When Jake Hartbarger was injured in Michigan State’s Week 2 loss to Arizona State, it was thought he could return in 6-8 weeks. A month later, however, that timeline has been significantly extended.
Tuesday, Mark Dantonio confirmed that, more than likely, Hartbarger will miss the remainder of the 2018 season. The punter is still dealing with an injury to his right leg that hasn’t healed as expected.
“Jake is, in all general purposes, I believe done for the year,” the head coach said by way of mlive.com, “because I think to throw your right leg up in the air when it’s been broken is probably a little bit of an issue from a confidence standpoint.”
The fifth-year senior entered the 2018 season in his fourth year as the Spartans’ primary punter. Following the 2017 season, Hartbarger, who has a career average of 42.1 yards per punt, was named honorable mention All-Big Ten by the media.
It’s expected that Hartbarger will apply for a sixth season of eligibility.
Hartbarger was initially replaced by No. 2 quarterback Rocky Lombardi but the job now belongs to Tyler Hunt. The redshirt freshman is averaging 38.8 yards on his 15 punts since taking over the position full-time last month.