Mel Tucker prioritized immediately improving Michigan State football’s talent and depth in the middle of his defense.
The Spartans for the second straight day dipped into the transfer portal to do so for a linebacker, getting a commitment from Mississippi State’s Aaron Brule. He joins UNLV transfer Jacoby Windmon, who announced his pledge Wednesday to play for MSU next fall.
The 6-foot-1, 230-pound Brule entered the portal last Thursday after posting 53 tackles in 12 games this season for the Bulldogs. He also had three sacks among his eight tackles for a loss.
With the COVID waiver for 2020, Brule has two seasons of eligibility left. He played in four games in 2018 to retain his redshirt at Mississippi State and left with 86 tackles and eight sacks in 40 career games, adding two fumble recoveries and three pass deflections.
Brule and Windmon are both natives of New Orleans. The 6-2, 230-pound Windmon, an All-Mountain West pick this fall with UNLV, had 11.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks among his 118 stops this season. Windmon posted 12 sacks and 169 tackles in three seasons with the Rebels.
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They will join Quavaris Crouch, who started the first nine games this season after transferring from Tennessee but missed two of the final three after suffering a right knee injury. The 6-2, 230-pound Crouch has 75 tackles and two sacks to go with a fumble recovery, a forced fumble, three QB hurries and two pass breakups this year.
The other returning starter, redshirt freshman Cal Haladay, was named a Freshman All-American by the Maxwell Football Club and ranks third on the Spartans with 85 tackles, returned an interception for a touchdown at Indiana, forced two fumbles and recovered another.
There was little depth beyond those two, however. Chase Kline rotated in as the third linebacker early in the season before entering the transfer portal after four games. Fifth-year senior Noah Harvey, a starter in 2019, took over for Crouch the final few games, while senior Ben VanSumeren and true freshman Ma’a Gaoteote also got limited snaps reserve duty.
Brule and Windmon join running back Jalen Berger (Wisconsin) as transfers who have announced intentions to play for MSU next season.