After the majority of the Michigan State football team had retreated to ice baths or the locker rooms following practice Friday, a couple of players remained on the practice field.
"He's a young guy – he's a young guy who definitely has a bright future," Fonoti said. "Being a redshirt freshman and playing left tackle, that's a huge statement that he's going to be a big-time player here. We just want to keep his spirits up. We know how it is. It's definitely overwhelming to be in there at such a big position.
"We just want to let him know for him to believe in himself and we definitely believe in him. … Conversations like that, I just want to let him know that we love him and he's doing a great job and just keep it up."
Head coach Mark Dantonio said Friday that Conklin has a hold on that number one spot at left tackle.
It comes as little surprise to Fonoti that the former walk-on is establishing himself on the offensive line – despite his inexperience.
"It's definitely surprising with the title ‘redshirt freshman,'" Fonoti said. "As with Jack Conklin, I'm not surprised. I remember this guy coming in and older guys saying, ‘This guy is going to do big things.' He's a guy who is always in meetings and asking questions. He's hungry to learn. That's just exciting for us.
"So, as far as him being out there, I'm definitely not surprised. He's a great player and a great person and a great brother for us."
Fonoti also went as far as to say that Conklin could be a major prospect before all is said and done – a far cry from not having any scholarship offers out of high school.
"I have no doubt that in his final years here, he is going to be a huge prospect," Fonoti said. "Just right now, being a young guy, and being at left tackle – the blind side – at this level of college football, and for him to be out there and holding his own. He's going against the best of the best in Shilique (Calhoun), (Marcus) Rush, (Denzel) Drone, Joel Heath and just seeing him going out there.
"He may stumble and stuff, but he continues to learn. You see him in the film room and he is asking questions and he's getting it done the next day.
"Jack Conklin is going to do big things here."