Air Force vs Michigan State: 5 Spartans who will be X-factors

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Sep 12, 2015; East Lansing, MI, USA; Oregon Ducks running back Royce Freeman (21) gets tackled by Michigan State Spartans cornerback Vayante Copeland (13) during the fourth quarter at Spartan Stadium. The Spartans beat the Ducks 31-28. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

4. Vayante Copland, CB

Not enough positive things can be said for how well Vayante Copeland has played so far this season for the Spartans. After he won the starting job in fall camp, the redshirt freshman cornerback drew comparisons to former Spartan legend Darqueze Dennard.

Must Read: Air Force vs Michigan State: Predicting the final score

While that was all fine and dandy, it would be much nicer to see it in person rather than just hear it as rumors flying around camp. Sure, Copeland was probably playing well against MSU’s unproven receivers and being physical in practice with no referees present, but could he do that in a game against foreign competition.

It turns out that he can, and Michigan State’s receivers aren’t as vulnerable as people had expected them to be.

Copeland is playing great so far this season for MSU in his first year as a starter, recording seven total tackles, a pass deflection and and interception.

The young cornerback is proving to be one of the most reliable defensive backs on the team and he’s been playing with a chip on his shoulder. Many expected Arjen Colquhoun to steal the starting job back from him, or even Darian Hicks, but he’s holding a firm grasp on the position.

Is it crazy to say Copeland will be a big X-factor in this one? Not after watching him play for two weeks.

Next: 3. Josiah Price