Nick Samac's selection in 2024 NFL Draft gives final closure to Mark Dantonio era

It has been many years since Mark Dantonio was the head football coach for Michigan State, but this past weekend's draft saw the final Dantonio recruit selected in the seventh round by the Baltimore Ravens.
Sep 30, 2023; Iowa City, Iowa, USA; Former Michigan State Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio looks on
Sep 30, 2023; Iowa City, Iowa, USA; Former Michigan State Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio looks on / Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

It has been a rough road for Michigan State football these past several years, but after seeing Nick Samac the team's starting center for the last four years hear his name called in the seventh and final round was a welcomed sight.

Though Samac spent most of his four seasons in the green and white playing for Mel Tucker, he was a Mark Dantonio recruit through and through, as he was true freshman that quickly earned playing time in Dantonio's final season in 2019.

The bond between Samac and Dantonio was true even after Dantonio retired suddenly in early 2020. Samac stayed even with the staff changes and COVID-19, he stayed and lived up to the mantra Spartan Dawg.

You can say with certainty that Nick saw the highs and lows. From two wins against rival Michigan to two years of struggles, he was there for it all and his hard work and dedication paid off.

The 2023 season was supposed to be a year of new hope for the Spartans especially Samac as he returned for a fifth season. Things started well for Nick, as he went through the first month of the season not allowing any sacks up the middle.

Things quickly went downhill with Mel Tucker and the roller-coaster ride that 2023 ended up being.

Thankfully Samac had the man who brought him to MSU five years ago right in his corner despite no longer being the head coach. Dantonio and Samac shared a special moment in November when the pair hugged after the Spartans beat Nebraska.

That turned out to be Samac's last highlight of his college career, as he suffered a season-ending injury in the team's fourth and final win of the season against Indiana, which kept him out of the season finale against Penn State in Detroit.

Flash forward to this past weekend, and Samac was able to have a much more memorable moment that invovled the city of Detroit, as the 2024 NFL Draft was held downtown, and he officially heard his name called with the 228th overall pick by the Baltimore Ravens.

Yes, Tucker was the coach these past four years, but Mark Dantonio played a huge role in which ex-Spartans wound up being drafted to the NFL, with only two Tucker-recruited players, which were transfers into the program in Kenneth Walker and Ameer Speed.

And the best thing of it all was Samac hearing his name called because it gives not only Dantonio final closure but us as fans, the closure we have been looking for.

It warms my heart that we can remember the most recent Spartan draftee being a Dantonio player.

Now it's time for Jonathan Smith to get us back to putting players in the draft every year, and I'm confident that can be done after seeing three of his former Oregon State players selected in the draft including a first-round offensive lineman.

That sounds bright for our lineman in the future.