By Grace Amberg, MSU Athletic Communications Intern
Unlike most of his teammates, senior kicker Brett Scanlon hasn’t always worn Green and White during his college football career. In fact, the senior kicker is pretty familiar with Western Michigan’s brown and gold. Scanlon transferred to Michigan State after his sophomore season as a Bronco. Undoubtedly, emotions run high for him as he faces his former team, but Scanlon immediately felt at home in East Lansing.
“It was pretty easy coming here,” Scanlon said. “I tell people this all the time, the guys took me in like I had been there since day one - like I came in with them their freshman year. It wasn’t hard at all. I pretty much clicked with everybody. All the coaches took me in. It was an easy transition.”
Transferring to Michigan State meant learning what it means to be a Spartan, something that Scanlon clung to right away. The kicker embraced what is affectionately known as the Spartan family.
“It’s a chance to play at one of the top institutions in the nation,” Scanlon said. “It’s an opportunity for me to grow into a leader, grow into a man and to be the best version of me that I can be. Being around my teammates all day, grinding all summer with them and all year and finally being able to put all our hard work together right now is going to pay off. I can’t wait to get out with those guys and show what we’ve been working on.”
Scanlon began his final season with the Spartans on a high note, earning a starting position as a kickoff specialist. The chance to start is something that the Dowagiac, Michigan, native has been working toward his entire career. “I’m really thankful, and definitely excited,” Scanlon said. “I’m ready to get out there and play and help the team get back to a championship. I just want to do my part.”
Earning the starting position is a product of the hard work both on and off the field that Scanlon put in once he donned the Green and White. As a transfer, the kicker had to take some time away from football as a part of the NCAA process.
“I was away from football for about a half a year,” Scanlon said. “It was different for me because I hadn’t done that in 10 years. Being away from an actual team for a little bit, it was definitely different. I think that pushed me to work harder. It pushed me to not give up and persevere through tough times, and I think it paid off.”
It hasn’t always been all football all the time for Scanlon. The kicker also played baseball, influenced by his father who played college ball at conference foe Indiana. Though he has a love and appreciation for the sport, Scanlon cited the pace and intensity of football as the driving factors for his commitment to the sport.
“[My father] pushed me to do what I love the most, and that was kicking,” Scanlon said. “I felt like the best chance that I had to get to the next level was through kicking, so that’s another reason I chose football.”
When reflecting upon his time at Michigan State, Scanlon emphasized the importance of being a leader to his team. As a Spartan senior, he knows that the young team is looking to the veteran players for guidance and support.
“I want to leave the jersey in a good place,” Scanlon said. “I want to set a good example, especially for the younger guys. I want to be someone they can look up to - somebody who did the right things on the field and off the field, somebody who was a good guy in the classroom, who got his work done. I want to be remembered as someone who worked hard and grinded, and someone who earned the jersey.”
Scanlon still has all season to do just that.