Michigan State vs Western Michigan: 5 things to watch for

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Sep 20, 2014; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans defensive back Montae Nicholson (9) picks up a loose ball during the second quarter against the Eastern Michigan Eagles at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

2. Emergence of Montae Nicholson

It’s been talked about more often than not. Will Montae Nicholson live up to the hype and continue what he started during his freshman season in 2014? All signs point to yes as coaches and teammates have been raving about the sophomore safety from Pennsylvania, and why not?

Related: Michigan State vs Western Michigan: 5 players to watch for

Watching him out on the field last season was a thing of beauty. Nicholson played in all 13 games as a true freshman and showed the poise and confidence necessary to make it as a starter in this league.

Listening to him talk about the opportunity he has been given was almost as impressive as his on-field performance a season ago. He sounds like a fifth-year senior and you can tell he’s going to be a captain of this team one day. He praised Coach D for giving him a chance and said that he has seen so many people squander their opportunities and he won’t be the next to do so.

Just how good of an athlete is Nicholson? Coaches have wanted him to play both sides of the ball because he might be just as talented as any receiver the Spartans have as well.

Luckily for co-defensive coordinators Mike Tressel and Harlon Barnett, he’s likely going to stick to defense.

Next: 1. Heisman watch