Michigan State Football: Who will replace Jeremy Langford?


We took a look at who would replace the production of Tony Lippett for Michigan State football this upcoming season and we will now move to another offensive player who was a stalwart for the past two seasons: Jeremy Langford.

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Despite not receiving all of the post season awards due to stiff competition in conference, there was no more consistent producer for the Michigan State football team last year than Langford.

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The former running back broke out in the 2013 season, ending the campaign with 1,422 yards and 19 total touchdowns. He followed up that performance in his final season in a Spartan uniform with 1,522 yards and 22 total touchdowns in 2014.

Langford was the epitome of consistency, rushing for more than 100 yards in eight consecutive games as a junior and topping that feat his senior year with 10 straight games of more than 100 yards. Like Le’Veon Bell, Edwin Baker and Javon Ringer before him, Langford has moved on to the NFL and MSU will look to find its next great back.

Michigan State has a wealth of depth as it looks to replace Langford’s production, which will go quite nicely behind the best offensive line of the Mark Dantonio era.

Vying to replace the vacated carries, yards and touchdowns are junior Delton Williams, redshirt sophomore Gerald Holmes, redshirt freshman Madre London and true freshman L.J. Scott.

Oct 26, 2013; Champaign, IL, USA; Michigan State Spartans running back Delton Williams (22) runs the ball during the second half against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Memorial Stadium. Michigan State won 42-3. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Williams has the most experience of these backs, having rushed for 316 yards last year on 54 attempts, and would have been my clubhouse leader coming into the season had it not been for an off the field road rage incident.

Now, Williams is coming off a five-month layoff, playing without scholarship and will have to work himself back into football shape, as well as good graces with the team. At this point, I put him in last place most likely not seeing any meaningful carries until possibly the end of the season.

From here, it is a three-man race between Holmes, London, and Scott.

At this point in time, the race is as close as ever, each back attempting to separate themselves over the next few weeks in camp.

Replacing Langford this season will be done in two phases, in my opinion. Coming out of camp, there will be little separation and it will be running back by committee. Whoever has the hot hand in that game will continue to run the ball the most with the other two providing rest as needed during the game.

This committee will produce over 100 yards a game and have no problems establishing a solid running attack. However, once Big Ten play rolls around the group will have widdled itself down to one main runner with a second back coming in to provide rest and a change of pace throughout the game — a la the Nick Hill role.

In a mild upset Gerald Holmes will take over the main role in replacing Langford, with L.J. Scott providing the change of pace. Most of Spartan Nation, and I’m still not 100 percent convinced it won’t happen myself, think that Scott is going to come in and be the starter year one.

Sep 20, 2014; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans running back Gerald Holmes (24) runs down the field during the fourth quarter against the Eastern Michigan Eagles at Spartan Stadium. Spartans beat the Eagles 73-14. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

By all accounts coming from Spartan camp, he is very impressive and in the Le’Veon Bell mold. I expect huge things from Scott in the future, but this year will be his opening act, with him playing the supporting actor role due to him still learning pass protection which is very important in keeping Connor Cook upright and healthy.

With Scott providing the support, Holmes will step into the main spotlight. Holmes is a big back that delivers punishment when hitting the hole. He has been in the system longer than Scott and London so there should be no worries with pass protection.

I expect Holmes to separate himself during actual game time by hitting hole quickly, no happy feet, and getting the desired yards to keep the chains moving and the defense honest.

Michigan State should have no worries in finding a replacement for Langford. With a fantastic offensive line and four more-than-qualified candidates, the competition will be who can take advantage of the opportunities they have.

This prediction is the most apt to be wrong, not because of the unknown, but because of the spoils of talent. It could be any combination of the four or any one single back that really shines. However it plays out MSU will be in good hands with the winner or winners.

Next: 5 reasons Connor Cook will win the Heisman Trophy