Kiddie Corps Ready To Run at MSU

It starts with highly touted freshman Fred Smith, arguably the Spartans' top recruit from a season ago. But the real surprise has come from head-turning speedster Keshawn (no "y") Martin.

EAST LANSING – Michigan State lost superstar wide receiver Devin Thomas to the NFL, but appears ready to make up for it with a trio of untested young talented players who could become stars.

It starts with highly touted freshman Fred Smith, arguably the Spartans' top recruit from a season ago. Smith combines size, strength, agility and speed. He has made an impression on his coaches and teammates and is expected to impact the playing group almost immediately.

"We have been very excited about Fred Smith and Keshawn Martin, so one of those could emerge," offensive coordinator Don Treadwell said after practice last week.

The instant impact player of the group could be redshirt freshman B.J. Cunningham. Cunningham could have had an impact last season, but the coaching staff made a wise decision by putting the redshirt on a player who looks to be a starter this season.

"He has come back with a great attitude," head coach Mark Dantonio said of Cunningham. "He was a young man we redshirted last year, and he was very close to playing last year, and he could have helped us last year, but Devin Thomas obviously stepped up, so that gave us a little breathing room."

But the real surprise has come from head-turning speedster Keshawn (no "y") Martin. Martin played quarterback at Westland John Glenn, but that was partially because the coaches wanted to get the ball into the hands of a player who has breakaway speed and ankle snapping ability.

"Keshawn Martin has really jumped out at us as a true freshman," Treadwell said. "He is explosive and he catches the ball tremendously well — he has very soft hands. … (We) have stepped back a few times and have taken notice of him."

Dantonio concurred: "I think Keshawn is very fluid and catches the ball very well," he noted.

Martin's high school coach told GSN during the recruiting process that he was one of the "most under the radar players" in the state.

Michigan State could also utilize the elusive Martin as a punt and kickoff returner to replace the great Devin Thomas, or he could be used as a flanker in MSU's pro-set attack.

While some expected MSU's receiving corps to take a step back with the loss of Thomas and tight end Kellen Davis. MSU could actually have more depth than a season ago.

GSN will take a closer look at tight ends in a future article.

Joe Torok contributed to this story


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