La'Darius Jefferson enters his name in transfer portal
Michigan State sophomore running back La'Darius Jefferson has entered his name into the NCAA transfer portal according to The Detroit Free Press, leaving the Spartans' running back room very thin.
Jefferson, who grew up in Columbia, Mississippi before moving to Muskegon, Michigan, became the third player in three weeks from MSU to enter his name in the portal following suit of former linebacker Brandon Bouyer-Randle and former running back Connor Heyward.
Bouyer-Randle put his name in the portal following Michigan State's 31-10 win over Northwestern, while Heyward didn't dress for MSU's game against Indiana. When asked following the Spartans's 40-31 win over the Hoosiers, Dantonio said Heyward's absence was due to "personal reasons." The next day, Heyward's name appeared in the portal.
Last year as a true freshman, Jefferson ranked third on the team in rushing with 255 yards on 78 carries, averaging 3.3 yards per carry and 23.2 yards per game. He also tied for second on the team with two touchdown carries.
He finished this season with 25 yards on 19 carries, as well as two touchdowns, which both came against Western Michigan. Because Jefferson played in more than four games, he will have to sit out a season at whatever school he goes to. Heyward, who only played in four games before leaving, will be able to use this season as a redshirt year and be immediately eligible at his new school.
Jefferson began the 2019 season as the second-string running back behind Heyward before redshirt freshman Elijah Collins passed them both on the depth chart. Now, with both Heyward and Jefferson gone, the Spartans are left with an inexperienced group.
Collins, who got his first-career start this season against WMU, is now the most experienced back on Michigan State's roster. Behind him are true freshman Anthony Williams Jr., with 19 carries to his name, and Brandon Wright, who hasn't seen the field this season.
The Spartans also have junior walk-on Alante Thomas, brother of former Spartan defensive lineman Lawrence Thomas, who has carried the ball three times in his career, twice coming in week two's game against the Broncos, and redshirt sophomore wideout Weston Bridges, who carried the ball 16 times last season as a running back and could return to the position if need be.
Bridges has not dressed in MSU's last two games. Following the win against Indiana, Dantonio said Bridges was not allowed to be on the sidelines due to a "minor team rules infraction".
Michigan State did not immediately respond when reached to for comment.
The Spartans (4-2, 2-1 Big Ten) travel to Madison, Wisconsin to play the eighth-ranked Badgers (3:30 p.m., BTN) this Saturday.