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

EAST LANSING, MI - OCTOBER 04: Trae Waynes /
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Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State Spartans
EAST LANSING, MI – NOVEMBER 02: Darqueze Dennard #31 of the Michigan State Spartans celebrates his fourth-quarter interception against the Michigan Wolverines at Spartan Stadium on November 2, 2013 in East Lansing, Michigan. Michigan State won the game 29-6. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
  • Jim Thorpe Award winner (2013)
  • First-Team All-American (2013)
  • Two-time First-Team All-Big Ten (2012-13)
  • Big Ten Defensive MVP (2013)
  • 11th in MSU history in interceptions (10)
  • First Spartan to get drafted in first round in Dantonio era (24th overall in 2014)

Here we are at the best defensive back in the Mark Dantonio era. Darqueze Dennard undoubtedly set the standard for all Michigan state quarterbacks. Each cornerback at Michigan State after the 2013 season has been measured against Dennard and that’s a tough standard to live up to.

Dennard set the bar extremely high for all cornerbacks and he did so after beginning his career as an underrated two-star recruit from Georgia, who was accidentally stumbled upon by the staff. He was the opponent of Michigan State football recruit Keith Mumphery and he stood out in the matchup between the two teams, earning an offer shortly after.

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The gritty corner played an aggressive style which wasn’t exactly enjoyed by opposing receivers and he was a nightmare for quarterbacks, too.

Starting three years for the Spartans, Dennard was a two-time First-Team All-Big Ten selection, First-Team All-American and Jim Thorpe Award winner. He did it all in a Spartan uniform, earning the No. 24 overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft.

You can’t talk about the ‘No Fly Zone’ without mentioning its leader: Dennard.