The journey taken by Michigan State junior offensive tackle Jack Conklin to top college football player is that of movies and dreams. The former walk-on out of Plainwell, Michigan used the slights of the recruiting process to drive himself to become a better player and the end results have been the benefits of Mark Dantonio and Spartans offensive line coach Mark Staten.
Spartan Digest spoke with Conklin during the Spartans Media Day about his journey to possible top NFL Draft selection and found the 6-foot-6, 325-pound redshirt junior still has that same chip on his shoulder that he arrived with back in 2012.
JACK CONKLIN FILE
PRIOR TO MSU
Was a three-year starter for his father Darren Conklin at Plainwell High earning honorable mention all-state by The Associated Press and The Detroit News. Was a two-way starter at right tackle and defensive end leading his team in tackles with 80 as a senior. Was a multi sport athlete also competing in basketball where he was a two-year starter at center averaging 17.1 points and 10.4 rebounds per game.
SINCE ARRIVING AT MSU
Conklin redshirted his first season (2012) and was named Scout Team Offensive Player of the Week vs. Eastern Michigan. In 2013, Conklin started 13 games at left tackle (10) and right tackle (3) earning first-team Freshman All-American honors where he was credited with 55 knockdowns during the regular season. In 2014 Conklin earned Second-team All-Big Ten honors and was named a fourth-team All-American. Led the Spartans with 113.5 knockdowns and played a team high 959 snaps. Only allowed 2.5 sacks for the season. In 2015 many feel Conklin will set himself up as one of the top offensive linemen in the 2016 NFL Draft if he decides to leave the program early. Enters the season with 26 career starts with 23 consecutive starts at left tackle.