These five guys may have never started at the collegiate level, but they’re about to become household names in 2016 as far as Michigan State Football goes.
Michigan State Football has had its fair share of stars over the years. Guys like Le’Veon Bell, Kirk Cousins, Darqueze Dennard, Trae Waynes, Shilique Calhoun, Jeremy Langford and Connor Cook. However, no one really saw those guys blossoming into the players they became.
All of the former Spartans named above were lightly-recruited and just not as well-known as five-star recruits out of high school. No one saw them entering the radar and eventually taking over on offense or defense, becoming a household name.
That’s the great thing about college football: stars don’t mean much. Any one player can reach his potential at any given time and go from unknown to nationally-feared by opponents. Michigan State is a program that has created dozens of guys like that under Mark Dantonio’s leadership.
For this list, I tried staying away from freshmen as they might need a year or two before they can truly become a household name. This list is dedicated to guys who have finally worked their way into a prominent role and if fans don’t know much about them yet, they’re about to.
Note: Obvious ones like LJ Scott or anyone that has already made a name for themselves will not be included.
Although he played primarily on special teams a season ago, then-freshman linebacker appeared in all 13 games and even appeared at linebacker more often than he probably had planned to when he committed to Michigan State.
Andrew and his twin brother David Dowell were formerly committed to Kentucky before both switching their pledges to Michigan State, and that may have ultimately been the best decision they could have made. Nothing against the Kentucky program, but playing at Michigan State might just give them the exposure they need to play at the next level.
This spot on the list could have gone to either one of the twins, but since David redshirted during his freshman season and Andrew has already shown he can play with the big boys at the collegiate level in live game situations, he gets the nod.
During his true freshman season in 2015, Andrew finished with 22 total tackles, a tackle for loss and a fumble recovery. He opened on the spring depth chart as the team’s starting Star linebacker, but it’ll be interesting to see if that holds up come fall.
Both twins looked solid during the spring game and David led the winning White squad with six tackles and the game-winning pick. Still, though, watch out for Andrew to potentially start and bring some serious athleticism (former high school running back) to the middle of the defense.