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Jonathan Smith addresses thoughts on Michigan State's QB situation

On3-Social-Profile_GRAYby:On3 Staff Report11/28/23
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In the wake of Michigan State‘s firing of head coach Mel Tucker and subsequent hire of Oregon State‘s Jonathan Smith, a handful of quarterback have opted to enter their name into the NCAA transfer portal.

Noah Kim entered the portal on Tuesday, while fellow quarterback Katin Houser and Sam Leavitt planned to enter.

Kim and Houser did the bulk of the lifting at the position for the Spartans in 2023, totaling 2,222 passing yards and 12 touchdowns, against 11 interceptions.

Smith, the program’s new coach, didn’t sound overly concerned about the transfer portal entries.

“I think we are going to run a style of play that the quarterback can have some real, real success,” Smith said at an introductory press conference. “I think being the starting quarterback at Michigan State is an unbelievable opportunity, and that opportunity is there for who’s in our locker room starting in January.”

Kim began the year as the team’s starting quarterback, playing in five games before he was benched. He finished with 1,090 yards and six touchdowns, along with six interceptions.

Houser then took over and led the Spartans in the second half of the season. He fared only marginally better, passing for 1,132 yards with six touchdowns and five interceptions.

Kim was a little bit of a rushing threat (53 yards), while Houser was not. Leavitt, the third quarterback who planned to enter the portal, was also used some as a runner, tallying 67 yards on the ground.

Smith kept selling opportunity to his players who recently entered the transfer portal.

“I’ll say this not just specifically about the quarterback position but in general, this day and age in college football there’s opportunity’s there as far as weighing your options, fresh start somewhere else,” Smith said. “All of the current players, unsettling the last year, so that’s not, how I would say it, totally surprising for guys to want to explore an option or two. And I get that.”

But for the players that do remain and help partake in the rebuild, Smith will have a special affinity for.

“We really support those that want to be in that locker room in January,” he said. “I’ve got a firm belief we can hit the ground running and do something special.”