Michigan State Football: 5 players who will be major surprises in 2015

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Nov 29, 2014; University Park, PA, USA; Michigan State Spartans cornerback Trae Waynes (15) is congratulated by linebacker Darien Harris (45) after making an interception in the second quarter against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Redshirt freshman cornerback Vayante Copeland hasn’t necessarily been a prominent name in the race for starter, but he’s definitely one who should be watched closely.

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Mark Dantonio has praised Copeland tremendously, claiming that he reminds the staff a little of Darqueze Dennard, according to Joe Rexrode of the Detroit Free Press.

"“Vayante is very balanced, he is a very good tackler, he’s got great ball skills — he reminds you a little bit of Darqueze Dennard in terms of how he carries himself and his competitive nature,” Dantonio said. “He is pushing to be a No. 1. I really feel like he is in the mix.”"

You can’t be upset with that comparison, especially since Dennard was one of the best defensive backs to ever come through Michigan State, despite being rated a two-star recruit out of high school.

Copeland will have to compete with last year’s majority starter Darian Hicks, Jermaine Edmondson and Arjen Colquhoun. He may be the least experienced of all, but he clearly has enough talent to have Dantonio say “he is in the mix” for No. 1.

Seeing Copeland take the job, or at least split time, at corner wouldn’t be shocking, but I think he will play well enough this season to surprise people who haven’t hear much about him.

Next: 4. Jon Reschke