ICONIC Michigan State Spartan and current assistant head coach and defensive coordinator Harlon Barnett once again has suitors lining up to pay him a lot of money. After an amazing season that was spearheaded by the defense that he has led, he now will be faced with some tough choices.
Early this morning Spartan Nation learned that Florida State University and new head coach Willie Taggart have targeted Barnett (Among others) to be their next defensive coordinator. While investigating the story Dan Wolken Tweeted about the situation saying, “Florida State has had ongoing conversations with Michigan State assistant HC/co-DC Harlon Barnett about its defensive coordinator position.”
Here is what Spartan Nation has learned from sources CLOSE to the situation. While there may have been hints made prior, Florida State contacted Barnett late on Monday. No decision has been made by Barnett as to if he would go and we also have learned that the job has not been offered, yet.
According to a senior Michigan State official speaking on condition of anonymity I was told, “Harlon will always be loved here. While I feel good about us keeping him, I do not believe he has made any decision. Certainly, the entire staff has earned raises and I am confident that should he stay that has been discussed, specifically our intent to reward not only Coach Barnett but the entire staff for another job well done. He is aware that we are prepared and willing to financially reward his hard work should he stay. He is one of us, a true Spartan and while we want to keep him, we will respect him for whatever decision he makes.”
A source very close to Barnett confirmed that no decision has been made and that, “Any decision that would take him from here would be very difficult.”
MSU OC Dave Warner is the highest paid assistant on Mark Dantonio’s staff. He makes $460,964 per year. Barnett was paid this season $452,570. According to sources, Barnett could get a raise should he take the job in Tallahassee that could potentially go north of $1 million per year. MSU has only paid one football assistant that much money and it as Pat Narduzzi prior to his heading to Pittsburgh to lead the Panthers.
Barnett is an amazing father and husband as well as a football coach and recruiter. His loss would be significant for Michigan State as they head into a 2018 season almost certainly ranked in the top ten with a legitimate shot at another Big Ten title and a run at the College Football Playoff.
For those that are unaware Barnett was taken in the fourth round of the 90 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. He played there three seasons (1990-92). He also spent two additional seasons with the Patriots (1993-94) and two more with the Vikings (1995-96).
The ICONIC Spartan not only earned his bachelor’s degree in communication from Michigan State in 1990, he was also an All American. He has been at Michigan State for all 11 seasons with Mark Dantonio as the head of Spartan Football.
His career prior to coming with Mark Dantonio 11 years ago from Cincinnati is also very impressive. His biography tells an interesting story. “Barnett landed his first collegiate coaching job as a graduate assistant at LSU in 2003 under Nick Saban, where he was a part of the Tigers’ National Championship campaign. He began his coaching career at Princeton High School in Cincinnati, where he spent two seasons as the secondary coach (1998-99) and three years as the defensive coordinator (2000-02). A native of Cincinnati, Barnett was a three-year starter for Coach George Perles at Michigan State. He was a member of the 1987 Big Ten and 1988 Rose Bowl championship team that went 9-2-1 overall and finished eighth in the final polls. Barnett, who also played in the 1989 Gator Bowl and the 1989 Aloha Bowl during his time as a Spartan player, earned first-team All-America recognition by The Sporting News as a senior in 1989. He was a primary reason that the Green and White ranked No. 1 in the Big Ten and No. 11 nationally in both rushing defense (95.4 ypg.) and total defense (280.5 ypg.). He compiled 73 stops, high among Spartan defensive backs, along with three interceptions and three fumble recoveries. He finished his career with 154 tackles, six interceptions and 13 pass break-ups. Barnett spent three seasons as secondary coach on Dantonio’s staff at Cincinnati. In 2006, the Bearcats finished the regular season ranked third in the BIG EAST and No. 23 nationally in pass efficiency defense (109.3 rating).”
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