Michigan State Football: Elijah Collins will spark much-needed RB resurgence

Elijah Collins, Michigan State football (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Elijah Collins, Michigan State football (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Elijah Collins got off to a good start in 2019, posting just shy of 1,000 yards. He’s going to spark a running back resurgence for Michigan State football.

For years, Michigan State had been known as a running back breeding ground. The program produced some absolute gems since 2000 and obvious before that, but it was a position that was never in doubt, especially under Mark Dantonio.

When Dantonio took over in 2007, he had Heisman contender Javon Ringer to work with and then that turned into Edwin Baker, Larry Caper and Le’Veon Bell. That three-headed monster then turned into Jeremy Langford and then shortly after, it was another three-headed attack in LJ Scott, Madre London and Gerald Holmes.

Lately, though, the running back position has fallen on some hard times. Michigan State hasn’t had a 1,000-yard rusher since 2014 when Langford just finished his second straight season of said yardage.

Scott came close in 2016 and 2017, but there was no lead workhorse guy for the Spartans to rely on and just hand the ball to and expect to get 5-6 yards each time.

That changed in 2019 with the emergence of Elijah Collins and he’s going to spark the resurgence at Michigan State as it heads into a new era.

Elijah Collins, the next Michigan State football star

If you watched Michigan State in 2019, it was clear that the offense improved from 2018, but was still a relatively monumental disaster. Consistency was lacking and a lot of that had to do with a lackluster offensive line.

With Chris Kapilovic in charge of the line for 2020, there’s no doubt that it’ll be one of the most improved position groups on the team and that, in turn, will aid the run game — and aerial attack, for that matter.

Collins is back for his second year as the starting running back and he’ll have some key players behind him such as Anthony Williams Jr. and Connor Heyward, but he’ll be the workhorse.

After rushing for 988 yards as a redshirt freshman, it’s clear that he’s sparking the resurgence of Michigan State’s running back position and the program is always at its best when it gets all-conference play out of its rushers. That will continue in 2020 when Collins hits 1,000 yards and breaks that five-year drought. He’ll be that next star in the backfield.

Fortunately, there’s a good chance he comes back for another season and continues the upward trend before giving the keys to a guy like Williams Jr. in 2022 along with Jordon Simmons, Davion Primm and whichever other back the Spartans land in the 2021 class (there are some elite names left on the board).

When we look back five years from now, we can pinpoint Collins’ emergence as the much-needed spark for the Spartans’ running back resurgence.

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