Jon Reschke knows there were expectations on him when he arrived in East Lansing.
The highly touted linebacker out of Birmingham (Mich.) Brother Rice had similar expectations of himself as a freshman. He wanted to make a splash and play early in his career at Michigan State.
"That did add to the pressure and that was hard," he said. "It was my plan, too. It was my plan to play last year on special teams and maybe come in for Max when he needed a break."
"I'm gonna have to bounce back and do it this year."
Reschke's plans were derailed early last fall when he suffered a high ankle sprain. It came after the Spartans' win against Western Michigan and potentially cost Reschke the chance to get on the field. Instead, once he was healthy, he spent the season on the scout team.
"It was hard to face adversity like that," he said. "It's 100 percent now and I rehabilitated it and I'm ready to go this season and this spring."
With a fall, winter and part of a spring under his belt, Reschke said he has a better grasp on Pat Narduzzi's defense. From time in the weight room to time in the film room, he feels good about the offseason he had.
"I've learned the whole defense, almost 100 percent," he said. "I'm really comfortable with it and with all the signals and what guys are supposed to be doing on certain plays. I'm comfortable with that and I think that was the biggest thing I've done with the offseason."
That work had Spartans coach Mark Dantonio praising the redshirt freshman for his work thus far in the spring. With No. 1 on the depth chart Taiwan Jones limited with an injury, Reschke has jumped to the top spot on the depth chart after his showing in Friday's spring scrimmage.
"Reschke is the guy that stepped in there for him in the scrimmage, so that was a positive," Dantonio said. "I thought he played fast, he played with a lot of energy and it was good to see."
Now, with more time under his belt and a chance to learn from Bullough, he knows what he wants to do when his time comes.
"The biggest thing I learned was his leadership skills," he said. "He was an incredible leader. He ran the defense. Everyone looked up to him and he just did things right.
"That's what I wanna do. I wanna be just like that."
A year later than anticipated, he will have the chance to start doing that.