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Mel Tucker reverses course, will reportedly leave Colorado for Michigan State job

At the expense of a Pac-12 school, Michigan State football has found Mark Dantonio‘s replacement. Reportedly.

In a statement released Feb. 8, Colorado head coach Mel Tucker removed himself from consideration for the same job at Michigan State football.

“While I am flattered to be considered for the head coaching job at Michigan State, I am committed to CU Buffs Football for the build of our program, its great athletes, coaches and supporters,” the statement read. Four days later, however, Tucker has apparently changed his tune as Bruce Feldman of The Athletic was the first to report that the Cleveland, Ohio, native will become the next head coach of Michigan State football.

Multiple media outlets have since confirmed Feldman’s initial report.

An official announcement from Michigan State is expected at some point Wednesday.

The 48-year-old Tucker just completed his first season at Colorado. The 5-7 record posted by Tucker was the third-straight season the Buffaloes have posted that same record since going 10-4 in 2016.

Tucker has extensive ties to the Midwest generally and the Big Ten specifically, at least early on. After playing his college football at Wisconsin, Tucker began his collegiate coaching career as a graduate assistant with the Michigan State football team in 1997 and 1998. From 2001-04, Tucker was an assistant at Ohio State. He was the defensive backs coach the first three seasons before being promoted to co-defensive coordinator his final year in Columbus.

The next decade of Tucker’s career came in the NFL, including four years (2005-08) with the Cleveland Browns. In 2015, Tucker returned to the college game as defensive backs coach at Alabama. He was the defensive coordinator at Georgia for three seasons (2016-18) before taking over at Colorado.

Tucker’s hiring would come exactly eight games after Dantonio abruptly stepped down after 13 seasons in East Lansing.

Michigan State had previously been rebuffed by Iowa State’s Matt Campbell (HERE) and Cincinnati’s Luke Fickell (HERE). In the past couple of days, former Wisconsin and Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema‘s name had surfaced as a possibility as well.

As for Tucker’s replacement at Colorado? Former CU running back and current Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy is the odds-on favorite.