With a starting spot on the offensive line now cemented after impressing at the end of last season and during the spring, Cole Chewins has not only emerged as a starter, but he is beginning to take on a leadership role for the Spartans as well.
Heading into the 2017 season, Michigan State’s offensive line will be led by senior center Brian Allen, the lone member of the offensive line with more than six starts under his belt. Allen has made 25 career starts.
Considering Michigan State will be lacking experienced veterans along offensive line, Chewins, who made three starts at the end of the 2016 season, said that he sees a need for leaders to step up outside of the senior class and is ready to be someone to take on that responsibility.
“We definitely need guys to step up, we have a young team,” he said. “We’ve got great senior leadership from the older guys who’ve played, but at the same time, we still need our younger guys to step up and those guys who got experience have got to try to fill that role and try to be a little bit more vocal because I wasn’t the biggest vocal guy.”
And Chewins’ efforts to become a bigger leader for the Spartans hasn’t gone unnoticed as his work in the offseason has earned him high praise from his teammates.
“He’s definitely grown into a leadership role,” quarterback Brian Lewerke said. “He was one of the guys who was voted as our “Eagles” so he’s doing a great job of growing as a player. I think he’s still continuing to put on some weight and I think eventually, he’ll be a big guy for us.”
When Chewins first stepped on campus he had the opportunity to watch and learn from a pair of future NFL linemen, Jack Conklin and Jack Allen, who he tries to emulate as he works toward becoming a leader.
“When I got here, we had those great leaders like Jack Conklin, Jack Allen, all of those offensive linemen,” he said. “So I’m just trying to take something from their book, so I’m trying to implement it so we can lead the young guys and grow as a whole team.”
After playing tight end at the high school level, Chewins obviously had plenty of growing and learning to do and found himself learning from one of the country’s best offensive linemen, Jack Conklin, who, like Chewins, arrived at Michigan State as a walk-on.
Chewins, who currently stands at 6-foot-8 and 282 pounds, spent the majority of his redshirt freshman season watching and learning from the future Top-10 draft pick as the Spartans made a run to the college football playoff.
Having had that experience, Chewins, now a sophomore, enters the 2017 season not only looking to mirror Conklin’s on-field success, but his leadership qualities as well.
“Obviously, Jack’s a great person, he was kind of my mentor growing up my first year here,” he said. “Just his work ethic and his ability to rely on his teammates but also to be able to get on them and expect a lot out of them shows some great qualities and that’s what I try to be.”
Although Conklin has moved on to the NFL level where he was named a First-Team All-Pro in his rookie season with Tennessee in 2016, Chewins said that he still tries to keep in contact with the person who helped show him the ropes of playing offensive line in the Big Ten.
“I talk to him every now and then,” he said. “Try and keep in contact every once in a while, just check up and see how things are going and trying to keep that relationship there.”
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