Here we continue our 2012 position previews. I aim to be occasionally right, barring that I’ll shoot for humor. For your enjoyment, I present the Quarterbacks, Running Backs, Fullbacks, Wide Receivers, Tight Ends, Offensive Line, Linebackers and Secondary.
Projected Starters: William Gholston(DE), Marcus Rush(DE), Anthony Rashad White(NT), Micajah Reynolds(DT)
Key Departures: Jerel Worthy, Kevin Pickelman
I saved the best for last. The dessert of the 2012 position previews comes now. The MSU defensive line is the heart and soul of the Michigan State football team for both 2011 and 2012. In 2011, this unit was the lynchpin of a defense that dominated the Big Ten and 2012 will be no different. MSU returns 3 of 4 starters losing only Jerel Worthy to the NFL. Much speculation has been made in the off-season as to whether or not someone will replace Worthy’s devastation on the interior DL. The answer is yes. And No. White showed out big time in the Outback Bowl with an explosive performance that culminated in a field goal block to win the game.
To fill the actual place of Jerel Worthy the spot has been bouncing back and forth between Micajah Reynolds(who has been MSU’s Mr. Fix-It for a year or two now) and Tyler Hoover( who has struggled with injuries on and off throughout his career). Reynolds goes 6’5 and Hoover goes 6’7”. This has lead to a bit of internet chatter that Mr. Hoover might be too tall to play the 3 technique. But Tyler Hoover would tackle the damn Sears Tower if you let him.
With the amazing work Heck did on the Double A-Gap Blitz a couple weeks ago it should be noted finding someone to blow up the interior line on heavy LB blitzes isn’t the key thing. The place Worthy will really be missed is in generating pressure in just a down four formation. Still, the other three starters should be plenty strong enough to cover if this position struggles to get out of the gates against Boise State.
The Other Guys(It’s Late and I want to start writing about Boise State tomorrow instead of finishing this).
Watch out for Joel Heath and Shilique Calhoun, both are younger versions of Gholston and Rush respectively. Lawrence Thomas is going to eat someone’s face on the Defensive Line whether it’s at DE or DT. Brandon Clemons was highly rated coming out of high school and James Kittredge turned some heads since transferring from Vandy Since it’s not uncommon for MSU to rotate 8-11 guys in at DL throughout a game any or all of these guys could play as early as the Boise State game.
The Defensive Line is stacked. Like our Linebackers our second string would start for half the Big Ten. Expect them to continue leading the defense to lots of turnovers and sacks all season long.