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Michigan State Football Pushes Through a Scorching Summer Strength and Conditioning Program

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EAST LANSING As temperatures rose into the 90s in Michigan this week, Nick Samac took full advantage of the weather.

The Michigan State Seniors Center headed west toward Lake Michigan. But that was only after completing another day of the Spartans summer strength and conditioning program.

Can’t say the heat was super fun until I hit Grand Haven, Samac said with a smile, after a workout on Thursday.

Michigan State concluded spring training on April 16 and, after a hiatus, began its summer strength and conditioning program on May 31. That will take the team to the beginning of fall camp.

They work us hard in there, I’m not going to lie, said sixth-year senior tight end Tyler Hunt with a laugh. It’s hot, it’s humid.

Mel Tucker is entering his third season as a coach and is looking for even more success after an 11-2 year. While the Spartans are creating buzz on the hiring path nationally by making pledges of five 2023 four-star prospects so far this month, the current team is doing the work of building the foundation for the fall.

We were much further along in our training program than last year, Hunt said. There wasn’t much easing this summer like last year. We’ve really taken off this summer and I think it will only benefit us more to start faster than last year, especially with the freshmen and all the transfers coming in as well.

Michigan State added 14 midyear scholarship players in January, nine true freshmen from the 2022 recruiting class and five transfers who completed the winter strength and conditioning program and spring training. A trio of graduate transfers arrived in May, followed later in the month by actual freshmen who weren’t early entrants.

Dillon Tatum, a four-star defender from West Bloomfield High School, was one of the first participants this year. Now going through an off-season program led for the second time by head strength and conditioning coach Jason Novak, he has noticed an improvement, including in his upper body.

It’s good for me because I took advantage of it when I got here, Tatum said. I learned a lot and got stronger, bigger and faster. Now that the other guys came in, I’ll always be a team player, helping my guys, making sure they understand this or that.

Tatum was in Atlanta earlier this week as part of a Michigan State group sent to the inaugural NIL summit. Redshirt sophomore tight end Maliq Carr was also there when he was introduced as an addition to World Wrestling Entertainments’ NIL program. The former Purdue transfer is coming out of his first season with the Spartans and also played basketball for coach Tom Izzo after football ended. That meant he was not a full-fledged participant in the Novaks winter program and is getting back into football form.

Basketball makes me feel lighter on my feet, Carr said. It allows me to move better with more control over my body, which is great.

Renovation of the football facility has recently begun, leading to the move of the weight room equipment to the indoor practice field. That takes up some space and calls for an adjustment. There’s also a new focus on the Spartans after Tucker led them to the biggest single-season turnaround in the program’s history.

We have all the weapons we need to win big, but it’s day to day, Carr said. It comes in every day, put on your helmet and get to work.

Hunt knows the grind very well. The former walk-on who joined the program as a gambler before transitioning to tight end two seasons ago is in his sixth and final year at Michigan State. Now recovering from an injury that sidelined him late last season, he is one of more than 100 players gearing up for the fall.

Be ready, I guess, Hunt said. They prepared us well all winter, spring and now summer.

Michigan State Football Related Stories:

Colt’s safety Khari Willis, a former Michigan state star, retires after 3 NFL seasons

4-star OL Clay Wedin commits to the state of Michigan

4-star CB Jaylon Braxton commits to Michigan State

Michigan State Football Opponents: Wisconsin Reworks Defense That Was Among the Nations’ Best Last Year

4-star LB Jordan Hall commits to the state of Michigan

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