Michigan State Football: Dissecting the 2015 depth chart

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Jan 1, 2014; Pasadena, CA, USA; Michigan State Spartans linebacker Ed Davis (43) and linebacker Darien Harris (45) tackle Stanford Cardinal running back Barry Sanders (26) during the second half at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports


Plenty of great linebackers have come through this program over the years such as, more recently, Greg Jones, Max Bullough, Chris Norman, Denicos Allen, Taiwan Jones and Rose Bowl hero Kyler Elsworth.

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There are some up-and-coming stars in the linebacking corps this season as well when you look at the returning talent of Darien Harris and Ed Davis, both senior starters, as well as junior linebacker Riley Bullough who is trying to carry on the legacy of his brother, Max.

Jan 1, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Michigan State Spartans linebacker Riley Bullough (30) reacts during the game against the Baylor Bears in the 2015 Cotton Bowl Classic at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

At the “Star” linebacker position, Harris returns as the top dog while redshirt freshman T.J. Harrell sits behind him. It’s exciting to see the young talent emerge and make moves on the depth chart such as Harrell and he will be poised to win the job next year. Harris should be solid this year and has been named to linebacker award watch lists.

Ed Davis is the No. 1 “Sam” linebacker and he will be a guy to really keep an eye on. If there’s one player on the defensive side of the ball who doesn’t get enough credit, it’s him. He will be back to blitzing relentlessly this season and young special teams star Chris Frey will be backing him up.

Behind Frey is sophomore Sean Harrington, followed by the only true freshman on the depth chart, early-enrolee, Tyriq Thompson.

As for the middle or “Mike” linebacker, Riley Bullough will be the starter and sophomore Shane Jones will follow him. It’s kind of surprising to see Jones as the backup since Jon Reschke, now fourth-string, was in that position to start spring ball. Ahead of Reschke is Byron Bullough who some consider quite possibly the most athletic of the Bullough brothers.

This group, outside of the starters, is young and hungry.

Next: Secondary