Monday, January 18, 2021

Suspended MSU football players both set to enter transfer portal

November 30, 2020
<p>Indiana University kicker Charles Campbell (93) makes a field goal during a football game against Michigan State at Spartan Stadium on Nov. 14, 2020.</p>

Indiana University kicker Charles Campbell (93) makes a field goal during a football game against Michigan State at Spartan Stadium on Nov. 14, 2020.

Photo by Alyte Katilius | The State News

A pair of MSU linebackers charged with assault in September have entered the transfer portal.

Luke Fulton and Charles Willekes were suspended indefinitely earlier this fall from the MSU football program.

Fulton's transfer decision was first reported by the Detroit Free Press and was confirmed to The State News by a spokesperson from MSU Athletics on Monday afternoon. Willekes decision to transfer was confirmed on Monday afternoon as well.

Both were suspended in September following the pair’s arrests on Sept. 8 at a fraternity off MSU's campus. The two remain suspended from the program indefinitely. 

The 20-year-old Fulton is a redshirt-freshman from Youngstown, Ohio. Fulton was arraigned and initially charged with aggravated assault at the 54-B district court on Sept. 9.

ELPD Deputy Chief Steve Gonzalez confirmed Willekes', 21, arrest in October in an email to The State News. Willekes is the younger brother of now NFL linebacker Kenny Willekes, who was an All-American selection at MSU during his career. 

Fulton is the fourth football player to announce he is transferring this season. Michigan State also had four players opt-out of playing this season.

Fulton is a 6-foot-4 inside linebacker that was listed as a 3-star recruit in the class of 2019, according to 24/7’s Composite Rankings. 

He was the No. 23 inside linebacker according to 247Sports when he was being recruited out of high school. But in September, his career path took a different turn.

September arrests

MSU suspended both Fulton and Willekes earlier this fall for off-field issues stemming from the pair's arrests at a frat party at an address belonging to Pi Kappa Alpha (PIKE) Fraternity.

“Luke Fulton and Charles Willekes were suspended from all team activities immediately, and remain suspended from the program indefinitely,” MSU football spokesperson Ben Phlegar said in an October email to The State News.

ELPD arrest logs from Sept. 7 to Sept. 14 report a pair of suspects that were arrested for aggravated assault that included forced entry into a residence at 301 Charles Street in East Lansing, the location of PIKE.

Gonzalez confirmed later the week that the news broke that the suspects, incident and location of both reported arrests in the arrest logs were that of Willekes and Fulton.

On Oct. 2, according to court records, Fulton pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of assault and battery as a part of a plea.

By taking a plea under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act (HYTA), Fulton avoided immediate jail time and was scheduled for a sentencing hearing on Oct. 28, Fulton's attorney Mike Nichols confirmed to The State News in October. The HYTA allows those who complete the conditions of their sentencing to have the records sealed. In Michigan, offenders younger than 24 who have pleaded to some criminal offenses can have their court records closed to public view under HYTA. 

“I wanted to make sure there was nothing misleading about this,” Nichols said in October. “This is a standard resolution that is not uncommon whatsoever."

The State News filed a FOIA request for the police and arrest records from Sept. 8. The request received a response on Nov. 9, but due to the protection of the records under the HYTA, ELPD denied the FOIA request for the police reports of the Sept. 8 arrests.

Both arrests came just over a week before the Big Ten football season was brought back on Sept. 16. Both athletes, an MSU spokesman confirmed, haven’t been with the program since before the return of the season.

Discussion

Share and discuss “Suspended MSU football players both set to enter transfer portal” on social media.