With back-to-back top five rankings, Michigan State enters 2015 as a team to watch. However, there could be a few potholes in the Spartans path as they look to win a Big Ten title and earn a spot in the college football playoffs.
The loss of two letterwinners at linebacker leaves Michigan State with talent and competition in 2015.
WILL A BULLOUGH LEAD
While the Spartans return Darien Harris and Ed Davis, all eyes will be on Riley Bullough as the junior looks to step forward and finally settle in at MIKE linebacker. Last season saw the legacy spend the majority of his time at the SAM position but a move late in the season sets up his opportunity to shine. However, Bullough will be challenged as sophomores Jon Reschke and Shane Jones have their eyes on the position as well.
ONE-TWO PUNCH WITH HARRIS AND DAVIS
Davis had a solid junior season starting 12 of 13 games and should be settled in at the SAM backer spot this fall. Coming off an honorable mention All-Big Ten season, the Detroit native posted a career high 58 tackles last season.
Harris started 11 of 13 games at the STAR position also recording a career high 48 tackles. While Davis has sophomore Chris Frey on his heels, Harris looks at this point to be the more unchallenged and maybe the most important of the three linebackers.
OTHERS TO WATCH AND WHY
Chris Frey – Sophomore
Before leaving Michigan State there is a very good chance Frey is a star. Last season as a true freshman, Frey played in all 13 games and showed signs of what should be a great career as a Spartan.
Jon Reschke – Redshirt Sophomore
Reschke was a major recruiting win for the Spartans and got on the field last season until injuries slowed him down. Important year for Reschke with Bullough and Jones also fighting to get reps.
Shane Jones – Redshirt Sophomore
Much was expected out of Jones when he came from Cincinnati Moeller High School. So far Spartan fans have yet to see what made him a major recruiting win. Some reports had Jones out of shape and overweight, so the work done from the spring to start of camp will be important.
THE GOOD AND THE BAD
The good is the Spartans have solid starters in Harris and Davis.
The bad is the lack of experienced depth.
The good is there is a Bullough on the defense and much like a Timex watch, Bullough’s keep on ticking and get the job done.
We like what Harris and Davis bring to the field and feel Bullough will be a top performer. While excited to see the continued development of Frey, questions with the rest of the linebackers should have some concerned. The Spartans defensive line should help all make plays and post career numbers across the board in 2015.