East Lansing, MI

Earlier this morning Michigan State Co-Defensive coordinator Harlon Barnett made the decision to leave his alma mater to head to Tallahassee, Florida to become the new defensive coordinator for Willie Taggart and the Seminoles.

It was a difficult decision for the ICONIC former Spartan All-American and Co-defensive coordinator of the #16 team in the nation. Spartan Nation had previously reported two days ago from a source VERY CLOSE to Barnett that it would be very difficult for him to leave. In that same report a senior Michigan State official also told us, ” He is aware that we are prepared and willing to financially reward his hard work should he stay.” And they also said, “I feel good about us keeping him,” WHile some has suggested I was let down by those sources I totally disagree. Neither said he wasn’t going. Here are two of the big reasons why he left.

Barnett was paid this season $452,570 by Michigan State. He is going to get paid nearly $1 million dollars a year per a source close to Barnett.

While Michigan State (as Spartan Nation previously broke the news) had made it clear that they were going to give him a raise (along with all the entire staff) but the opportunity to more than doubling his salary was a big deal. It was NOT the only reason.

Barnett’s goal is to be a head coach. Sharing the “CO” title with Mike Tressel, some felt close to him, was hurting his chances of advancing. He had been previously named the Associate Head Coach, but prior to this season, OL Coach Mark Staten had been given the title of Assistant Head Coach. Again as with the CO-DC title, it had caused some outside of MSU to question Barnett’s role and responsibility and thus hurting him getting a head coaching opportunity.

Going to Florida State with the tile and responsibilities of being the sole coordinator is a step up not only in pay (More than double) but position. If Barnett’s defenses succeed, it will skyrocket his opportunity to a head coaching seat.

Barnett is not only a great Spartan but a tremendous father and husband. A true man of faith and integrity. This is a big loss from a coaching standpoint and recruiting. On a personal note, he is also a super friend and person and while I hate to see him go, I wish him and his amazing wife Tammy along with Todd and Tori nothing but the best.  To make this clear he does not leave with animosity, anger or angst towards anyone, this was simply a better opportunity for him and his family.

In moments Spartan Nation will be publishing our early hot list of candidates to replace Barnett on the staff. Stay tuned.

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