The staple of the Michigan State Spartans defense has been defensive end Shilique Calhoun the past few seasons. Now the New Jersey native waits to hear his name called during the upcoming NFL Draft but the Spartans must continue to show they can bring pressure off the edge after also losing Lawrence Thomas to graduation as well.
Calhoun and Thomas combined for 87 tackles, 20 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks last season.
So how does the Spartans defensive end depth chart breakdown this spring?
Demetrius Cooper: 6-5, 252 lbs. Junior
2015: Played in 13 games with one start posting 22 total tackles with 6.5 tackles for loss and five sacks and three quarterback hurries.
Spring 2016: This should be the spring that Cooper steps forward and spreads his wings becoming the players many felt he could be coming out of high school. We’ve seen Cooper in third down situations and seen him be able to make big plays. Now can he put it all together as the starter?
Evan Jones: 6-5, 246 lbs. 5th Year Senior
2015: Played in 13 games posting seven total tackles with 0.5 tackles for loss.
2016 Spring: Jones will get a chance to win the starting job but may only be listed at the top of the depth chart due to the face he’s a fifth year senior. We have always felt Jones would have been better suited as an offensive lineman but in his final season he could push to get more reps.
Montez Sweat: 6-6, 230 lbs. Sophomore
Spring 2016: Many felt Sweat had the skill set to become a top level player on the edge. However, a suspension for non-specific reasons saw a lost season for the Stone Mountain, Georgia native. If Sweat can put aside the off field issues, he could finally step forward and show the world his talents. If Sweat can show this skills he’s already flashed, you could see him move to the opposite end of Cooper. The time is now for Sweat to step forward or run the risk of being passed by.
Robert Bowers: 6-4, 256 lbs. Sophomore
2015: A non-factor last season.
Spring 2016: Has the tools physically to become a player and this spring will be one of growth for Columbus, Ohio native. Should be pushing for more reps by the spring game.
THE REST OF THE NAMES
Dillon Alexander: 6-3, 240 lbs. Sophomore- Walk-on out of Georgia who provides depth.
Justice Alexander: 6-5, 243 lbs. Redshirt Freshman - Will be very exciting to see how Alexander has grown as a player since his arrival to MSU. Could really push for early reps by the spring game but should show his biggest growth when preseason camp opens in August.
Mufi Hunt: 6-6, 255 lbs. True Freshman (Early Enrollee) - Remains limited this spring as he continues his recovery from knee surgery last August. But could push to get reps if he’s healthy by preseason camp.