Constant amid change: Mainstay Tre Mosley set to anchor MSU's new-look receiver group

To say things have been transformed in the wide receiver room for Michigan State's Tre Mosley over the past couple of years would be an understatement.
“The dynamic of the room has changed a little bit,” Mosley admitted, “from the guys that have come in and guys that have left.”
That pretty well sums up life as a Spartans wide receiver in the time Mosley has been wearing the green and white. The former West Bloomfield standout was part of Mark Dantonio’s final Michigan State team in 2019, finding a niche late in the season and joining a rotation that included Cody White and Darrell Stewart.
By the COVID-shortened season of 2020, Mosley had established himself as a solid slot receiver, the third receiver in a group that included Jayden Reed and Jalen Nailor. The trio was at its best in 2021 when the Spartans won 11 games. Then last season, Reed and Mosley were joined by another emerging star, Keon Coleman, after Nailor was selected by the Vikings in the NFL Draft.
Now, as the Spartans assemble for Thursday’s first practice of the 2023 season, Mosley remains the constant, a fifth-year senior in a room of receivers trying to be the next standout. Reed is with the Green Bay Packers and Coleman transferred to Florida State.
It’s created some uncertainty, to be sure, but not when it comes to Mosley.
“You look at Tre Mosley, he is a veteran guy that sometimes people overlook,” coach Mel Tucker said last week at Big Ten media days. “If you look back to the games, every time you throw it his way, he catches it. And he’s a little bit faster than what people think.”
Overlooked, perhaps, but as Tucker pointed out, Mosley has been as consistent as any player on the roster. He has 98 receptions for 1,176 yards and eight touchdowns in 36 career games, catching 35 passes in each of the past two seasons. Most of that was done with players like Reed and Coleman getting most of the targets while running back Kenneth Walker III was the focal point of the offense in 2021.
It seems like the perfect time for Mosley to emerge as the go-to guy, though he’s more focused on the wide receivers room as a whole.
“Whenever you lose good players it’s hard, but that’s when you have the next guy,” Mosley said. “We have other guys that are capable that have been waiting patiently for the opportunity. It’s not always one guy that fills the shoes of someone that departs. If everyone elevates their game, we will be fine. I am very confident that the team is going to step up and we are going to elevate.”
While Mosley will play a big part in the offense elevating his game, he will need some help. There is plenty of talent in the room, including second-year players Tyrell Henry, Antonio Gates Jr. and Jaron Glover. But there's a group of players that have been around a minute that are just as intriguing.
Senior Montorie Foster Jr. has been in the program the longest but has been hampered by injuries while junior Christian Fitzpatrick played well in the spring and Nebraska transfer Alante Brown could be a difference-maker.
“You can tend to forget about Montorie Foster,” Tucker said. “He has been banged up, especially last year. But when he went into games he was productive and can make plays. He looked good this spring, the best that he has looked since I’ve been here.”
And Brown, a one-time Michigan State commit who played in 30 games for the Cornhuskers, can be a weapon on special teams, as well.
“He is explosive, and he’s quick,” Mosley said of Brown. “He’s a baller, a veteran guy that has some experience and knows how the game is. He is a great veteran asset to have in the room.”
Along with incoming freshmen Jaelen Smith and Aziah Johnson, it has created a wide receiver group Mosley believes will excel.
“I can definitely see it in the room,” Mosley said. “Guys are competing their tails off every day because they see the opportunity that is ahead of them with the guys departing. J-Reed and Keon had the majority of our catches last year. Coach (Courtney) Hawkins always says, ‘Those balls have got to go somewhere, who wants them?’ That’s a great challenge to us. There are a lot of guys that can make plays. I am looking forward to see who steps up.”
Whoever steps up and joins Mosley will be doing so in an offense that is seeing its share of changes. Quarterback Payton Thorne transferred following spring practice and the Spartans will have an inexperienced signal-caller — likely junior Noah Kim — at the helm.
But Mosley believes, regardless of who starts at quarterback, the Spartans have the right mindset as they attempt to prove last season’s 5-7 mark was the outlier and not a sign of things heading in the wrong direction. It’s a feeling Mosley said existed two years ago.
“Coming into (2021), we were coming from the COVID season where we were 2-5,” Mosley said. “Anytime you come off a losing season, that level of hunger is amped up because you don't want to go through that again, especially when you know you have the guys who are capable of getting the job done.
“Like Coach Tucker mentioned, we're deep, we've got guys in every position competing their butts off to get on the field. And I think that's good because when guys know that they have their spots solidified, that complacency can happen. But when guys are fighting, they give it their all every day.”

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