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

EAST LANSING, MI - OCTOBER 04: Trae Waynes /
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Keshawn Martin, Michigan State Spartans
INDIANAPOLIS, IN – DECEMBER 03: Keshawn Martin #82 of the Michigan State Spartans runs for yards after the catch against Peniel Jean #21 of the Wisconsin Badgers during the Big 10 Conference Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 3, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
  • Second in MSU history in punt return yards (659)
  • Eighth in MSU history in kick return yards (1,100)
  • 10th in all-purpose yards in MSU history (4,013)

As a high school recruit, Keshawn Martin was one of the top athletes in the state of Michigan, playing quarterback for Westland (Michigan) John Glenn. He was an electric dual-threat who caught the eye of Mark Dantonio in one of his first recruiting classes as head coach.

No one expected him to transition to wide receiver as seamlessly as he did and he was part of the first truly successful class in the Dantonio era.

Martin had a quiet freshman season, accounting for just under 200 total yards and he got to try his hand in the return game. As a sophomore, he broke out for 411 receiving yards and five touchdowns to go along with 219 rushing yards and another score. He proved to be a dynamic threat and set the precedent for all slot receivers at Michigan State.

Though his numbers dipped a bit as a junior, he bounced back in 2011 to have his best season and lead Michigan State to a division title and nearly had a punt return for a touchdown to beat Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship (spoiler: it was called back).

The electrifying receiver finished his career with the eighth-most punt/kick return yards and he finished 10th in school history in all-purpose yards.