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'I will be a lifelong Spartan': MSU QB Rocky Lombardi says farewell to Spartans fans

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Calling it "one of the hardest decisions I've ever made," quarterback Rocky Lombardi said farewell to Michigan State fans Friday.

Lombardi entered the transfer portal last week, and confirmed his decision in a lengthy Twitter statement.

Rocky Lombardi

"Michigan State has been a great home for me the last four years of my life," Lombardi said. "I will forever be in debt to this university for the countless friendships and memories that will last me a lifetime.

"I would like to thank all of my teammates and coaches who have helped me improve as a player and person in the last four years. I will be a lifelong Spartan and I will always wear the green and white proudly.

"I am more than excited for the last two years of my career."

A backup the last two seasons, Lombardi emerged as the start this year under first-year head coach Mel Tucker. He showed flashes at times, leading the Spartans to victories over Michigan and Northwestern, but also was inconsistent. His last game was a 52-12 loss to Ohio State, against whom he exited early with an injury. He then didn't play in the season finale, a loss to Penn State, replaced by Payton Thorne.

Michigan State also landed Temple grad transfer Anthony Russo, and got three-star recruit Hampton Fay on Early Signing Day.

For the season, Lombardi was 84-for-157 (53.5%) for 1,090 yards. He threw for nine touchdowns but also eight interceptions.

Michigan State has seen more than a dozen players transfer this season, as Tucker works to put together his own roster after succeeding Mark Dantonio in February.

tpaul@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tonypaul1984