Listen: Mel Tucker makes his first appearance at Big Ten Media Days

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Indianapolis, IN (WLNS) – In his first year as the football coach at Michigan State, Mel Tucker missed out on a lot of things in 2020 – the chance to coach in front of 75,005 loud and proud Spartan fans at Spartan Stadium was the biggest. Another thing he missed, was Big Ten Media Days.

On Friday, Tucker finally had the chance to take the podium in front of media members, from all across Big Ten country, to preview year two at MSU.

Tucker mentioned a number of things during Media Day. From wanting to win a national championship at MSU, to 90 percent of his team being vaccinated, and his current roster having 34 new players from a year ago.

The Spartans brought in 18 players via the transfer portal, and 18 freshmen in total.

Tucker wasn’t alone when it came to representing the Spartans. Senior safety Xavier Henderson, senior defensive lineman Drew Beesley, and redshirt junior wide receiver Jalen Nailor also made the trip to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

All three returning players were asked what newcomers have them most excited for the upcoming season.

“Kenneth Walker,” Nailor said. “I love the way he runs the ball. I love everything about him.”

“Drew Jordan, the transfer from Duke,” Beesley said. “He’s a guy that has a degree from Duke and he’s got a good head on his shoulders. I’ve met his parents and they’ve raised him well. And he’s a guy that’s not only, strong, physical, fast, he’s also very smart. His football IQ is through the roof. There’s not much I’ve had to teach him when it came here, it’s all there. He’s going to be a guy that’s going to help us a lot this fall.”

“Quavaris Crouch is one I’m really impressed with,” Henderson said. “But there’s other dudes that can go.”

When the three players weren’t answering questions from reporters, they were taking in the experience of being inside Lucas Oil Stadium – the location of the 2021 Big Ten Championship Game and the 2022 National Championship Game.

“It’s just fun because we didn’t have stuff like this last year,” Henderson said. “To be out of all that, and to get back to a little bit of normal, and to be able to do stuff like this, it makes the season that much more fun.”

“It’s surreal. It’s my first time being in here” Nailor said. “I haven’t been in many NFL stadiums, so this is the nicest one I’ve been in for sure. I’m blessed to be here.”

“Being at Lucas Oil Stadium, I’ve watched the Big Ten Championship since I was a little kid, and to actually be in this field, for media day is one thing, and it’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” Beesely said. “It creates motivation to come back here and win it.”

When it comes to Tucker, he addressed who would be the No. 1 quarterback for the Spartans at the start of fall camp. And to put it lightly, we’ll have to wait and see.

“We need to have as many guys on our roster that go in and win a game, compete, and win the one-on-ones, and execute their position, and play winning football,” Tucker said. “Whether it’s (Anthony) Russo, (Payton) Thorne, Noah Kim, Hamp Fay, those guys, they’re all competing to get on the field. And it’s our job to teach, motivate and develop those guys. And not just motivate, but inspire those guys and capture their minds to get them to a place to where they can play winning football for us.”

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