Mel Tucker appears to have picked up his second personnel win as the Michigan State football head coach.
In September of last year, running back Connor Heyward took the first step in leaving the Michigan State football team by entering his name into the NCAA transfer database. A little over four months later, after Mark Dantonio‘s abrupt retirement, Tucker took over in East Lansing.
On Twitter a week after Tucker came back to the Spartans, Heyward announced in a tweet that he has reversed course and will pull his name from the portal. And, in his social-media missive, the running back credited Tucker for the personal reversal.
“After talking with [athletic director Bill] Beekman and Coach Tucker, I have decided to take my name out of the transfer portal and return to Michigan State University,” Heyward wrote. “It has been a long process, but I know this is home in my heart.
“I’m looking forward to what the future holds. I can’t wait to get back to work with my brothers.
— Connor Heyward (@ConnorHeyward1) February 20, 2020
A three-star member of Michigan State’s 2017 recruiting class, Heyward was rated as the No. 72 player regardless of position in the state of Georgia. In 2018, Heyward led MSU in rushing yards (529), rushing touchdowns (five), carries (118), all-purpose yards (1,065) and kick returns (13 for 287 yards; 22.1 avg.). That year, he was named as a finalist for the Paul Hornung Award, given annually to the nation’s most versatile player.
This past season, Heyward ran for 79 yards on 24 carries.
All told, Heyward has ran for 618 yards and five touchdowns on 145 carries. He’s also caught 43 passes for another 314 yards and two touchdowns.
Because he played in just four games in 2019, Heyward will be permitted to take a redshirt for last year. That would make him a redshirt junior for the 2020 campaign and leave him with two years of eligibility to use.