Sam Leavitt Is Leaving Michigan State Because He Hates New Coach Jonathan Smith
Michigan State has lost a number of players to the transfer portal already, mere hours after officially hiring a new head football coach. The two most notable so far are the Spartans' best quarterbacks from 2023.
Katin Houser, the redshirt freshman who started MSU's final seven games, announced his plans to transfer first on Monday. Not long after that came word from Sam Leavitt, the true freshman who played in four games for the Spartans, that he's entering the portal, too.
Both of the signal callers were sought-after four-star recruits who showcased at the prestigious Elite 11 quarterback camp for top high school passers, Houser during the 2022 recruiting class and Leavitt, whom Michigan State eventually flipped from Washington State, the following year.
Houser, a Southern California native, completed 58.6 percent of his passes this past season for 1,132 yards, 6 touchdowns, and 5 interceptions. He added two scores on the ground. Taking far fewer snaps, Leavitt, from Oregon, completed 15 of 23 passes for 138 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. He also ran for 67 yards on 13 carries.
Leavitt showed the kind of the flashes in his limited opportunities that Hauser and unseated starter Noah Kim never did. The true freshman provided an obvious spark each time his number was called, and his ability to make plays with his legs clealry showed that he was Michigan State's most athletic quarterback. That, in tandem with a few impressive throws, made him an early favorite for the Spartans' starting job in 2024 even with a new coaching regime taking over in East Lansing. Plus, Leavitt's father went on the record telling one publication that his son was a virtual lock to return to MSU next season regardless of the new hire.
But all of that changed in a big way and in a hurry.
Leavitt told Spartans Illustrated himself on Monday that he's leaving Michigan State entirely because of the new hire.
"I'm a home town kid and [Jonathan Smith] didn't offer me," Leavitt told Spartans Illustrated. "There are some hard feelings there."
Leavitt did meet with Coach Smith today and brought up what happened in the past.
"I felt slighted by that," said Leavitt. "Why would they like me now when they didn't like me before?"
When asked if there was any chance that he might return to Michigan State, he replied, "Yeah, I'm kinda just done."
That sucks for State. But hey, kudos to Leavitt for having the balls to publicly and shamelessly admit to a petty grudge. Plenty of adults make major decisions based on that exact same kind of pedantry with exactly none of the transparency the not-yet-20-years-old Leavitt offered. But many of those same adults are already hypocritically chastising the teenager for having the nerve to do the same exact thing they do. Gotta love social media!
Smith will still have plenty of options when it comes to his first starting quarterback at Michigan State, chief among those potential candidates being one of his former students. Aidan Chiles, who's in his true freshman season with Oregon State, is a former 4 star dual-threat QB recruit. Smith used him situationally throughout the regular season. In nine games with the Beavers, Chiles completed 24 of 35 passes for 309 yards, 4 touchdowns, and no interceptions. He also ran 17 times for 79 yards, a 4.6 yards per carry average, and 3 touchdowns.
If Chiles enters the portal he'll be one of the hottest commodities this offseason. The kid has freakish athletic ability and would likely ensconce himself as Michigan State's starter his first day on campus. But Chiles made a cryptic social media post in the wake of Smith's departure from Corvallis for East Lansing that may indicate he feels similarly to Leavitt about Smith.
If that really is about Smith it's a shame. He would've looked awfully good in green and white.
Oh well. It's best for State to just move on to the next target. Because there's totally no way MSU could change Chiles' mind with a bag full of NIL money.