SpartanDigest Mailbag: September 26

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

With the addition of Matt McQuaid, how many scholarships open for next year? Who are primary targets not named Henry Ellenson or Caleb Swanigan?

I believe there is one final scholarship open for the next class after adding McQuaid on Thursday. As for the rest of the class, I think Michigan State is solely focused on those two. If they fail to land either, I would expect them to bank the open scholarship for the next class and chase another good one.

Any news or updates on Damon Knox?

Two weeks ago, Mark Dantonio said he expected Knox back by Big Ten play, so he should be talked about more next week heading up to Nebraska – unless that is something we just missed this week as the media as we looked at Connor Kruse possibly returning.

Has the decisions regarding which freshman are redshirting or easier answer who isn't redshirting this year?

Well, all six freshmen that have played (Brian Allen, Craig Evans, Chris Frey, Malik McDowell, Montae Nicholson and Montez Sweat) have been active through three weeks. Evans and Sweat did not see the field at Oregon, but the other four have played in all three games. I thought Sweat might be headed for a redshirt as he did not play until the fourth quarter and Michigan State gave Evan Jones a long look, but it seems Sweat will continue to play. As for the rest, I don’t think Michigan State removes the redshirt off anyone else if health remains not an issue. Madre London and Miguel Machado are those next guys that could be forced into action from an injury.

Have you ever seen two higher-ceiling safeties in a two-deep but not starting than Montae Nicholson and Demetrious Cox? Both of them would start and at least half of the Big Ten schools ... one of them (Cox) would start at just about all of them. Agreed?

I’m not so sure on that. I agree the talent is high with both players and Nicholson looks like he could be the real deal before his time is done at Michigan State, but it is hard to anoint players starters on other teams with what little has been seen of them. I think Cox is progressing, but he has ups and downs when he is on the field from what I have seen. Safety is a tough position in Michigan State’s defense with all it demands, so for both of them moving forward, the mental demands will dictate a lot of how far they go, but MSU should be happy to have them around and should be looking forward to the future with them.

How's Dennis Finley progressing?

Finley is playing better than I expected coming into the season. He is doing well in the snaps he is getting it seems, but he hasn’t seen much time against top talent yet.

What recruits will be in town for homecoming this weekend?

Michigan State is gearing up with a focus on next weekend for recruiting, so not a ton will be in town, but the headliner would be 2015 OL Wesley French – a player Michigan State has liked for a little while and could be in line for an offer.

Who poses the biggest threat to MSU from the Big Ten's other division? Nebraska, Wisconsin, Iowa?

Going into the season, I thought Iowa was going to make noise, but they have not shown enough yet for me to keep thinking that. I think Nebraska and Wisconsin are both tough for Michigan State as both have elite running backs. Ameer Abdullah is an animal that has given the Spartans defense fits previously, while Melvin Gordon has not played against Michigan State as a starter, if at all. Neither has settled answers at quarterbacks, which is a factor. I think I will say Nebraska for now, given that Michigan State has to beat them to go undefeated in the conference, whereas Wisconsin is not on the regular season slate.

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