5 to Watch: Spartans Offense

SpartanDigest.com reporter Mike Wilson offers five offensive players for Irish fans to monitor Saturday afternoon when the Spartans hit South Bend.

#3 Sophomore WR MacGarrett Kings Jr.: The speedy sophomore from Florida broke into the starting lineup against South Florida and has led the team in every receiving category since then with seven catches for 85 yards and a touchdown. He is probably the shiftiest player on the team and has worked hard on his routes in the offseason to be more than a bubble screen threat.

#33 Junior RB Jeremy Langford: The Spartans have a group of co-starters at running back with Langford, Riley Bullough and Nick Hill, but Langford has been the main guy thus far. He has 200 yards on 44 carries and four touchdowns and has shown a refreshed mindset to stop looking for the home run play and take the little gains. He has been efficient and has the best burst of any of the backs MSU brings to the table.

#18 Sophomore QB Connor Cook: Cook has started back-to-back games for the Spartans but last weekend against Youngstown State was the first time he was truly being given the ball without someone else ready to get first-half reps. He took advantage of went 15 of 22 for 202 yards and four touchdowns in the first half and one second-half series.

Cook has struggled throughout his young career to be consistent and will miss some open receivers badly at times, but he brings mobility that the MSU coaches value highly. Creating with your feet is the name of the game for MSU QBs and Cook can do just that for MSU.

#76 Sophomore LT Donavon Clark: Clark is the starting left tackle for Michigan State, in part due to an injury of right tackle Fou Fonoti which caused some restructuring. (Fonoti has played in both games at right tackle, but hasn't started yet as he works back.) Clark is a run block specialist, who has worked hard on his pass blocking skills to mixed results early this season. He has been badly beaten at times, but has shown improvement of late. How well he can block in the passing game will be crucial for MSU to try and move the ball effectively. Starting right tackle Jack Conklin (who also plays left tackle with Fonoti in at RT) will be one to watch, too. Both players are young and have a steep learning curve.

#16 Sophomore wide receiver Aaron Burbridge: Burbridge is arguably the most pure wide receiver the Spartans have on their roster. He has the right size and skill set, but still is putting it all together in his second season. He is a good complement to Kings, but has to bring more consistency to be a bigger threat as he had had a couple bad drops in the first three games. MSU also has used him on a double-reverse so far and he brings that to the game, as well.


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