What you need to know ... The
offense wasn't always consistent after hitting the wall at some
strange times, but it should be among the most explosive in the
nation after finishing fifth in total yards and 18th in scoring.
Quarterback Drew Stanton leads the tremendous array of skill
players with outstanding veteran receivers to work with to go
along with a group of running backs that bring a nice
combination of lightning speed and good power. The line isn't
anything special, but it just has to be merely decent for all the
stars to shine.
Passing: Drew Stanton
236-354, 3,077 yds, 22 TD, 12 INT
Rushing: Javon Ringer
122 carries, 817 yds, 5 TD
49 catches, 722 yds, 4 TD
Star of the offense: Senior QB Drew Stanton
Player that has to step up and become a star: Sophomore
OT James Miller
Unsung star on the rise: Redshirt freshman RB A.J.
Best pro prospect: Stanton
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Stanton, 2) RB Javon
Ringer, 3) WR Matt Trannon
Strength of the offense: Skill players, wide receiver
Weakness of the offense:
Offensive line depth, proven overall consistency
The emergence of Brian Hoyer this spring as a bona fide
star of the future makes a good situation fantastic. Drew
Stanton is one of the nation's most talented all-around
quarterbacks with the potential to blossom into one of the top
high-rising prospects for the 2007 NFL draft. He has to cut down
on his interceptions and must prove that last year wasn't a
fluke when he was able to stay healthy for the first time in his
The key to the unit: Keep Stanton healthy. He's not
afraid to take some big shots when running the ball, but he
needs to use his experience and savvy to stay on the field.
Hoyer can certainly run the show, but Michigan State needs
No. 5 if it's going to be in the hunt for a bowl.
Quarterback Rating: 9
- Drew Stanton, Sr. - 236-354, 3,077 yds, 67%, 22 TD, 12
INT, 121 carries, 338 yds, 2.8 ypc 4 TD
The only possible knock is that he tries too hard. Other than
that, he should grow into a big-time pro prospect if he has a
huge senior season. Arguably the best quarterback in college
football over the first four games of last year after starting out
throwing 13 touchdown passes, he cooled off big time having
problems with interceptions when he tried to carry the
inconsistent offense. When he's on, there are few better and
with his combination of 6-3, 230-pound size, accuracy, running
skills, and experience, he's the total package. If he can stay healthy, this should be
the year he puts it all together and becomes an All-American.
- Brian Hoyer, Soph. - 15-23, 167 yds, 65%, 2 TD, 2 carries, 1
Considering Drew Stanton's past history of getting banged up,
Hoyer had better be ready to roll at a moment's notice. He saw
mop up duty against Illinois completing six of eight passes for
70 yards and two touchdowns, and he appeared strong enough this
spring to be ready to keep the attack running if needed without
missing a beat. Despite getting everything but the kitchen sink
thrown at him from the defense in scrimmages, he handled it all
in stride with an excellent command of the offense.
There's a nice mix here to get
excited about with the speed of Javon Ringer and A.J. Jimmerson
combining with the power of Jehuu Caulcrick. Jimmerson was the
talk of spring ball showing off the speed, hands, and moves that
should eventually make him a star, but this is Ringer's season;
he's on the verge of All-Big Ten honors.
The key to the unit: Produce against the big boys.
The trio of great backs will light up the mediocre defenses like
a Christmas tree, but they have to prove they can carry the
offense in the bigger games.
Running Back Rating: 7.5
- Javon Ringer, Soph.- 12 carries, 817 yds, 6.7 ypc, 5
TD, 19 catches, 138 yds, 7.3 ypc
With 4.4.speed and a little bit of power, Ringer can strike from
anywhere on the field and also be effective at time between the
tackles. While he cranked out three 100-yard games, they were
against Illinois, Indiana and Northwestern and hasn't been used
as a workhorse. He still has to prove he can produce against a
top-flight run defense.
- Jehuu Caulcrick, Jr. - 89 carries, 478 yds, 5.4 ypc,
7 TD, 5 catches, 53 yds, 10.6 ypc
The 245-pound former linebacker turned into a strong runner last
season finishing second on the team in rushing. Most of his
production came in a 140-yard, three touchdown performance in
the opener against Kent State, but he proved he could be a tough
goal line back and also showed off a little bit of speed. He's a
great change-up next to the speedy other backs.
- A.J. Jimmerson, RFr.
A top scout teamer last year, the lightning fast Jimmerson
provides some serious pop as the team's number three back. He
has sub-4.4 speed and moves that should make him a dangerous
receiver and third down back, but he's not much of a blocker
This could turn into the Big Ten's best receiving corps if
everyone plays up to their talent level. Four of the top five
receivers return led by Jerramy Scott and Matt Trannon, who'll
each see time in an NFL camp next year. Terry Love is a
lightning quick third option. Backups Kerry Reed and Ryan
Allison would start for several other Big Ten teams. Tight end
Kellen Davis will be used more as a receiver.
The key to the unit: Get even more big play
production. There's too much talent and too much experience not
to grow into an unstoppable corps.
Receiver Rating: 8
- Jerramy Scott, Sr. - 49 carries, 722 yds, 14.7 ypc, 4 TD
Scott grew into more of a playmaker last season after being used
mostly as a possession receiver early in his career. He's a
small, quick receiver can be used as a runner as well as a deep
threat. He led the team in receiving playing his biggest games
against Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State. He can also be used
as a kickoff returner.
- Matt Trannon, Sr. - 40 catches, 573 yds, 14.3 ypc, 4 TD
The 6-6, 227-pound senior has been a part of the Spartan
basketball team and now will concentrate solely on becoming an
NFL caliber receiver. He has the size, the athleticism, and the
speed to blossom into a star, but he has to be more consistent.
He tore up Notre Dame for 136 yards and two touchdowns and
caught five passes for 75 yards and a score the following week
against Illinois, but then struggled to make deep plays the rest
of the way.
- Terry Love, Jr. - 28 catches, 430 yds, 15.4 ypc, 3 TD
Love doesn't get the publicity of the other Spartan receivers,
but he can be just as dangerous. He's one of the team's faster
players and proved to be a steady playmaker all season long.
With his quickness, he'll be used again as a runner as well as a
punt returner to get him the ball in space.
- Tight end
Kellen Davis, Jr. - 15 catches, 122 yds, 8.1 ypc,
The 6-6, 247-pound junior isn't going to blow anyone off the
ball, but he's a good receiver who became a steady target in his
role as a spot starter last season. He has the speed and the
hands to be more of a big play threat.
- Kerry Reed, Sr. - 31 catches, 438 yds, 14.1 ypc, 5
The superstar JUCO transfer stepped in right away and was a key
reserve before getting three starts late in the year. The 6-2,
198-pound senior is a big target who provides more size than
Terry Love at an inside spot.
- Ryan Allison, Soph. - 4 catches, 43 yds, 10.8 ypc
Allison saw time in nine games as a true freshman getting the
most work against Northwestern catching three passes for 34
yards. The 6-3, 215-pound sophomore with 4.4 speed and NFL
athleticism will be in the hunt to be the team's number one
receiver next year, but this season he'll play behind Matt
Trannon and push for time in three and four wide sets.
- Tight end Dwayne Holmes, Soph. - 3 catches, 25 yds, 7.3
The former defensive player is a far better fit for the
offensive side. While he'll get a few catches, the 6-0,
275-pound sophomore will mostly be used as a crushing blocker.
He could play fullback if needed.
Only two starters return, but there are some great prospects
ready to shine in prime time. The left side will be a rock with Mike Gyetvai moving over from left tackle, and guard Kyle Cook on the verge
of all-star recognition. John Masters served as the understudy behind
Chris Morris at center for the last few years and is more than ready to
handle the work. Huge sophomores Roland Martin and Jesse Miller have to
live up to their potential on the right side. Depth will be an issue
The key to the unit: Use all the beef to be nasty
against the run. With the projected starting five averaging more than
300 pounds, this should be a physical group that controls games once it
figures out how to play together.
Offensive Line Rating: 7
- OT Mike Gyetvai, Jr.
A talented regular to the line, Gyetvai will move from right to left
tackle to make room for Jesse Miller on the other side. He's the line's
best pass protector looking like an All-Big Ten caliber performer this
spring and should be in for a big year. At 6-7 and 304 pounds, he can be
an imposing force on either side.
- OG Kyle Cook, Sr.
Able to play center or guard, the 6-3, 295-pound senior is one of the
line's more versatile blockers. As one of only two returning starters up
front, he's going to have to be more of a leader and needs to be the
main man the running attack works behind.
- C John Masters, Jr.
It'll be up to Masters to take over for long-time starter Chris Morris
in the middle. The 6-4, 299-pound junior saw a little bit of backup work
and should be ready to handle the work after bulking up over the last
- OG Roland Martin, Soph.
It's time for Martin to live up to his talent. A star prospect coming
out of high school, he wasn't able to make too much noise last season
playing as a backup in seven games. He's 6-5, 324 pounds and has the
ability to become a dominant force in time.
- OT Jesse Miller, Soph.
An up-and-coming factor on the right side, he'll have to shine right
away to allow Mike Gyetvai to stay at left tackle. He's an athletic 6-6
and 306 pounds with next-level upside if he's able to progress over the
next few years.
- OG Pete Clifford, Jr.
Clifford didn't start to live up to his potential last year only seeing
time in four games as a reserve guard. At 6-7 and 320 pounds, he's a
tackle-sized guard who has the upside to push for a starting job. At the
very least, he'll be a factor in the rotation on the left side behind
- OG Daniel Zynn, Sr.
The former Boise State Bronco saw a little bit of time last year, mostly
early on, and now he'll need to play more of a role in the rotation on
the right side behind Roland Martin. He's a physical 6-2 and 330 pounds
with good run blocking skills.