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

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Sep 7, 2013; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans linebacker Max Bullough (40) prepares for the snap of the ball during the 2nd half of a game between the Michigan State Spartans and the South Florida Bulls at Spartan Stadium. MSU won 21-6. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

There might not be a better linebacking leader in Michigan State’s football history than Max Bullough. Although that may seem like a stretch, Bullough was looked up to by teammates and his every move seemed to have an impact on the group as a whole. That’s exactly why he’s so high on this list despite never playing in the Rose Bowl as a Spartan.

Yes, Max was on the 2013 team that went to the Rose Bowl, but was suspended from the team shortly after the Big Ten title game win over Ohio State, earning himself a spot on the couch while his teammates played in the biggest game of their lives.

It may seem harsh to keep Bullough from playing in the Rose Bowl that he so desperately desired, but Dantonio had his reasons and no one ever questioned it.

With that being said, Bullough was a once-in-a-lifetime type of player for Coach D and he was literally the quarterback for the Spartan defense that was so vaunted. Max earned first-team All-Big Ten honors on the field and academically in 2013 while also being named a third-team All-American by some publications.

Bullough finished his career with 40 starts in 53 appearances, racking up 299 total tackles and 30.5 tackles for loss, eight sacks, three interceptions, eight pass breakups and four forced fumbles. That’s an absolutely loaded stat line for one of the best linebackers Dantonio has ever had.

It was hard to see Max’s career end the way it did, but don’t think you’ve heard the last of him on a football field.

Next: 4. Greg Jones, LB