Antjuan Simmons, Matt Allen say they'll play final season at Michigan State
When Michigan State gets back on the football field is anyone’s guess at this point. However, when the Spartans do take the field, two of their most experienced, important players plan to be there.
Senior linebacker Antjuan Simmons and fifth-year senior offensive lineman Matt Allen both said on Wednesday they intend to play their final season at Michigan State, whenever that might come.
“As far as thoughts of the future and stuff, I'm all Michigan State right now,” Simmons said on a Zoom call with reporters. “I mean, I have every intention, as of right now, to play my final season, be here with my team and go on my last run with the guys.”
Allen had a similar response.
“Honestly, whatever happens happens and I'm planning on playing whether that's in the spring or in the coming fall depending on what it is,” Allen said. “I'm gonna be here and ready to play if the coaches let me, so I'll be ready to go. I know everybody else on the team will, too, but like I said during the summer, I'm just working as if we're playing tomorrow. So, I'm just gonna try and stay ready as much as I can, stay on top of workouts and really just stay ready for the season. I know the rest of the team’s doing the same thing.”
Michigan State and the rest of the teams in the Big Ten had their fall season wiped out when the conference announced in early August that it was postponing the season because of concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, the push has been to have a shortened season, potentially beginning in early January.
Even playing in the spring, though, won’t keep players from being back in the fall of 2021. The NCAA’s Division I Board of Directors voted to grant fall athletes another year of eligibility, opening the door for those like Simmons and Allen to play in the fall, whether a spring season happens or not.
“I’m taking it one day at a time,” Simmons said. “Every team within the conference is going to be doing that or something along those lines until we figure out officially what we're going to do in the spring or in the fall. But I'm excited. I'm excited for whatever the future may hold and I’m just gonna take it one day at a time and whatever happens, happens. I feel that's pretty much how you have to be in this situation. You can't get too fixated on one thing happening or another because there’s a lot of uncertainty right now and things are changing by the second, so you got to be willing to adapt.”
Entering the 2020 season, Simmons was named to the watch list for the Bednarik Award, which is given annually to the nation’s top college defensive player, while also being named to the Lott IMPACT Trophy Watch List. The outside linebacker was also a preseason All-Big Ten selection by Phil Steele.
Allen has started 16 of 30 career games at center and, as a member of the team’s Eagle Council, is one of several key leaders.
“You just kind of keep moving forward,” Allen said, “and keep trying to get better every day.”