Here's how Michigan State football transfers fared at their new schools in 2021

Phil Friend
Lansing State Journal
Memphis Tigers defensive back Julian Barnett celebrates his team's 31-29 win against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021.

Michigan State's transfer portal policy was a winning one for the Spartans in 2021, finishing with a 10-2 regular-season record after going 2-5 a year ago.

Coach Mel Tucker had more than 20 players both come in and exit the program. Here's a look at how the players who left fared at their new schools during the 2021 season. 

Julian Barnett, CB, Memphis

Barnett played in the Tigers’ first eight games this season, starting one game. He tallied seven tackles and 0.5 sacks.

Jeslord Boateng, LB, Akron

Kent State running back Marquez Cooper is caught from behind by Akron's Jeslord Boateng during a first-quarter run on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021, in Akron, Ohio, at InfoCision Stadium.

Boateng provided an immediate impact upon his transfer, becoming the Zips’ starting linebacker and leading the team with 80 tackles while adding 1.5 sacks and a quarterback hurry.

Jack Bouwmeester, P, UMass

Bouwmeester didn’t play collegiately in the 2021 season. In November, he announced on Twitter his commitment to Massachusetts.

Theo Day, QB, Northern Iowa

Northern Iowa quarterback Theo Day (12) tries to break a tackle by Southern Illinois safety Jakari Patterson (6) during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021, in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Northern Iowa won 23-16.

Day transferred to Northern Iowa and, like Rocky Lombardi at Northern Illinois, became the immediate starter. Day started 11 of the Panthers’ 12 games, completing 155 of 276 passes for 2,316 yards with 16 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. The Panthers went 6-6 on the year. He was also named to the Missouri Valley Conference's All-Newcomer Team. 

Devontae Dobbs, OL, Memphis

Dobbs played in five games for Memphis this season, mostly at tackle.

Luke Fulton, LB, Kentucky

Fulton appeared in the Wildcats’ first eight games, but did not tally any statistics.

Tommy Guajardo, TE, Bowling Green

Guajardo did not appear in any games for the Falcons this season.

Devin Hightower, LB, Cincinnati

Cincinnati linebacker Devin Hightower (37) defends as Temple quarterback Justin Lynch (13) throws a pass during an NCAA college football game, Friday, Oct. 8, 2021, in Cincinnati. Cincinnati won 52-3.

Hightower finished the season with five tackles, earning a season-high of three on Oct. 8 against Temple. He appeared in four games as the Bearcats are on the cusp of the College Football Playoff with a win over Houston on Saturday.

Chris Jackson, CB, Washington State

Washington State defensive back Chris Jackson appeared in 8 games this season after transferring from MSU.

Jackson appeared in eight games for the Cougars, finishing with four tackles.

Damon Kaylor, OL, Ball State

Kaylor started in all 12 games for the Cardinals as they finished 6-6 this season to earn a bowl bid.

Marcel Lewis, LB, Central Michigan

Lewis transferred to Central Michigan for the 2021 season, but announced he was entering the transfer portal again in September after appearing in two games. In November, Lewis tweeted that his college football career was done. 

Rocky Lombardi, QB, Northern Illinois

Northern Illinois quarterback Rocky Lombardi (12) makes a pass against Northern Illinois during the first half at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021.

After losing his starting spot at MSU to Payton Thorne, Lombardi transferred to the Mid-American Conference school, where he won the starting QB job and has the Huskies in the conference championship game Saturday against Kent State. Lombardi played in 11 games, completing 173 of 295 passes for 2,314 yards with 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions. NIU had an upset win over Georgia Tech early in the season in which  Lombardi threw the game-winning touchdown pass. 

Dominique Long, S, Duke

Nov 18, 2021; Durham, North Carolina, USA;  Duke Blue Devils cornerback Dominique Long (38) celebrates a touchdown during the 1st half of the game against the Louisville Cardinals at Wallace Wade Stadium.

Long played in all 12 games for the Blue Devils, finishing with six tackles, a forced fumble and a pass breakup as they finished 3-9.

Chris Mayfield, DL, Ohio

Mayfield appeared in two games for the Bobcats, early-season affairs against Syracuse and Duquesne.

Tre’Von Morgan, WR, Kentucky

The Ohio native did not appear in any games for the Wildcats this season.

Jack Olsen, K, Northwestern

Olsen appeared in two games for the Wildcats, attempting one kickoff against both Ohio and Illinois, while also making an extra point against the Illini.

Jasiyah Robinson, LB, East Carolina

Robinson moved from the defensive line to linebacker after transferring to East Carolina, making one appearance for the Pirates this season.

Max Rosenthal, TE, Illinois

Rosenthal played fullback and tight end for MSU, but fully became a tight end once he got to Champaign. He participated in eight games for the Illini this season.

Justin Stevens, OL, South Alabama

Stevens, who opted out in the fall of 2020 due to the pandemic, never dressed for the Spartans. He did not make any appearances for the Jaguars this season.

DeAri Todd, DL, Montana

Todd played in 10 games for the Grizzlies, starting one, while tallying 11 tackles and 0.5 sacks. The Grizzlies (9-2) beat Washington in the first game of the season and reached the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs, where they'll play Eastern Washington on Friday. 

Charles Willekes, LB, Arkansas State

Willekes appeared in nine games for the Red Wolves, finishing with 18 tackles. Ten of those came in one game, against Georgia State on Nov. 20. They finished 2-10 on the season.

Anthony Williams Jr., RB, Akron

Akron Zips running back Anthony Williams Jr. (2) rushes down the sideline past Buffalo Bulls safety E.J. Brown (7) during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021, in Akron, Ohio.

The Chicago native appeared in 10 games for the Zips, finishing with 207 rushing yards and a touchdown on 56 carries. He also caught seven passes for 74 yards. His season-high for rushing yards (39), receiving yards (20), and his lone TD came against Bryant in Week 3.

Davion Williams, CB, Western Kentucky

Nov 27, 2021; Huntington, West Virginia, USA; Western Kentucky Hilltoppers defensive back Davion Williams (14) returns an interception for a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Marshall Thundering Herd at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.

The redshirt sophomore played in 11 games for the Hilltoppers, finishing with 17 tackles, two interceptions and two pass breakups. The Bellevue alum's lone start came in the regular-season finale against Marshall, where he had a 45-yard interception return for a score on the game's final play of a 53-21 win. WKU (8-4) will play in the Conference USA championship game Friday against UTSA and, later this month, in a bowl game. 

Contact digital sports reporter Phil Friend at 517-377-1220 or pfriend@lsj.com. Follow him on Twitter @Phil_Friend