Defensive MVP: DT Simeon Barrow Jr.
It would be easy to go with a linebacker here, but there’s so many good athletes that I couldn’t pick just one. So, if the linebackers all split their vote, then it’s defensive tackle Simeon Barrow Jr.
Barrow will look to anchor a defensive line that gave up over 2,000 yards rushing last season, good for 12th in the Big Ten. While the incoming freshmen and new transfers will help improve the defense, it’s the returning junior that will be the leader, whether vocally or by example, that determines the success of the Spartans.
As a sophomore, he had four sacks from the defensive tackle position, which is rare as most sacks from the defensive end or linebacker position.
With another offseason to get stronger (winner of Michigan State strength and conditioning Spartan Strength Award in Week 2 of offseason workouts) and already getting preseason watchlist looks, Barrow will look to continue his dominance as an interior pass rusher.
Dark horse candidate: DE Zion Young — Young is a name that’s being thrown around as an unknown player now but could be a house-hold name (according to Twitter which is right 100 percent of the time) and apparently he’s the dude in practice.