Chris Frey should replace Ed Davis for Michigan State


Terrible news came this week to Spartan Nation in the form of fifth-year senior linebacker Ed Davis being lost for the season due to a knee injury. Big things were expected from Ed in his final year at Michigan State from Mark Dantonio and himself.

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Any time a player has a serious injury your heart goes out to them; everyone hopes that Ed can have a speedy recovery and get back to his old disruptive form.

However, this does leave a very large hole to fill in the Spartan defense and the ‘next man up’ mentality will absolutely be tested. There are several candidates who could replace Davis in the “money” linebacker position. After all the practices and scrimmages, Chris Frey will be the one to attempt to fill Ed Davis’ large shoes, in my opinion.

Frey played in all 13 games as a true freshman last year for the Spartans — one of only four true freshman to do so. He was credited with 19 tackles and one fumble recovery on his way to Big Ten All-Freshman team honorable mention. Frey’s main role was on special teams where he always seemed to find the ball and make a play like a heat-seeking missile.

Nov 8, 2014; East Lansing, MI, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback J.T. Barrett (16) runs the ball away from Michigan State Spartans linebacker Ed Davis (43) during the first quarter at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

This talent is huge when it comes to playing outside linebacker, especially in the day of pass happy offenses and in the Spartan system. The outside linebacker, or “money” linebacker as MSU calls it, must have the ability to sniff out the ball and work sideline to sideline.

It is imperative that whoever is in this role can make plays in the backfield in the running game but also get out to the sideline on screens, scrambles and option plays. Frey has the speed and nose for the ball to do this.

Frey has a year under his belt within the system which is also a huge advantage.

Other linebackers fighting for the spot are Drake Martinez, Andrew Dowell and Tyriq Thomas who aww also experiencing their first year with the defensive playbook.

Players always state that once they have the mental aspect down of the plays they are able to go without thinking, they play much more to their ability. Frey knows the playbook and should be able to let himself play with a reckless abandon, another great trait for a linebacker.

Chris Frey’s largest competition will come from Jon Reschke, though.

Related: MSU Football: Dissecting the 2015 depth chart

According to reports by Joe Rexrode, Reschke is getting looks with the first team at the ‘money’ spot. This should not be a surprise because Reschke is a fantastic talent at linebacker that has been held back due to injury. It appears he is fully healthy and coach Dantonio will look to give him a shot as well. He is someone who is also very familiar with the Spartan system.

Frey has played in big games, in a lesser role, and has shown no fear for the moment which you must have as a linebacker.

In the end, though, Frey will win the position over Reschke due to his speed. Reschke is better suited to be in the middle with his size and speed.

I always viewed Frey as the heir apparent to Davis on the outside. I felt this year would be his true understudy year where he could continue to develop and take over the role after Ed’s departure.

Unfortunately, injuries often push players into starting roles before their expected time and it is how they deal with the early arrival that often determines a team’s success; see, 2014 Ohio State.

Frey has played in big games, in a lesser role, and has shown no fear for the moment which you must have as a linebacker. He will continue his progression and step up with Davis mentoring him from the sidelines as the Spartans continue to reach higher.

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