Michigan State Football: 25 best players of the Mark Dantonio era

EAST LANSING, MI - OCTOBER 04: Trae Waynes /
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Mark Dantonio is entering his 11th season as head coach of Michigan State football and he’s had plenty of talent over the years. Who stands out as the 25 best?

The Mark Dantonio era has been good to Michigan State football. The program has gone from Big Ten laughing-stock to conference powerhouse and College Football Playoff contender.

Throughout the years, the head coach has landed some impressive recruits, but it’s usually the two and three-star guys who become the biggest fan favorites and who rise the all-time leaderboards.

Dantonio has thrived with average recruiting classes, developing players at an extremely effective rate. Not many coaches in the nation have the ability to turn overlooked recruits into All-Americans, but Dantonio is built different.

It’s hard to narrow down the best players to don the green and white since Dantonio took over in 2007, but we did our best to narrow it down to 25. Heck, the head coach didn’t win 100 games in 11 years all by himself — he’s had plenty of talent surrounding him.

Take a look at the 25 best players in the Dantonio era.

Just missed the cut: Joel Foreman, Devin Thomas, Brian Hoyer, Felton Davis III, Johnny Adams, Isaiah Lewis, Riley Bullough, LJ Scott, Lawrence Thomas

  • Four-time Academic All-American
  • Ranked second in MSU history in punts (268)
  • ESPN First-Team All-American (2013)
  • Ray Guy Award semifinalist (2013)

The late, great Mike Sadler was everyone’s best friend. Not only was he one of the best punters in the country, but he was a role model off the field.

Sadler, a four-time Academic All-American, was a fake punt specialist and a true athlete in every sense of the word. He’s second in Michigan State history in total punts, a Ray Guy Award semifinalist and First-Team All-American, according to ESPN, back in 2013.

Unfortunately, his life was cut short after a tragic car accident back in the summer of 2016 as he and Nebraska punter Sam Foltz were driving a car that veered off a slippery road after mentoring at a punting camp in Wisconsin.

Not often do you see punters mentioned with the ‘best players’ in a coach’s tenure, but Sadler was just that special.