Pro day reminds of change in MSU football

The culture of winning is present in East Lansing, but Mark Dantonio says it's more than just the wins and losses that have made Michigan State successful -- and a destination for NFL scouts.

With 15 seniors from the winningest class in Michigan State football history working out, including projected first-round pick Darqueze Dennard, NFL scouts flocked to East Lansing on Tuesday.

The spotlight was on Michigan State football with 31 scouts in attendance for pro day– a spotlight that hasn't always been there.

"When you win, good things happen to you," coach Mark Dantonio said.

The Spartans have done plenty of winning lately, with three 11-win seasons in the past four, spearheaded by the graduating seniors hoping to play at the next level.

"They helped change the culture," Dantonio said. "I think the culture was evolving and changing from the 2007 class on. I think they continued to set the bar higher, whether it was 2010 when they were freshman or 2011 when they were sophomores.

"A step back in 12, but reestablished themselves in 13, so when you look at that, they've set the bar."

But it is about more than the 42 wins in four seasons, Dantonio said. It comes back to players who believe in themselves and feed off each other, he said.

"We've got good people here that are striving to be the best," Dantonio said. "There's a culture of confidence here, not just a culture of winning but a culture of confidence."

The culture also has proven to bring chemistry, a chemistry that scouts and coaches were praising Dantonio for having.

"It's rewarding because the greatest things that you hear is we've got good people, got great chemistry," he said. "We have won here, we've got good players and we've got great coaches, but we've won here and we've won big here because of chemistry and that truly exists here."

The chemistry was visible Tuesday as former Spartans Jerel Worthy, Edwin Baker and Greg Jones were on the sidelines just to take in the next wave of Michigan State players hoping to get their chance to play professional football.

The chance has continued to grow since Dantonio arrived in 2007, as he has seen a player drafted in each draft since then.

And with three or more players likely to hear their names called in April's NFL Draft, the opportunity continues to grow in East Lansing.

"If you're being successful, then other things are going to follow you," Dantonio said. "This is a springboard to that. It's an opportunity for our guys to have a look at the next step.

"You win and you show yourself as a 13-1 team and you go to the Rose Bowl and you are a Big Ten champion, you do that with players and I think there's an interest from the people at the next level. If you were doing a great job in the school of business here, then you are going to have opportunities outside. That's the same thing here."

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