Michigan State Football: 5 players poised for a career year

4 of 6

Sep 7, 2013; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans wide receiver Aaron Burbridge (16) runs the ball after the catch against the South Florida Bulls during the first half at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Coming in as one of the most highly-touted receivers in the Mark Dantonio era, Aaron Burbridge had some elevated expectations placed upon him before he even stepped foot onto campus. The 6-foot-1 four-star wide out from Farmington Hills Harrison High School was looked upon to provide an instant impact on the offense, but he has been nothing but average in his first three seasons at MSU.

Burbridge had one season in which he showed true flashes of greatness as a freshman in 2012. He burst onto the scene, catching 29 passes for 364 yards and two scores, the kind of production that is relatively rare for a Mark Dantonio-coached freshman wide out.

The next season was a major disappointment for Burbridge, however, as he recorded just 22 catches for 194 yards and no scores despite playing in three more games and the Spartans winning the Rose Bowl that season.

As a junior, Burbridge took a big step forward, getting back to his old ways, catching 29 passes for 358 yards and a touchdown. It seemed like some offseason work did him well and he showed his burst of speed and solid route-running ability.

For his senior season, it wouldn’t be too surprising to see his numbers really take off. If you remember anything about Tony Lippett — as you should since he just graduated — you  would know that he was a quiet performer in his first two/three years before breaking out as a senior.

Burbridge will do just that, recording a career-high 51 catches for 788 yards and five touchdowns. He will be a fringe-NFL Draft pick as the Spartans inch that much closer to being dubbed ‘Wide Receiver U.’

Next: 2. Larry Scott, RB