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

EAST LANSING, MI - OCTOBER 04: Trae Waynes /
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Jack Conklin, Michigan State Spartans
ARLINGTON, TX – DECEMBER 31: Offensive tackle Jack Conklin #74 of the Michigan State Spartans looks on before taking on the Alabama Crimson Tide during the Goodyear Cotton Bowl at AT&T Stadium on December 31, 2015 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images) /
  • First-Team All-American (2015)
  • First-Team All-Big Ten (2015)
  • Mark Dantonio’s highest-draft pick ever (No. 8 overall in 2016)
  • Second-Team All-American (2014)

Surprised to see a lineman ranked inside the top-10? You shouldn’t be. Jack Conklin was one of the biggest success stories in Michigan State history and a topic of conversation around college football for the better part of three seasons.

Why was Conklin so talked about? Well, he was a former walk-on who was overlooked by just every major program. He even resorted to sending his tape to coaches left and right, hoping for any sort of response. Mark Dantonio gave him a shot, responding and bringing him in as a preferred walk-on. Conklin didn’t disappoint.

He went from little-known walk-on to All-American in just a couple of years and he also became the highest-drafted player in the Dantonio era, selected No. 8 overall by the Tennessee Titans back in 2016.

We may never see another dominant left tackle in the Dantonio era like Conklin. It’s truly still remarkable that he was a walk-on. Michigan State got itself a big-time steal.