Michigan State Football: Top 3 Heisman candidates for 2015

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Jan 1, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Michigan State Spartans quarterback Connor Cook (18) celebrates a touchdown during the game against the Baylor Bears in the 2015 Cotton Bowl Classic at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Connor Cook might be Michigan State’s most legitimate Heisman contender in Mark Dantonio’s tenure in East Lansing, and it’s no surprise given his talent level and production from the past two seasons.

Much like Calhoun, Cook was lightly recruited and not very highly sought-after by many top Division I colleges. The Stow, Ohio, native was a low-rated three-star recruit by most recruiting services’ standards and he was more of an after-thought recruit after he chose Michigan State.

Obviously, Mark Dantonio knew what he was doing when he brought Cook aboard, however, as the 6-foot-4, 215-pound QB has worked on every aspect of his game for the past three years and has become one of the nation’s top gunslingers.

Nov 8, 2014; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans quarterback Connor Cook (18) against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

At the start of the 2012 season, then-redshirt freshman Connor Cook took the field as the team’s second-string quarterback who was sitting behind highly-touted starter Andrew Maxwell on the depth chart.

However, Maxwell failed to open eyes all season long with a lethargic offense and Cook was given the reigns of the team in the second half of the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. The redshirt freshman won the game for MSU and went into his sophomore season with a lot to prove.

Cook eventually won the starting job during his sophomore season about three games in and never looked back. He went on to pass for over 2,700 yards and 22 touchdowns with six picks that year, following it up with an even better junior season, recording 3,214 yards and 24 touchdowns — the only reason he didn’t have more yards and TDs was because he was taken out of games at halftime in early-season blowouts.

Now it’s his time to shine as Michigan State is looking to win its first national title since the 1960s and celebrate its first-ever Heisman Trophy winner.

Cook has the most legitimate shot on the team to win the award and maybe even the best chance of anyone in the Big Ten.

Next: Top 10 players of the Mark Dantonio era