorst was listed solely as a tight end. Last season, Berghorst began at defensive end before appearing in three games as a tight end. There’s still a chance he could play on either side of the ball, but the roster makes it clear offense will be his focus for now.
“I know that there’s a couple guys who did that were kind of flipping back and forth,” Hazelton said. “It sounds like he was going to stay with the offense.”
There has also been a shift in special teams. After six seasons in the program, Jake Hartbarger has moved on and the assumption was Jack Bouwmeester would take over after redshirting last season. However, a team spokesman confirmed on Wednesday that Bouwmeester is no longer with the program and returned home to Australia.
At the same time, Bryce Baringer has rejoined the team as a walk-on. He transferred from Illinois and appeared in four games in 2018. He left the team last year and had entered the transfer portal but has once again come back to Michigan State. Baringer will likely compete with junior Tyler Hunt, who punted in five games in 2018 before suffering a torn ACL in practice. Last season, Hunt served as the holder on field goals and extra points and played on the kickoff return team.
In other moves, junior DeAri Todd is back at defensive end after playing the last two seasons inside at tackle while fullbacks Max Rosenthal and Reid Burton are listed as tight ends, though it’s likely that will be more of a hybrid fullback/tight end spot.
Also, a handful of players, all former walk-ons, opted not to use their final season of eligibility after taking part in senior day festivities last fall. That group includes offensive lineman Tommy Liesveld, linebacker Peter Fisk, defensive back Corey Pryor, linebacker Dante Razzano and running back Noah Sargent.