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Michigan State redshirt senior QB Tyler O'Connor exited the spring with a big lead on Damion Terry for the starting job.

This competition hasn't been shut down yet, but O'Connor will begin with a sizeable head start this summer. Whoever Connor Cook's heir apparent turns out to be, he'll have a strong supporting cast around him. RB L.J. Scott has been called Sparty's new-age Le'Veon Bell and the receiving group, headlined by R.J. Shelton, Donnie Corley and Cam Chambers and filled out by high-profile recruits, is deep.
May 20 - 9:11 PM

Michigan State graduate DT Kevin Williams said that "their defense fits me well."

The oft-injured Williams transferred from Nebraska after the close of the 2015 season, but kept his business in the Big Ten by joining Michigan State. The 6-foot-2, 280-pounder said, "They like my quickness, the way I use my hands. They’re a team that likes to get vertical, so my quickness off the ball and lateral quickness really fits their scheme. They like to get after it really aggressively and attack." Serious knee injuries knocked him out of commission in 2011 and 2013 (he was also waylaid by a groin woe in 2015), but he indicated that he is "all healed up from that stuff."
May 17 - 11:45 PM

Michigan State senior TE Jamal Lyles caught three passes for 56 yards during the team's spring game.

Lyles' 56 yards receiving led the team. After the spring fling, HC Mark Dantonio shined a spotlight on the 6-foot-3, 265-pounder while speaking with the media. "I thought Jamal Lyles played well today. I thought he made a move, had a big defensive tackle for a loss. I think he's had a good spring," Dantonio said. As for that "big defensive tackles for loss," Lyles (a tight end by trade) also lined up at defensive end during the game, recording a sack and two tackles for loss in the process. Sports Illustrated's Zac Ellis noted that he "has the size to evolve into a pass-rusher if necessary, which could be a nice option as the Spartans look to replace three starters on the defensive line."
May 17 - 2:13 PM

ESPN's Mel Kiper ranks Michigan State junior DT Malik McDowell No. 6 on his Big Board.

"A versatile, highly athletic interior defender who can be moved anywhere along the line, McDowell has length and strength," he wrote. "Sparty lost a lot of talent on the defensive line to the 2016 draft, so McDowell faces a lot of pressure." The 6-foot-6, 285-pounder had 13 TFL as a true sophomore and even returned an interception for a touchdown against Penn State.
Source: ESPN.com
May 16 - 12:41 PM

Per 247Sports' Mike Wilson, Nebraska graduate DT Kevin Williams will transfer to Michigan State.

Chalk this one up as a win for Sparty. It becomes even more of a win given that, on Friday, it was revealed that DT Damon Knox would leave the program to pursue a career in law enforcement. Williams was lost to knee injuries in both 2011 and 2013. The 6-foot-2, 280-pounder started two games and appeared in eight during the 2015 campaign. He should provide crucial depth along a line that needs it in 2016.
May 15 - 7:37 PM

Michigan State redshirt senior DT Damon Knox has left the football program to pursue a career in law enforcement.

Mark Dantonio fought the law and the law won? Well, the law won out for Knox's heart, anyway. The 6-foot-5, 280-pounder had one year of eligibility remaining, but did not even waste his sweet time on the required waiver paperwork. This is a tough one for Michigan State, as Knox (who did participate in spring practice) came out of April as a probable starter along a thin defensive line. Malik McDowell is the lone DL starter from 2015 to return for the 2016 campaign. In a statement, Dantonio said, "Damon has been a major contributor to our success the past five years. We appreciate his time and commitment to the Michigan State football program and wish him the best in his future endeavors."
May 14 - 8:08 PM

Michigan State junior RB Delton Williams took reps as a fullback this spring.

ESPN's Dan Murphy has tagged Williams as Sparty's most versatile player, writing, "The move from tailback to fullback isn't far, but having the body and knowledge to jump between the two spots at a moment's notice is difficult." HC Mark Dantonio was the one who suggested the 6-foot-1, 228-pounder take a shot at the new position. Williams also kicked around the idea of trying his hand at either linebacker or safety. He was suspended from the team for brandishing a firearm in public last spring, but Dantonio brought him back into the fold in August.
Source: ESPN.com
May 14 - 4:42 PM

ESPN's Travis Haney expects Michigan State sophomore RB L.J. Scott to break out in a big way this fall.

The 6-foot, 233-pounder is often compared to former Spartan RB Le'Veon Bell. Scott rushed for 699 yards and 11 touchdowns as a true freshman and will see a greatly increased workload this fall. While Scott won't match Bell's 382 carries in 2012, the coaching staff wants him in the upper-200s.
Source: ESPN.com
May 12 - 11:00 PM

Michigan State HC Mark Dantonio has been named the winner of the 2016 Gene Stallings Award.

The Gene Stallings Award has raised $1.1 million for children with disabilities and is awarded to coaches who, according to the award description, "are also humanitarians and strive to promote healthy, vibrant communities through charitable and community service efforts." Dantonio is the fifth winner of the honor.
Source: mlive.com
May 10 - 10:13 PM

Yahoo's Eric Edholm believes Michigan State QB Connor Cook's father may have contributed to his son's Draft Day slide.

Chris Cook, the father of Connor, was reportedly upset that the Raiders ended his son's slide, as opposed to the Cowboys. Chris is a colorful -- we're being nice -- presence on social media. His tweets are protected, but Deadspin (which published several) called them "homophobic" and "xenophobic." Chris once tweeted at a player who hit Connor late, threatening retaliation. He's a public supporter of Curt Schilling and Donald Trump. Edholm suggests that Chris' influence may inform the character questions that have dogged Connor. "Can a father have an effect on his son's draft stock? We believe it can," he wrote. "Whether that's fair or not, it's how NFL teams appear to do business."
May 6 - 10:10 PM

Rotoworld's Evan Silva gave the Titans' draft haul a respectable B- grade.

Incoming GM Jon Robinson put his stamp on the team through this process, leaving it with 10 drafted prospects, RB DeMarco Murray and the Rams' first- and third-round picks in 2017. "My favorite Titans picks were [Rd. 2 Alabama RB Derrick] Henry -- who I fully expect to outplay Murray in 2016 -- and ball-hawking [Middle Tennessee S Kevin] Byard, who might have been viewed as a first-round pick had he attended a bigger school," he wrote. On the nitpicky side of things, Silva wasn't in love with trading the equivalent of two Day 2 picks to move up for T Jack Conklin ("Hindsight is 20/20, of course, but Robinson could have sat tight and taken Ohio State's Taylor Decker at 15," he wrote), and he's curious how Clemson DE/OLB Kevin Dodd, not an elite athlete, will transition to 3-4 OLB. Outside of that, the analyst very much liked what Tennessee did.
Source: Rotoworld
May 6 - 9:47 PM

Jets signed Michigan State DE Lawrence Thomas.

Thomas (6'4/286) made 30 starts for the Spartans -- 14 at defensive tackle, 13 at defensive end, and three at fullback. He recorded 9.5 career tackles for loss, six sacks, and seven pass breakups. A former linebacker and running back, Thomas showed his athleticism in Indy with a 4.98 forty and 35-inch vertical. Thomas' weak college productivity is a concern, but he is a high-energy, versatile defensive lineman in a league seeking those players out. He has a shot to work his way into a rotation.
May 6 - 5:43 PM

In ranking the drafts of all 32 NFL teams, NFL Media's Lance Zierlein views the Titans' haul as the best overall.

"The Titans did a very good job of moving down to add picks and then moving back up to land their tackle in [Michigan State's] Jack Conklin," Zierlein wrote, adding that the team "drafted according to both talent and need, and found a combination of likely future starters and quality depth in this draft." Tennessee ultimately ended up drafting 10 players in Chicago. They focused largely on defense, but also scooped up Alabama RB Derrick Henry (second round) and UMass WR Tajae Sharpe (fifth round) to give Marcus Mariota a bit more firepower as the team looks to build an actual NFL outfit.
Source: NFL.com
May 5 - 9:36 PM

Bengals signed Michigan State LB Darien Harris.

Harris (5'11/224) spent his first two college seasons covering kicks on special teams before taking over as the Spartans' starting weak-side linebacker for his junior and senior years. He tallied 13 career tackles for loss with two forced fumbles. Harris is too small to play linebacker in the NFL and not athletic enough for safety, managing a 4.79 forty with sluggish agility scores at Michigan State's Pro Day. Harris' NFL ticket will be back on 'teams.'
May 3 - 3:47 PM

Texans signed Michigan State DE Joel Heath.

Heath (6'5/293) made 24 starts on the Spartans' defensive line, logging 10.5 career tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. He added 30 pounds in his college career and converted from defensive end to tackle. An average athlete, Heath was a good college player due to his motor and strength. He was by no means dominant in the Big Ten and lacks natural pass-rush skills. Heath's path to an NFL roster spot will be as a five-technique run stopper in the Kendall Langford mold.
May 2 - 4:42 PM


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