Harold Joiner, running back from Auburn, will transfer to Michigan State

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

Michigan State coach Mel Tucker said his team was going to be active in the transfer portal, and for the second straight day, the Spartans secured a commitment from a high-level prospect.

Running back Harold Joiner III, a redshirt sophomore at Auburn who entered the transfer portal in October, announced Thursday on Twitter he had committed to Michigan State. Joiner joins former Temple quarterback Anthony Russo, who committed to the Spartans on Wednesday.

Harold Joiner

Joiner was one of the most sought-after running backs in the nation when he signed with Auburn as part of the 2018 class. The Birmingham, Ala., native was the No. 5 running back in the country but failed to gain a significant role with the Tigers.

He appeared on one game as a freshman in 2018, carrying the ball three times for 9 yards. As a redshirt freshman in 2019, Joiner played in eight games, gaining 94 yards on 12 carries with a touchdown and caught six passes for 128 yards and a touchdown. He played in Auburn’s first two games this season before entering the portal but didn’t have a carry or a reception.

More: MSU mailbag: Will Anthony Russo be No. 1? Will Rocky Lombardi change positions?

Joiner (6-foot-4, 231 pounds) finished his Auburn career with 15 carries for 103 yards and two touchdowns in 17 games.

At Michigan State, Joiner will become part of a crowded backfield but one that is open for a someone to stand out. Freshman Jordon Simmons played well this season and figures into Michigan State’s future plans while junior Connor Heyward saw the most consistent playing time. Sophomore Elijah Collins saw sporadic playing time after leading Michigan State in rushing in 2019 while sophomore Brandon Wright played primarily on special teams.

Sophomore Anthony Williams entered the transfer portal while freshman Donovan Eaglin has not appeared in a game this season.

Michigan State signed Oak Park’s Davion Primm on Wednesday and is waiting to see whether Audric Estime, a four-star commit, will sign in February or opt to flip to another team.


Twitter: @mattcharboneau