For one thing, proven, high-caliber Big Ten talent returns. Voted honorable mention All-Big Ten, Otis Wiley (Jr.) is back at free safety. Wiley led the team in tackles last season with 94. He was a one man wrecking crew early last season with a sack, forced fumble, numerous pass break-ups, and 12 tackles against Idaho; and that was his first career start.
In an MSU release, head coach Mark Dantonio spoke highly of Wiley after coaching him through spring practice: "You can really build the secondary around a guy like Otis Wiley because he's a proven playmaker with great leadership skills," Dantonio said.
Dantonio also noted the emergence of CB Kendell Davis-Clark, saying he had been the most consistent corner throughout the spring. "He has played well in every practice that he's been healthy. Kendell has a nose for the football and when he arrives, he'll hit you," Dantonio said. Davis-Clark's quad injury does not appear to be serious, and prior academic difficulties seem to be behind him.
Also returning is strong safety Nehemiah Warrick (So.) who started 10 games last season. In a revamped system, Warrick will have the opportunity to cause problems in opposing backfields as the new philosophy integrates a healthy dose of blitzing in an aggressive 4-3 scheme. Warrick's hard-nosed presence should be a boost to the Green and White run defense as well.
Starting at the other CB spot will likely be Ross Weaver (So.), a player highly touted and expected to start going into last season before a broken ankle sidelined him in the spring scrimmage.
Travis Key (Sr.), who saw significant playing time last season at safety, returns to compete for a spot in the secondary. Key might find playing time as a nickel back in passing situations. Where depth is more of an issue at cornerback, Ashton Henderson (So.) and Jeremy Ware (So.) look to provide stability, if not competition for a starting job.