Friday night officially kicks off the 2016 football season for the Michigan State Spartans and that means the first depth chart of the season has been released.
What surprises on defense showed up on the first regular season depth chart? We take a look at each position group.
BIGGEST SURPRISE: Graduate transfer Kevin Williams looks to have picked up the Spartan way quickly as he’s been penciled in as the starting defensive tackle over Raequan Williams. Another player who earned a sixty year of eligibility from the NCAA. Williams played in eight games last season at Nebraska fighting injuries throughout the season. If he can stay healthy, Williams can be a major anchor for the Spartans defensive front as he posted 10 tackles for loss in the 23 games he played as a Husker.
DEFENSIVE LINE: We already talked about Kevin Williams getting the starting nod at defensive tackle. No surprise at nose tackle with Malik McDowell or with Demetrius Cooper at one of the defensive end spots. Many felt Evan Jones would be challenged by grad transfer Gabe Sherrod but he’s listed behind Cooper. True freshmen Josh King, Auston Robertson and Mike Panasiuk are all listed as third team at their positions and expected to play.
LINEBACKERS: Chris Frey and Andrew Dowell are still fighting for the STAR spot with Riley Bullough at MIKE and Jon Reschke at SAM. No real surprises with the back-ups as Byron Bullough is behind his brother and Shane Jones is behind Reschke as expected. True freshman Brandon Randle is listed behind Frey and Dowell while another true freshman, Joe Bachie is listed behind the Bullough’s at MIKE backer.
SECONDARY: The four names we expected to be listed in the secondary, Darian Hicks and Vayante Copeland on the corners and Demetrious Cox and Montae Nicholson at the safety spots is set. Back-ups at corner are Tyson Smith, Kaleel Gaines, Josh Butler and David Dowell. Some have asked about Drake Martinez who is now listed down on the depth chart at corner. The safeties have Khari Willis and Grayson Miller as the back-ups. True freshman Kenny Lyke is listed as a third team member behind Nicholson and Willis.