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

EAST LANSING, MI - OCTOBER 04: Trae Waynes /
15 of 25
Trae Waynes, Michigan State Spartans
PASADENA, CA – JANUARY 01: Cornerback Trae Waynes #15 of the Michigan State Spartans celebrates an interception against the Stanford Cardinal in the third quarter of the 100th Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio at the Rose Bowl on January 1, 2014 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images) /
  • Second-Team All-American (2014)
  • First-Team All-Big Ten (2014)
  • Thorpe Award semifinalist (2014)
  • Honorable mention All-Big Ten (2013)
  • First-round pick (No. 11 overall) in 2015 NFL Draft

How is a first-round pick and, at that time, Mark Dantonio’s highest-drafted player ranked outside the top-10 on the ‘best players’ list? Because that’s just how successful of a tenure the head coach has had in East Lansing.

Trae Waynes was arguably the most talented cornerback of the past decade and one of the most naturally gifted players in school history with extreme potential, but he only scratched the surface during his time at Michigan State.

No, that’s not a knock on Waynes, by any means. However, he truly only had two full years as a starter for the Spartans and Michigan State only got a preview of what he could offer. He finished his career with 101 career tackles, 13 pass deflections and six interceptions, earning first-team All-Big Ten honors as a junior before departing early for the NFL Draft.

Waynes was selected No. 11 overall in the 2015 NFL Draft and has been earning starting snaps with the Minnesota Vikings ever since.