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Jalen Berger, former Wisconsin running back, announces plan to transfer to Michigan State

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

East Lansing — Michigan State hit the transfer portal jackpot last year when it landed Wake Forest running back Kenneth Walker III, who is second in the nation in rushing and in the mix for the Heisman Trophy.

Mel Tucker’s team is hoping it just happened again as former Wisconsin running back Jalen Berger announced Monday on Twitter that he has committed to Michigan State.

Former Wisconsin running back Jalen Berger announced Monday he will transfer to Michigan State.

At 6-foot and 205 pounds, Berger was a four-star recruit and the 15th-ranked running back in the nation in the 2020 class coming out of New Jersey. He became the Badgers’ starter in 2020 before COVID-19 forced him to miss the final two games.

Berger did not play in this season’s opener against Penn State and carried the ball 15 times the next week against Eastern Michigan. He had one carry against Notre Dame and eight against Michigan before entering the transfer portal.

According to Madison.com in a story from October, just after Berger entered the portal, sources said Berger was upset with Wisconsin bringing in transfer Chez Mellusi, a junior who became the Badgers’ starter.

Berger, who visited Michigan State earlier this month, joins a Michigan State running back room that likely will be without Walker, who seems nearly certain to enter the NFL Draft. Still on the roster at this point are junior Elijah Collins, sophomore Jordon Simmons, junior Harold Joiner, redshirt freshman Donovan Eaglin and freshman Davion Primm.

Collins, MSU’s leading rusher in 2019, battled injuries this season but spelled Walker in Saturday’s win over Penn State. Simmons had been the primary backup, going for more than 100 yards in the win over Youngstown State. Joiner was being used primarily in passing situations, but has been seeing increased playing time recently. Eaglin has played primarily on special teams while Primm is redshirting.

mcharboneau@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @mattcharboneau