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

EAST LANSING, MI - OCTOBER 04: Trae Waynes /
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Javon Ringer, Michigan State Spartans
Michigan State freshman running back Javon Ringer (39) runs for a touchdown while getting help from teammate Terry Love (18) with a block. Michigan State quarterback Drew Stanton completed 21 of 26 passes for 301 yards and three touchdowns. The Michigan State Spartans beat Hawaii 42-14 in East Lansing Michigan on Saturday, September 10, 2005. (Photo by Domenic Centofanti/Getty Images) /
  • First-Team All-Big Ten (2008)
  • First-Team All-American (2008)
  • Semifinalist for Maxwell Award and Walter Camp Award (2008)
  • Second-Team All-Big Ten (2007)
  • Second in MSU history and 10th in Big Ten history in career rushing yards (4,398)
  • Most all-purpose yards in MSU history (5,426)

I say he only played from 2007-08, instead of his four years at Michigan State, because this is all about the Mark Dantonio era. Sure, Javon Ringer was recruited by John L. Smith and played a couple of seasons under the former head coach, but he was a true star for Dantonio in 2007-08 as a serious Heisman Trophy candidate.

Though he was a John L. recruit, Ringer didn’t truly break out until Dantonio got to town.

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In fact, he had 1,314 yards and six touchdowns in the two years before Dantonio and in the head coach’s first season (2007), Ringer finished with 1,447 yards and six touchdowns on 5.9 yards per touch. He also caught 35 passes for 295 yards — more than he had in the previous two years combined.

As a senior in 2008, he was named a First-Team All-American and finished with 1,637 yards and 22 touchdowns. His yards per carry took a big hit, but he was a workhorse for the Spartans.

Ringer finished his career second in school history with 4,398 yards which is also good for 10th in Big Ten history. Moreover, he’s No. 1 in Michigan State history in all-purpose yards.