Michigan State Football: 5 most irreplaceable players in 2015

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Oct 4, 2014; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans defensive end Shilique Calhoun (89) looks over the Nebraska Cornhuskers offense during the 1st half of a game at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Leave it to the top senior on the defense and, along with Bullough, the quarterback of this side of the ball. Calhoun burst onto the scene two years ago when MSU couldn’t score a touchdown to begin the season, racking up a couple of his own, and hasn’t looked back since.

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Coming out of high school as a standout tight end and defensive end, he knew the Spartans were recruiting him for the latter, and they made the correct choice.

Jan 1, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Michigan State Spartans defensive end Shilique Calhoun (89) during the game against the Baylor Bears in the 2015 Cotton Bowl Classic at AT&T Stadium. The Spartans defeated the Bears 42-41. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

During his breakout season in 2013, Calhoun finished with 37 total tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and an interception returned for a score. That really put the big defensive end on the map.

The next season, Shilique plateaued a bit, despite scout’s hope that he would emerge even more, and finished with 39 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, 8.0 sacks, a forced fumble and fumble recovery.

However, many believe he is one of the top-two defensive linemen in the Big Ten and his senior season is the one he needs in order to prove he’s worthy of a first-round draft pick.

Not many players in the country cause as much havoc and draw as many double-teams on defense as Calhoun does, but that’s the kind of presence he has when he’s in the game. Take him out of the lineup, and you don’t have the same type of destructive front-seven.

That makes him the second-most irreplaceable Spartan for the upcoming season.

Next: 1. Connor Cook