Michigan State Football: 5 players poised for a career year

3 of 6

Oct 25, 2014; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans defensive lineman Lawrence Thomas (8) stands on the field between plays during the 2nd half of a game at Spartan Stadium. MSU won 35-11. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Not many players in the game of college football have a more intimidating presence than senior defensive lineman Lawrence Thomas. The former linebacker turned fullback turned defensive lineman has had an interesting career with the Spartans, but it’s all taking shape for his final season in the Green & White.

Many expected LT to come to Michigan State and dominate as one of the more physical linebackers in his class, but he gained a lot of weight in his first year on campus, leading coaches to believe he would be best suited as a fullback.

However, he showed flashes on the defensive side of the ball and was just too good in his reps on the line that Dantonio couldn’t turn him away from his true calling: defense.

Thomas played most of the 2014 season as a defensive tackle, but the Spartans have penciled him in during spring ball as the starting defensive end, opposite Shilique Calhoun. Thomas’s 6-foot-4, 300-pound frame will be a nightmare for offensive linemen next season as they will have to worry about him and Calhoun on the edge and Malik McDowell up the middle.

LT started all 13 games last year at tackle, recording just 30 tackles, 3.0 sacks and 4.5 tackles for loss, but the 2015 campaign will see a hike in numbers. With the offseason work and mammoth size difficult for offenses to handle, Thomas will have quite the season this year, racking up 47 tackles, 7.5 sacks and 10 tackles for loss.

The NFL Draft will be calling his name in 2016.

Next: 3. Aaron Burbrudge, WR