EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Since Mel Tucker has been hired as Michigan State’s football coach, he hasn’t exactly had the full experience when it comes to engaging and interacting with the Spartan Community, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This summer, Tucker and his players have had more chances to be with Spartan Nation, and Saturday is a great example of that.

For ten years now, Michigan State football has been a proud partner of the JDRF One Walk event. For the second straight year, due to the pandemic, those in attendance drove their cars around MSU’s campus, instead of walking campus.

On the final Saturday in July, Tucker and a few of his players showed up to support the fight against Type 1 diabetes.

“To be in the community, to see the excitement, not just on social media but live and in person, it’s a great feeling,” Tucker said.

Redshirt junior safety, Michael Dowell said, “That’s what we missed about this campus, and why Michigan State is so amazing because you have so many different foundations and people that want to help.”

While the team enjoyed their time with the community, there was another reason why it was important for the Spartans to show their support.

Fifth-year senior cornerback Spencer Rowland was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes three years ago, and he like all those in attendance are hoping to turn it from Type 1 to Type None.

“I’m really close to him and I see him post things on social media and I wanted to come out and support him,” Dowell said. “There is a fight against Type 1 diabetes, and I’m big on education so I just want to continue to learn more of it. And when I come in contact with someone that has it, I can be more aware to help them.”

“Seeing them show their support, not just for me but for the community of Type 1 diabetics at large, it’s really meaningful, and I think it shows the leadership on our team,” Rowland said.

Before the cars started the drive around campus, Rowland spoke to those in attendance about his three-year journey and how being a diabetic has motivated him to become a Div. 1 college football player.

“It was really difficult to manage it at first and I think that made me find some drive and determination because I know other kids are going through it as well,” Rowland said. “When it came to football, it was just second nature to have that relentless attitude that we talk about here at Michigan State.”