If the season started today, junior Jairus Jones would be the starting free safety for the Michigan State football team, according to Secondary Coach Harlon Barnett.
“Currently, Jairus Jones has moved over there and is going with the first group,” Barnett said during an interview at Case Hall on Aug. 17. “That happened earlier in the week and he’s earned it. He’s been making plays on the ball, interceptions, and tackling. He kind of has separated himself a little bit as far as making plays on the ball. So, we’ll see. It could change.”
Jones, who missed the first eight games of the 2011 season due to a torn Achilles, has been primarily a special teams player for the Spartans. He came into August as the back-up strong safety behind Isaiah Lewis, according to the preseason depth chart.
Going into fall camp, all the talk surrounded sophomore Kurtis Drummond and red-shirt freshman R.J. Williamson to compete for the starting job and replace Trenton Robinson. As camp went on, there was talk about true freshman Demetrious Cox possibly starting. Barnett said that Jones is the starter as of now, but not by much.
“It’s good competition going on,” Barnett said.
When the Spartans put their nickel package on the field, Jones would come off the field and get replaced by both Williamson and Drummond. Junior Isaiah Lewis, the starting strong safety, would move up to the “Star” position.
At cornerback, Barnett stated that junior Darqueze Dennard and fifth-year senior Johnny Adams are the clear starters. Fifth-year senior Mitchell White is the third cornerback.
Meanwhile, fifth-year senior Tyler Hoover said that junior Micajah Reynolds has moved past Hoover for the starting role at defensive tackle alongside senior nose tackle Anthony Rashad White.
Reynolds, who has played in 16 career games for the Spartans, has been switched numerous times between the offensive and defensive line.
The Spartans hold their last jersey scrimmage Saturday, which should help sort out many position battles. Below is the current defensive starting line-up.
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