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

EAST LANSING, MI - OCTOBER 04: Trae Waynes /
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Connor Cook, Michigan State Spartans
EAST LANSING, MI – NOVEMBER 28: Connor Cook #18 of the Michigan State Spartans celebrates after throwing for a 29-yard touchdown against the Penn State Nittany Lions in the first quarter of the game at Spartan Stadium on November 28, 2015 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
  • Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award winner (2015)
  • Big Ten Quarterback of the Year (2015)
  • First-Team All-Big Ten (2015)
  • Two-time Second-Team All-Big Ten (2013-14)
  • MSU’s all-time winningest quarterback (34-5)
  • MSU’s all-time leader in touchdown passes (71), passing yards (9,194), total offense (9,403)
  • Manning Award finalist (2015)

Look above to see the lengthy list of awards and accomplishments of the all-time passing leader for Michigan State football. Those accomplishments alone are enough to make him the top player in the Mark Dantonio era and despite his rumored lack of leadership, he was a once-in-a-decade type of quarterback talent.

Cook seemed to make all the tough throws and though he did force quite a bit, he did finish as the all-time passing leader with 9,194 yards and 71 touchdowns. He is also the winningest quarterback in school history, a sometimes useless stat, with a 34-5 record, but he had a winning mentality.

The 2015 Big Ten Championship MVP led the Spartans to the College Football Playoff after earning All-Big Ten First-Team honors and was named the conference’s quarterback of the year as well.

Cook was a 300-yard game waiting to happen and seemed to be able to rise to the occasion in the biggest games. He was rarely rattled, but unfortunately his career ended with a 38-0 shutout against Alabama for a chance to play for the national title.

Next. MSU football: Top 50 players in program history. dark

Could we soon see a new No. 1 all-time Dantonio era player?