The Michigan State Spartans under Mark Dantonio have built their reputation on defense. Friday night, Shilique Calhoun became the fourth Spartan defensive lineman under Dantonio selected by an NFL team in the annual draft when the Oakland Raiders made the call with the 75th pick in the draft.
Calhoun, a native of Middletown, New Jersey, who was named the 2013 Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year, enjoyed a season that saw him record career highs in sacks, tackles for loss and quarterback hurries.
Spartans defensive line coach Ron Burton had the following to say about Calhoun.
“Shilique Calhoun has great instincts and excellent hands,” MSU defensive line coach Ron Burton said. “He’s a natural pass-rusher and a coach on the field. Shilique is a winner and a leader.”
Dantonio had nothing but praise for a player that helped him win a lot of games.
“A three-time All-American and three-time All-Big Ten selection, Shilique Calhoun was a dominant, disruptive force on the defensive line,” Dantonio said. “He certainly had the flair for providing a spark when the team needed it, with tackles for losses, sacks and blocked field goals. As a three-year starter, Shilique gained an extensive amount of knowledge of our entire defense, and he consistently played hard with great effort and toughness. He was an impact player and his teammates fed off his energy.
“Shilique is a fast learner, who won’t need a lot of reps regardless of the defensive system. He’ll be equally productive in a 3-4 or 4-3 system. Shilique brings it in practice every day, and he plays with an attitude. He had a breakout sophomore year, and he took his game to another level the next three years.”
“Big-time players make big-time plays in big-time games,” MSU defensive line coach Ron Burton said. “Shilique Calhoun really set the tone for our front four in 2015. Not only did Shilique have a huge impact in games, but you could see his teammates really fed off of his infectious energy. That was the storyline all last season. As a fifth-year senior, he really set the bar high for himself. Shilique consistently raised his level of play game after game, and he became a great role model for all of our younger players.”