While Wednesday’s announcement by junior offensive tackle Jack Conklin that he was leaving the Michigan State Spartans football program early to take part in this springs NFL Draft was not a surprise, there was still hope Conklin felt the need to return for one more season to take care of some unfinished business.
However, Conklin said his farewells in a heartfelt letter to fans, teammates and coaches while leaving some big shoes to fill next season.
Jack Conklin File
POSITION: Left Tackle
HT/WT: 6-6 / 325 lbs.
Hometown: Plainwell, Michigan
Three year starter at left tackle where he played in 38 games starting 37 of them. During his 38 games played allowed only four sacks with more than 235 career knockdowns. Former walk-on who quickly earned a scholarship. Earned All-American honors from Sporting News (first team), USA TODAY (first team), Associated Press (second team), CBS Sports (second team), Football Writers Association of American (second team) and Walter Camp Football Foundation (second team) among others.
THE LOSS OF CONKLIN MEANS
Michigan State will have a major hole at left tackle when they open spring practice. The Spartans got a taste of life without Conklin during the season when he missed a few games with an injury. While the time missed was painful for the Spartans, Dennis Finley looked like a capable player when he started the Purdue game and looked solid. However, as Spartan fans know, Finley is doubtful for the spring coming off a season ending injury in the same game that saw him suffer a broken right leg (fibula and tibia).
For the Cotton Bowl, redshirt junior Miguel Machado was the listed backup if Conklin went down. However, Spartan Digest feels other moves would have been made before inserting Machado in the game against Alabama as Machado struggled with his play during the season.
One player we’ve liked since scouting him in high school is David Beedle who got reps at guard this fall. Beedle has the physical size and we feel the feet to make a move to tackle. But the name to watch is Cole Chewins who is now in the 265-270-pound range with the frame and feet to become Conklin’s successor.