Another excellent and experienced defensive mind is joining Mel Tucker’s staff in East Lansing.

Thursday afternoon, Michigan State announced that Harlon Barnett will be returning to the Spartans’ staff for the 2020 season. Barnett will be assisting on the defensive side of the football, though his role was not announced at the time.

“I’ve known Harlon Barnett for more than 20 years,” Tucker said in a statement. “He’s a fantastic coach and recruiter, and really connects with his players. He’s a man of character and family is very important to him. He’s a true Spartan and we’re happy to have him back here in East Lansing.”

Rumors first started circulating the Barnett could be making a return to East Lansing over the weekend, when he was spotted at the Michigan State basketball game seated between defensive line coach Ron Turner and defensive assistant coach Mike Tressel.

Now, it’s official.

Barnett played at Michigan State from 1986-89 and was an assistant coach on Mark Dantonio’s staff for a decade. From 2007-14, he served as the defensive backs coach. In 2015, Barnett was named assistant head coach, co-defensive coordinator, along with being the defensive backs coach. He held those three titles through the 2017 season.

In 2018, Barnett left East Lansing to join Willie Taggart at Florida State. In Tallahassee, Barnett was the defensive backs coach and the defensive coordinator.