Michigan State Football: Top 10 players of the Mark Dantonio era

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Sep 27, 2014; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans cornerback Trae Waynes (15) stands on field between plays during the 1st half of a game at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, another guy who just finished his time with the Spartans in 2014, Trae Waynes became the highest-drafted player to ever play under Dantonio. Prior to Waynes, Dantonio had just one other player drafted in the first round of the NFL’s selection process and that was Darqueze Dennard the year before.

Waynes was known as one of the best lockdown corners in the Big Ten and earned himself a spot in the top-15 picks in the 2015 NFL Draft. Waynes was selected No. 11 overall in the draft by the Minnesota Vikings.

Like most players on this list, Waynes was a lightly-recruited player and ranked as just a two-star cornerback out of Kenosha, Wisc.

Trae appeared primarily on special teams during his redshirt freshman season in 2012 and then showed flashes of greatness at the end of that season, appearing in the Buffalo Wild Wings bowl against TCU at cornerback.

The TCU win really uplifted his career and he never sat on the bench again, playing and starting in every game from 2013-14 and recording 96 tackles, 3,5 tackles for loss, 13 pass breakups and six interceptions. There’s a reason he was chosen as the No. 11 pick in this year’s draft and it’s because of his speed and ability to be physical and dominant against opposing wide receivers.

Waynes will be missed for the coming years after leaving as a junior, but the Spartans are under the ‘next man up’ mentality and it wouldn’t be surprising to see another defensive back drafted in the first round in 2016.

Next: 7. Darqueze Dennard, CB