For the second straight year in a row, a member of the Michigan State secondary heard their name called in the first round of the NFL draft, as cornerback Trae Waynes was selected 11th overall by the Minnesota Vikings.
Waynes follows in the footsteps of former Spartan cornerback Darqueze Dennard, who was selected last year by the Cincinnati Bengals with the 24th pick of the 2014 NFL Draft. Waynes was the first defensive back selected in this year’s draft.
Waynes was a member of the “No Fly Zone” at Michigan State, and had quite the successful college career.
Coming out of high school, Waynes was only rated a 3-star recruit, and wasn’t that highly touted. He chose the Spartans over his home state school, Wisconsin.
After redshirting his first year, Waynes spent most his redshirt freshman season on special teams before being thrown into the starting lineup for the Spartans’ Buffalo Wild Wing Bowl victory over TCU in 2012.
Waynes proved he was a player that game, and from then on, he was considered one of the best cornerbacks in the country.
Waynes started all 14 games of his redshirt sophomore season and received honorable mention All-Big Ten honors after being a major part of the Spartan defense that led the team to a Rose Bowl victory.
This past season, Waynes was the number one cornerback for the Spartans, and earned second team All-American honors after leading the defense to a Cotton Bowl victory over Baylor.
Waynes was also one of 15 semi-finalists for the Jim Thorpe award, which his given to the nation’s top defensive back.
Waynes finished his career at Michigan State with 101 tackles, six interceptions, and 36 pass break ups. He started 27 consecutive games for the Spartans.
With being the first corner selected, Waynes will most likely be looked on to step in right away and contribute for the Vikings.