Michigan State vs Western Michigan: 5 players who must step up

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Oct 25, 2014; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans defense enters the field prior to a game at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

5. Lawrence Thomas, DE

Coming into the 2015 season, Lawrence Thomas has some pretty high expectations for himself. The former defensive tackle has moved over to end and is ready to do some serious damage this year.

Related: Michigan State vs Western Michigan: Game preview, prediction

As a highly-touted four-star high school prospect four years ago, many thought Thomas would come to Michigan State and play his natural position of linebacker for the Spartans. He was known for being an enforcer at the high school level, but he found himself fighting for time.

Thomas moved to the offensive side of the ball for a year to just get his talent utilized while he was buried in the defensive depth chart. The next year he switched to defensive tackle because of his sheer size.

Ever since, he has looked the part of an elite defensive lineman and I’d be shocked if he didn’t have a breakout senior season.

If the Spartans want to be able to slow down Franklin’s rushing attack, Thomas, along with Malik McDowell, Joel Heath and Shilique Calhoun, will need to be on his game and live up to the hype.

LT will step up and become the star of the defensive line for this contest because the Broncos were probably too busy game-planning for Calhoun.

Next: 4. Vayante Copeland