Friday, April 10, 2020

Tucker hires former Spartan All-American Harlon Barnett as secondary coach

February 20, 2020
	<p>Secondary coach Harlon Barnett leads a practice drill Aug. 14, 2013, at the practice field outside Duffy Daugherty Football Building. Julia Nagy/The State News</p>

Secondary coach Harlon Barnett leads a practice drill Aug. 14, 2013, at the practice field outside Duffy Daugherty Football Building. Julia Nagy/The State News

Photo by Julia Nagy | The State News

Michigan State football head coach Mel Tucker, with his $6 million budget, has made huge strides in building the forces of his staff.

His newest addition is former Spartan All-American Harlon Barnett, who will be returning to the green and white defensive staff to coach the secondary.

Barnett's Michigan State collegiate career was a sparkling one.

Barnett was titled as a four-year letterwinner at MSU (1986-89) as a defensive back. He was a three-year starter for former coach George Perles and a member of the 1987 Big Ten and 1988 Rose Bowl championship team that went 9-2-1 overall and finished eighth in the polls.

He was also named a captain and All-American in his senior year, before going on to play in the NFL as a safety with the Cleveland Browns, New England Patriots, and Minnesota Vikings.

Barnett first returned to East Lansing with seven years of professional playing experience and nine seasons of coaching experience under his belt.

He mentored one of the top secondaries in the nation during his first coaching stint at MSU.

He also coached nine Spartan defensive backs that were later selected in the NFL Draft, including two first-rounders, Darqueze Dennard for the Cincinnati Bengals and Trae Waynes for the Minnesota Vikings, along with three All-Americans and three Thorpe Award semifinalists.

He was appointed as assistant head coach and co-defensive coordinator prior to Michigan State's 2015 Cotton Bowl Classic victory over Baylor. Later, in 2017 during his 11th season on the Spartan staff, Barnett was moved to work as associate head coach, before departing for Florida State University to be the defensive coordinator from 2018-19.

Barnett is returning to East Lansing once again, joining offensive coordinator and quarterback coach Jay Johnson, offensive line coach and run game coordinator Chris Kapilovic, and wide receivers coach Courtney Hawkins.

Tucker has previously announced that Mike Tressel and Ron Burton will be back on the defensive staff for the Spartans as well.

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