Early Look Depth Chart: Offensive Line

Michigan State released their preseason depth chart on Thursday and we continue looking at each position and possible battles headed into the 2012 season. Our next look is across the offensive line.

Last year's biggest question is this year's greatest strength as Michigan State welcomes back seven offensive linemen with starting experience. However, how much does the preseason depth chart really tell us about how some expect this group to look when Boise State comes to Spartan Stadium is still a question.

LEFT TACKLE Dan France - Skyler Burkland - Michael Dennis

France will get the early nod on the early chart, however, almost everyone expects Burkland to be the starter when the season opens as he continues to come back from the season-ending injury suffered against Notre Dame last season.

Burkland has always been projected on the left side but was moved to the right last season with the questions on depth. However, the emergence of Fou Fonoti proved the Spartans have a capable tackle on the right side and unless Fonoti goes down, no one will unseat him.

While France has proven he's got the abilities to play the tackle spot, some feel a move inside next to Burkland could give the Spartans one of the strongest left sides in the Big Ten.

Dennis continues his development but will find it hard to push by either France or Burkland for a starting role.

Don't be surprised if the Spartans use a jumbo package that has both France and Burkland on the same side along with a guard.

LEFT GUARD Blake Treadwell - Jack Allen - Donavon Clark

What you see is not what many expect when the season opens at the end of August. Treadwell has been serviceable at center, guard and even on defense. However, if Burkland is back to 100% and pushes France out of the left tackle spot, it would not surprise anyone if he's moved over to guard.

Jack Allen had one of the more impressive freshman years but the staff was able to hold on to another year and that will pay dividends down the road. Allen has a bright future as the staff is extremely high on his overall potential.

Clark is still a work in progress and shows the depth the Spartans have built along the offensive line as many felt he could push for early playing time.

CENTER Travis Jackson - Ethan Ruhland - Kyle Lints

How good can Jackson be? NFL good many are saying after a first year that earned him Freshman All-American honors. Unless Jackson is hurt, don't look for anyone to push him to the side. He's got a chance to earn many post season honors during the rest of his Spartans career.

Ruhland and Treadwell are solid depth incase Jackson would go down but all signs point to the Ohio native taking his game up another notch this fall.

RIGHT GUARD Chris McDonald - Nate Klatt - Connor Kruse

The Spartans leadership along the line comes from McDonald who enters his final year having started 26 games (17 consecutive). With this experience, McDonald made the preseason watch list for the Outland Trophy and for good reason.

Klatt has fought injury since his arrival on campus and should provide a solid back up. If not, look for some moves across the line to fill in for McDonald if he were to go down.

RIGHT TACKLE Fou Fonoti - Henry Conway - Shawn Kamm

Fonoti proved again the power of the Spartans coaching staff of finding talent as he came in from junior college and stepped right in starting the final 11 games after Burkland went down. With great athletic ability, Fonoti may not be a tackle at the next level, but he'll have a chance to be a solid interior pro.

Conway has fought back injuries from the start and looked in the spring to put it all behind him. Early reps will be important in the development of Conway because of the amount of time he missed during his career.

INCOMING FRESHMEN Zach HigginsBenny McGowanKodi KielerJack Conklin

This is where the Spartans depth starts to show as all four freshmen should be able to redshirt during the 2012 season. Higgins will still be recovering from an injury he suffered in his final high school game while McGowan, Kieler and Conklin should be able to get reps on the scout team.

OTHERS - Adam BrownArthur Ray Jr.


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