Receivers focus of offense for MSU

"I think that we are explosive at the receiver positions," gushed Baldwin. "After this year, we're going to in trouble because we are going to lose so many of them. We have to play them and play them hard this year."

EAST LANSING - Michigan State is counting on their big-play potential on offense to propel them to a bowl season. That puts the onus squarely on a couple of seniors who have yet to reach their full potential, West Bloomfield native Kyle Brown and Flint Northern star Matt Trannon.

"We have a lot of responsibility, admitted Brown who last year recorded 23 catches for 302 yards and a touchdown. "We've had pressure put on us since we were sophomores. Last year, we got off to a slow start, but we got better as the season progressed. Now, we've got two years under our belts, so there is no reason for us to go out there and not make plays. Almost the entire receiving core is back, so we're ready to go. We're blessed because we have a lot of talented guys in the playing rotation."

Offensive coordinator Dave Baldwin talked about what he hopes for Trannon this fall.

"Hopefully, Matt can really step up this season. If he makes as much progress as he did last season and if he can make another significant improvement this season like the jump he made last year, then he'll be our go-to receiver which is really what we need from Matt."

Trannon joined the MSU basketball team the last two seasons once football season ended and it appeared to boost his confidence when he came back for spring practice.

Still, he has not turned into the Andre Rison-Darryl Turner-Charles Rogers-Plaxico Burress type of 'go-to' receiver the Spartans anticipated when they recruited him from Flint Northern High School

"His confidence is very important," admitted Baldwin. "When he returned after a season away from football, his expectations weren't met; however, he stepped into his role on the basketball team and made solid contributions, which greatly helped his confidence level."

"Matt needs to step on the field everyday knowing that with as big of a physical presence that he has, when the ball is thrown to him it should be his every time. That alone, knowing that you have the ability to make every play, will give him the confidence he needs to be the best player on the field."

The "X" factor in the receiving corps this year is 6-foot-2, 190 pound junior Kerry Reed, who the Spartans never expected to have on their roster. A junior-college transfer from Coffeyville, KA, Reed was supposed to join the Texas A&M squad, but the Aggies oversigned and Reed was left holding the bag. A relationship Coach Baldwin cultivated with the Coffeyville coaching staff resulted in Reed joining the Spartans.

"A guy that we have behind Matt Trannon that we would like to see contribute is Kerry Reed. He is a new JC transfer out of Coffeyville (Kansas) and Miami (Fla.). He is 6-2, 190 pounds, with good speed. He provides more depth at that (split end) position."

Coffeyville head coach Jeff Leiker told, "He's a 6-2, 190-pound big receiver who runs in the 4.5-range. He's kind of deceptive in that he makes it look easy and is just a natural athlete. He had about 40 catches for over 600 yards and about 5-6 TDs." Reed is no sloutch, when coming out of South Dade high school in Homestead, FL he was recruited by Ohio State, Rutgers, Auburn, Florida, West Virginia, and Louisville.

Meanwhile, the Spartans leading receiver (39 catches, 444 and 3 touchdowns), Jerramy Scott returns to his familiar slot position but coach Baldwin is looking for some creative ways to use the former running back.

"He contributed in a lot of ways last year," said Baldwin. "He has got to continue to grow. What is neat about that is he can motion and move back in the backfield. You can see some tweaks with him because he was a running back, so we can play a lot of options."

In reserve the Spartans have a ton of depth including Chicago area sophomore Terry Love who is coming back from an off-the-field incident, converted quarterback Aaron Alexander, super-quick freshman Carl Grimes of Detroit, one of MSU's most highly coveted recruits and Diego Oquendo, a speedster from New York.

"[Aaron] is probably the smartest receiver on the football team, as far as football skills are concerned. Aaron could be our third quarterback if we got into trouble because he knows our offense that well.

"I feel good about it (our depth). You might see some young kids in Grimes and Oquendo play. Diego is a kid that I would like to get his hands on the ball in some short screens because he has got tremendous running ability. He has to learn how to come out of breaks and be a receiver, but he has that running ability." Oquendo could also be a candidate to return kicks.

"I think that we are explosive at the receiver positions," gushed Baldwin. "After this year, we're going to in trouble because we are going to lose so many of them. We have to play them and play them hard this year."

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