SpartanDigest Mailbag: October 10

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

When is Midnight Madness for Izzo and the basketball team?

Midnight Madness is the night before the Michigan football game, so it will take place on Friday, Oct. 24.

Is Brandon Clemons getting more practice/game reps on offense or defense as of late?

Based on the 20-ish minutes of practice we see each week, which mostly consists of stretching, it is hard to say. From my understanding, he is getting pretty equal splits worth of snaps and time in film and so on.

If Damon Knox is completely healthy and in game shape, how do you rank him in comparison to Joel Heath and Lawrence Thomas?

Heading into last week, if Knox had been full-go, I would have said play him over Heath. But against Nebraska, Heath and Thomas had probably the best games of their careers. I think for now Knox backs up Heath, but if he shows he can be more explosive and back to health, he could break back into the starting lineup.

Can we infer anything about freshmen who have played this year yet were held out of the Nebraska game?

I think it would be safe to assume that Montez Sweat is being redshirted at this point and Craig Evans could be in that category as well. If they do play Saturday, that expectation would be different.

Was Connor Cook targeting Aaron Burbridge, or was he simply the open man? Half of Cook's attempts seemed to be at Aaron.

Wide receivers coach Terry Samuel was asked about that this week and said there was not a concerted effort to get Burbridge the ball, but it happened that way. I liked the move because Burbridge, in my opinion, has the ability to be the best No. 2 receiver on the team across from Tony Lippett.

Is it crazy to think that Taiwan Jones might be the best pro prospect on the roster among juniors and seniors? And no, I haven't forgotten about Shilique Calhoun, Trae Waynes, Connor Cook, and LT. Jones is bigger than Max Bullough, runs very well, will test off the charts at the combine, and he's now learning how to be a MLB and set a defense. What's not to love about his game?

It is a little bit crazy. I think Trae Waynes is the best pro prospect on the team right now, with Connor Cook probably the second best. Shilique Calhoun is in the mix, but I think he has to improve his ability to bull rush before moving up that list. Jones is making a case for himself right now to be a pro prospect, but I still think he is a bit on the thumper side for what the NFL uses for middle linebackers. He does have more pro potential than Bullough when he graduated, though, from a sheer physical skills standpoint.

What are the predictions that Cook and Calhoun come back for their senior seasons? It seems that both might be projected to go in the first round.

Neither is going to offer up much indication of their future plans, but if both continue their current seasons, it is reasonable to expect both to leave. The question I always ask when I consider whether or not a player should leave is if they would benefit from another year. In the case of Calhoun, I don’t know if he would be able to show more than he already has. Cook still needs more consistency, but he might be in a position to leave as well given how NFL people seem enamored with him.

Any reason why Nick Hill is on KR team? Obviously R.J. Shelton is the returner, and due to Nick Hill's size he isn't much of a blocker.

I have asked myself the same thing, but Hill actually is a good blocker for his size. He is solid in pass protection as well despite his stature.

Who do you expect to run PG when Trice is resting or in foul trouble?

It is going to be an interesting guard season for Michigan State, as they are guard heavy. It is possible Denzel Valentine could be the primary ballhandler at times with Trice playing the two guard. I do think Lourawls Nairn is going to play as well, so he would be a backup point guard. Really, MSU has those three that can run the point.

The last schedule I saw still had Furman on the schedule for 2016. With the new playoff emphasis on strength of schedule, will this game be replaced?

I don’t, but you never know how schedules will change. Teams still will play lower-level teams at least one game a season, you have to assume. MSU played Jacksonville State to open this season after all.

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