MSU Football Blog
By Zach Smith
Last updated: 01/17/13 6:35pm
Former MSU wide receiver Devin Thomas has a job again after signing with the Detroit Lions today.
Thomas didn’t play during the 2012 season after announcing his retirement on Twitter while still in training camp with the Chicago Bears.
Since his first season in the NFL in 2008, Thomas caught a total of 43 passes for 482 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for a touchdown in his rookie year, and won the Super Bowl with the New York Giants in 2011.
His two years at MSU were highlighted by the 2007 season where he caught 79 passes for 1260 yards and 8 touchdowns.
“I walked away from the game to see how much it really meant to me,” Thomas said in the Detroit Free Press. “I knew I won a Super Bowl, but how much does this game really mean to me? Is that all I came hear to play for, just one Super Bowl and be done? And like I said, the urge and that sensation of this is what my life is, football’s my foundation and I don’t want to lose that.”
By Stephen Brooks
Last updated: 01/16/13 3:19pm
Grand Rapids Christian High standout wide receiver Drake Harris still is committed to MSU — for now.
Harris, who pledged to play football and basketball for the Spartans in June, posted on his Twitter account last night that he is re-opening his recruitment after deciding to only play football in college, although he remains committed to MSU.
The top-ranked wide receiver prospect in the class of 2014 according to Prep Football Report’s recruiting analyst Tom Lemming originally chose the Spartans over Michigan and Notre Dame.
Suspicion began to arise that Harris might be looking elsewhere after he tweeted the following on Jan. 14: “Also got an official offer from Ohio state today.”
MLive.com reports that Harris plans to visit Ohio State and Florida. The report also says Harris told ESPN.com he’s looking at Alabama, Florida State and Georgia, among others.
As a junior last fall, the 6-foot-4 wideout grabbed 91 receptions for a state-record 2,016 yards and 21 touchdowns en route to leading Grand Rapids Christian to a Division 3 state title.
By Stephen Brooks
Last updated: 01/08/13 7:37pm
Alabama’s triumph over Notre Dame on Monday night officially marked the end of the 2012 college football season. By now you should know that MSU’s season ended a while ago with a 17-16 win over TCU in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. What better time to reflect than the end of a season? Here’s a look at how the Mark Dantonio-era Spartans fared in the professional ranks this season.
Jerel Worthy, Green Bay Packers
Position: Defensive tackle
Worthy, the highest-drafted Spartan in 2012, played in 14 games and notched 14 total tackles, 2.5 sacks and one forced fumble.
Garrett Celek, San Francisco 49ers
Position: Tight end
Celek’s rookie season saw him appear in 13 games and catch four passes for 51 yards.
Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins
Washington took some flak in the media when they drafted Cousins in the fourth round after taking former Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III No. 2 overall. Cousins was named the backup early in the season and the investment paid off for the Redskins as Cousins was called off the bench on multiple occasions to fill-in when Griffin was injured. The former Spartan captain played in three games, including a start against Cleveland in week 15 where he completed 26 of 37 passes for 329 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Cousins finished the season completing 33 of 48 passes for 466 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions.
Kellen Davis, Chicago Bears
Position: Tight end
The fifth-year tight end had arguably his best season as a professional in 2012, grabbing 19 receptions for 229 yards — both of which are career-highs — and two touchdowns. He started 15 games for the second consecutive year.
Brian Hoyer, Arizona Cardinals
Cousins’ predecessor also started one game this year in the final week of the season against San Francisco where he went 19-for-34 with 225 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Hoyer finished with 330 total yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.
Greg Jones, Jacksonville Jaguars
One year removed from winning the Super Bowl as a rookie with the New York Giants, Jones landed in Jacksonville where he appeared in six games and recorded four tackles.
Keshawn Martin, Houston Texans
Position: Wide receiver
Although he only started one game, the former slot receiver and kick return specialist appeared in all 16 games for the Texans. As a receiver, he caught 10 balls for 85 yards and one score. He also rushed four times for 53 yards and racked up 1,008 yards as a punt and kick returner.
Javon Ringer, Tennessee Titans
Position: Running back
Ringer’s 2012 season was hampered by injuries, limiting him to action in just two games where he totaled two carries for 14 yards.
Trenton Robinson, San Francisco 49ers
Robinson, another former MSU captain, has appeared in three games for San Francisco but has yet to log any statistics.
B.J. Cunningham, Philadelphia Eagles
Position: Wide receiver
MSU’s all-time leader in receptions receiving yards was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the sixth round, but ended up getting cut early in the season. He was signed to the Philadelphia Eagles’ practice squad on Sept. 2.
The 49ers, Packers and Texans all will continue their seasons this weekend in the NFL playoffs.
Edwin Baker, San Diego Chargers
Position: Running back
The former heralded running back prospect decided to declare for the NFL draft after his junior season ended splitting carries with Le’Veon Bell. Baker was chosen in the seventh round and spent the majority of the season on the practice squad before being activated to the full roster on Dec. 19 but didn’t record any statistics in 2012.
By Christine LaRouere
Last updated: 01/08/13 5:38pm
The MSU football program has paid their respects to former linebacker Reginald “Reggie” J. Garnett, 38, after his death Dec. 25, 2012.
Garnett started all four years at MSU during the 1990s and signed with the NFL’s Carolina Panthers, only to have his career cut short because of an injury.
MSU head football coach Mark Dantonio expressed his condolences and explained that Garnett was a true Spartan.
“Reggie was an outstanding young man, who will be missed by all of us. We’d like to express our deepest sympathy to his family as well as his extended Spartan family.“ Dantonio said in a statement.
Garnett died after slipping into a diabetic coma.
The news about his death also was spread via the MSU football twitter account on that Christmas day.
“Saddened to learn of the passing of former Spartan LB Reggie Garnett (1993-96). Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.“
By Josh Mansour
Last updated: 01/07/13 9:20pm
A bright spot among an ever-changing offensive line was Jack Allen, and Monday the redshirt freshman was honored by being named a Freshman All-American by the Football Writers Association of America.
Allen, who started five games at left guard and seven games at center in 2012, became the sixth Spartan in the past seven years to be recognized with the honor.
Previous members include kicker Brett Swenson (2006), linebacker Greg Jones (2007), offensive guard Joel Foreman (2008), defensive tackle Jerel Worthy (2009), and defensive end Marcus Rush (2011).
“I simply focused on improving each and every week during the season,” Allen said in a statement.
“As the season progressed, I certainly had a better grasp of the game plan each week, but I also became better prepared mentally to push through each game. In addition to (offensive line) coach (Mark) Staten, the veteran players around me helped a great deal, coaching me up during practices and games. Those guys really helped push me throughout the season.
“Obviously, the biggest challenge for me was adjusting to the speed of the game and developing awareness for what the defensive fronts were trying to do on each play.”
After sophomore center Travis Jackson suffered a season-ending injury, Allen was forced to move from offensive guard to center and became a staple of the offensive line.
Allen logged 925 out of a possible 957 offensive snaps, good for 97 percent and the second-highest amount of total plays among MSU offensive linemen, trailing only senior offensive guard Chris McDonald.
“Motor, motor, motor — that’s the best way to describe Jack Allen,” Staten said in a statement.
“He is an extremely hard worker. Jack brings the tenacity and work ethic daily to the practice field that an offensive lineman needs to become a great player. We can’t wait to have him back for what should be a special sophomore season.”
Allen also was recognized with Freshman All-America honors by Sporting News and CollegeFootballNews.com, as well as being named to ESPN.com and BTN.com’s Big Ten All-Freshman Teams.
MSU head coach Mark Dantonio said Allen’s intellect and positional versatility help to make him an impact player.
“Jack Allen is an extremely versatile player,” Dantonio said in a statement.
“As a red-shirt freshman, Jack transitioned from center to guard, then from guard back to center. He’s athletic, knowledgeable and plays with tremendous toughness. Jack will be an outstanding player on our offensive line for the next three years.”
By Josh Mansour
Last updated: 01/06/13 2:25pm
One day after announcing he would join running back Le’Veon Bell and tight end Dion Sims as the third junior to forego his senior season and enter the NFL Draft, defensive end William Gholston released an open letter thanking head coach Mark Dantonio, his teammates and MSU football fans for their support. The letter reads as follows.
An open letter from William Gholston:
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone associated with Michigan State University, its athletic department as well as its football program for their endless support and commitment to me as a student-athlete.
For the past three years I have made East Lansing my home and I have created friendships and memories that will stay with me for the rest of my life. I am so grateful and fortunate to even be in the position that I am today and I know none of this would even be possible without the help and support of Spartan Nation.
In the days since our Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl victory, I have decided to forgo my senior year at Michigan State and declare for the 2013 NFL Draft. While I know I still have a great deal to accomplish, I am very excited about the challenges that the future holds and I promise to always represent the University with class, dignity, and professionalism.
From Coach Dantonio, to our entire staff, to my incredible teammates, to each of you unbelievable fans that back us each and every day, I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart.
By Zach Smith
Last updated: 12/29/12 11:58pm
Tempe, Ariz. – With one half of the final game of the 2012 campaign in the books for the MSU football team, the Spartans trail TCU 13-0 in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl in Tempe, Ariz.
The game started with three consecutive three and outs, two by MSU and one by TCU. The Horned Frogs went on a 9 play, 73-yard drive that was capped off by a 4-yard rush by Tailback Matthew Tucker to give TCU a 7-0 lead.
MSU got their first first down of the game on the next drive, but was forced to punt again.
Just before the end of the first quarter, TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin hit receiver Kolby Listenbee on a 59-yard strike that would result in a field goal, giving TCU a 10-0 lead.
At the start of the second quarter, MSU put in redshirt freshman quarterback Connor Cook to replace junior quarterback Andrew Maxwell. He got a first down, but the drive ended in another punt from senior punter Mike Sadler who averaged 40.7 yards on 7 punts.
On TCU’s next dive, Boykin completed a 61-yard pass to leading receiver Josh Boyce, but they would settle once again for a field goal.
MSU looked to gain some momentum back when junior safety Isaiah Lewis picked off a pass and returned it 29 yards, but it ended in yet another MSU punt.
On 11 rushes, junior running back Le’Veon Bell had just 38 yards, and Maxwell threw for 28 yards and completed 6 of his 13 passes.
By the end of the half, MSU punted on all seven drives to make it three straight bowl games in which they have not scored a touchdown.
By Zach Smith
Last updated: 12/28/12 5:44pm
Scottsdale, Ariz. – On a scale of 1-10, how angry do you get when someone refers to MSU as simply “Michigan?”
The reference can be a blood-curdling experience for most diehard Spartan fans who want nothing to do with their “Little Sister” from down the road.
Well, TCU sophomore receiver Brandon Carter made that mistake at media day on Thursday before the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl in Tempe, Ariz.
“The Big Ten is a little bigger than the Big 12, but the Big 12 has more speed, so that’s what we have to use to our advantage,’‘ Carter said. “It’s going to be a real good game. We’re going to bring it, Michigan is going to bring it.”
Junior linebacker Denicos Allen had the best response to the gaffe.
“They called us Michigan?,” Allen said. “Aw man, that’s the biggest mistake. They don’t understand.”
TCU head coach Gary Patterson picked up on the situation and blew it off like it meant nothing.
“We got called Northwestern,” Patterson said. “If it takes me being called a name to get fired up and get my team to go play a bowl game, then we probably shouldn’t have came.”
By Erin Smith
Last updated: 12/04/12 8:43pm
With the bowl season descending on the college football world, so too are gift packages for the athletes headed to them.
According to a report from sportsbusinessdaily.com, collegiate football players heading to bowl games will receive substantial gift packages for their participation ranging from gift suites and shopping trips to watches and backpacks. Each school can give up to 125 participants gifts up to a $550 limit, per NCAA rules.
In heading to the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl in Tempe, Ariz., the MSU football team and Texas Christian University, or TCU, will receive a gift suite presented by PAC Sports Division, a Fossil watch and an Ogio Mercur backpack, according to the report.
But it’s also interesting that many football players’ selflessness is showing both on and off the field. The report indicates many of the athletes who are making it to postseason bowls are sharing their gift packages with their families.
SportsBusiness did an analysis of gift packages — including gift suites and shopping trips — and found a surprising number of women’s gifts being bought.
Will Webb, executive director of Charlotte Collegiate Football, the nonprofit committee that operates the ACC Dr. Pepper Championship football game in Charlotte and the Belk Bowl told SportsBusiness one of his better experiences during a player’s shopping trip last year.
“I saw one young man carrying a high-end Cuisinart coffee maker and pink slippers to the checkout counter,” Webb said in the article. “I asked him jokingly if those were for him. He put his hand on my shoulder and said, ‘You have no idea how much this means to me. This is the first time in my life I’ve ever been able to buy my mom a Christmas present.’”
The Spartans take on TCU in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl at 10:15 p.m., EST, on Dec. 29 at Sun Devil Stadium, which houses Arizona State during the regular season.
By Lindsay Spagnuolo
Last updated: 11/28/12 8:05pm
During halftime of the football game between MSU and Minnesota, Gopher head coach Jerry Kill suffered from a seizure that kept him from coaching the rest of the game.
Hospitalization was not necessary, seeing as all of his vital signs were fine and he was back at home before the end of the weekend.
This is the third time the 51-year-old coach has fallen victim to a seizure during a game in just two seasons with the program. Although he has led the Gophers to a six-win season — a three-win improvement from a season ago — it’s hard not to wonder if he is healthy enough for the job.
Kill’s seizures started around the same time he was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2005, and he has learned to deal with them as best as he can during the past seven years.
Many of the other coaches have offered to lighten his load as head coach, but as long as he can fulfill his duties, fans shouldn’t be pushing to get a new coach solely because of his health condition.
Continued from print…
Kill previously has dealt with health issues during the football season.
The Spartans defeated Minnesota last week in the Golden Gophers’ last home game of the season. The Spartans now are bowl-eligible. MSU likely is headed to the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl in Arizona.