Michigan State has developed a reputation of outstanding defensive back play in the past few years under Mark Dantonio, but one stood a little bit above the rest.
Darqueze Dennard, the 2013 Jim Thorpe Award winner as the nation's top defensive back, leaves arguably the biggest shoes to fill for the Spartans moving into 2014.
As important as the ability of cornerbacks to play one-on-one in press coverage, it will be key for the Spartans to find the right player to lineup opposite returning starter Trae Waynes.
It appears sophomore Darian Hicks holds the early lead. Hicks came in and played right away last season, jumping a group of talented players in front of him on the depth chart.
Hicks toped the depth chart heading into the spring, but the players he jumped last season will be right on his heels trying to get the spot.
Sophomores Jermaine Edmondson and Ezra Robinson – both redshirt sophomores – have impressed in their time in East Lansing and Robinson was particularly strong last spring and made a lot of plays in the spring game.
It would be a bit surprising, but incoming freshman Vayante Copeland from Dayton Marshall could factor in. He is a player that has the skills to make an immediate impact, but could he jump three players in front of him during fall camp? That would be a tall order.
It looks like it is Hicks' job to lose for now – but the competition should be an exciting one.