As the focal point of MSU’s offense, senior running back Javon Ringer will be counted on at times to carry the team on his shoulders.
So understandably, coaches have been cautious with Ringer after he was forced to have shoulder surgery this offseason.
Ringer didn’t play in the Spartans’ spring game, but he says the shoulder didn’t have an impact on his decision to stay on the sidelines.
Meet Javon Ringer
Hometown: Dayton, Ohio
Height: 5 feet 9 inches
Weight: 200 pounds
Freshman stats: 817 yards on 122 attempts — five touchdowns
Sophomore stats: 497 yards on 86 attempts — one touchdown
Junior stats: 1,447 yards on 245 attempts — six touchdowns
Source: MSU Athletic Communications
Javon Ringer talks about the upcoming season
“My shoulder feels great and (the doctors) just went in there and kind of cleaned up whatever was wrong with it then,” he said.
“It actually felt great during the spring, and the trainers told me if we had to, I could have done spring ball. But I didn’t have too much left to prove.”
Ringer hasn’t hit since Dec. 28 when the Spartans played Boston College in the Champs Sports Bowl. Now, with his shoulder fully recovered, he said he’s ready to start testing it out when training camp starts Aug. 3.
“I think my body is feeling better than anybody on my team,” the Dayton, Ohio native said. “I don’t think I’ve ever looked forward to camp as much as I am this year to just get out there and hit.”
With the graduation of running back Jehuu Caulcrick, the Spartans running back duo, which amassed 2,319 yards and 27 touchdowns last season, has been sliced in half.
With Caulcrick gone, Ringer will be given more carries — especially near the goal line. Ringer said he’s up for the challenge.
“I’m very confident in myself to take on that role,” he said. “I don’t feel any pressure at all.”
MSU head coach Mark Dantonio said Ringer is more than capable of taking on the additional carries.
“He’s one of the most explosive players that I’ve been around as a coach,” he said. “Running back is a position of strength for us … We need to play to our strengths and obviously he is going to touch the ball a lot.”
With the extra attempts he’ll get, Ringer said a 2,000-yard rushing season is within his reach. Last season, he piled up 1,447 yards on 245 attempts.
“I would praise to God if I can get over 2,000 yards,” he said.
“That’s something I was able to do a couple times in high school … so if I could do that, that would be a real blessing.”
Ringer is confident in his abilities but knows he’ll only go as far as his offensive line takes him.
“Our success as an offense, whether we win or lose or how many yards we pile up, is going to come from our offensive line,” he said.
“You could have the best running back in the world, but if he doesn’t have a decent offensive line in front of him, he won’t be successful at all. So all of the pressure is on them, not us.”
Starting quarterback Brian Hoyer said his backfield partner will be utilized more in the passing game this season, as well.
“We’ve got to get the ball in his hands more,” Hoyer said.
“If there’s an opportunity on third-and-eight, and he’s open five yards past the line of scrimmage, I know he’s going to get those extra three yards.”
In addition to the high expectations he’s set for himself, Ringer has high expectations for his team, which he expects will continue taking steps toward a Big Ten championship.
“I look at last season as we were so close to accomplishing such great things,” he said.
“The harder we work to focus more on the little things, the more successful we can be this year.”