Wisconsin transfer Berger takes ‘huge step forward’ in Michigan State football’s RB battle

EAST LANSING — Replacing Kenneth Walker III might take some time to sort itself out. New Michigan State football running backs coach Effrem Reed admitted as much Thursday.

But Reed also said he is beginning to see clarity. And newcomer Jalen Berger might be making a move like Walker did a year ago when he transferred in.

“We’ve had a little separation the past two weeks or so, where guys are starting to take off because they’re starting to slow things down and understand,” Reed said Thursday. “I think the last scrimmage, Jalen Berger took a huge step forward because he actually got out there, he got loose, he made plays, he made people miss. He finished on top — that’s what we talk about all the time, fall forward and finish on top. And I thought he did a good job out of the backfield catching the football as well.”

Michigan State’s Jalen Berger runs the ball during practice on Tuesday, March 29, 2022, at the indoor football facility in East Lansing.

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That doesn’t mean the Wisconsin transfer has the job yet, particularly with an already crowded backfield — featuring Elijah Collins, Harold Joiner, Jordon Simmons and Davion Primm — getting more competition this summer with the arrival of Colorado transfer Jarek Broussard. However, it is a major step toward finding a replacement for Walker.

That is, if such a player exists.

Walker wrapped up the starting job last spring after his transfer from Wake Forest, then produced at an elite level in the fall, entering the MSU record books and winning both the Doak Walker Award (as the nation’s best running back) and the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award. He entered the NFL draft after finishing…

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