SpartanDigest Mailbag: August 22

Answering your questions about Michigan State football, basketball and recruiting!

Do you think MacGarrett Kings will be in the coaches’ good graces for the opener?

Despite the report this week of why Kings was suspended for spring football, I see no reason for his status to be any different with the coaches. Nothing has been said to indicate otherwise with his status. He served his punishment this spring, missing all activities and not being able to take part in spring ball – a relatively big deal. He should be in the wide receiver mix for sure and, most likely, the starting punt returner as well.

Is Mike Sadler the funniest guy you've ever met? And is the Sadler/Travis Jackson show going to be revived?

He certainly ranks up there. I’ve met some pretty funny folks in my day – Allen Trieu ranks up there, as well. Sadler brings a lot of humor to the world, though, and he is a funny one to be around. When I wrote the story on his Heisman “snub” last year, I laughed almost the entire time both interviewing him and writing the story. (I promise, I am professional). As for the Jackson/Sadler show, I have heard it will not be back.

What is the projected starting lineup for the basketball team with Kenny Kaminski’s exit and waiver clearance for Bryn Forbes?

I think you can lock up four of the five as Travis Trice, Denzel Valentine, Branden Dawson and Matt Costello. The fifth, to me, is either Forbes or Ellis. Ellis gives you a little bit more length, defense and athleticism, while Forbes brings the shooting this team will need.

Are the 22 starting spots pretty much established? If not, where is there still legitimate competition for a starting role?

The question going in to Thursday was had Taiwan Jones set himself as the starting MIKE and had Darian Hicks firmed up the cornerback spot. Both will start the season opener. That said, the nice thing for Michigan State is some competition figures to continue – not to start, but to play – at wide receiver and tight end. That competition is good because of depth, not bad because of a need.

Any new thoughts about the true freshmen who might not redshirt? I was surprised to hear that Chris Frey might play, even though I realize he was here for the spring.

I think Malik McDowell has been an almost lock to play since Day 1. I think Craig Evans is in that mix, too. Montae Nicholson seemed to be right there, but based on coaches’ comments, that has cooled in the past week or so. Brian Allen is probably the second most likely to play and he might be the No. 6 offensive lineman as of now. I’m somewhat with you on Chris Frey. There is not a big need at linebacker because you have Taiwan Jones, Jon Reschke, Darien Harris, Riley Bullough, Ed Davis and Mylan Hicks filling out the two-deep. However, four of those are upperclassmen and two are seniors. To not redshirt Frey means he must be looking at a solid spot in the two-deep next season, but even then, it means he would be a junior when he gets his first true chance to start. His decision will be an interesting one, but I know this summer he was preparing to play.

What does your gut say about Caleb Swanigan and Jalen Brunson committing to us in basketball? Do we get both, one or neither?

It’s hard to say, but I think MSU is strongly in the running for both. Swanigan is the top target on the board, in my opinion, and he would form a lethal pair with Deyonta Davis – the pair also play AAU together. Getting Brunson on for an official visit is very good news for Michigan State. I’m not prepared to make a prediction on other, but stay tuned in the coming months.

Any upcoming visits for Jacksonville St game?

The challenge with a Friday night game is getting recruits on campus, naturally. Most play that Friday. We will look to have a list of some of the visitors early next week.

I haven’t heard much said about most of the incoming freshmen such as Robert Bowers, Byron Bullough, Vayante Copeland, Chase Gianacakos, T.J. Harrell and Jalen Watts-Jackson. Any word regarding their performance so far?

Well, you named a group of guys that all figure to redshirt, which is why not much has been said about them. Bowers looks like he could be a freak end in the future. Bullough already is built like a college linebacker. I did not see much of Copeland, Gianacakos, Harrell or Watts-Jackson this preseason camp, but Dantonio did say good things about Copeland and Watts-Jackson, as he liked the entire secondary.

Not much has been said about Jalyn Powell, who was the talk of spring camp. What is going on with him?

Powell should see the field as a backup safety, but R.J. Williamson seemed to lock up that starting strong safety spot pretty quickly. With Demetrious Cox as the nickelback and clear NO. 3 safety, Powell spent the fall behind them.

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