With the departure of leading wide receivers B.J. Cunningham, Keshawn Martin and Keith Nichol, along with tight ends Brian Linthicum and Garrett Celek, the receiving corps for the MSU football team is wide open.
And with junior tight end Dion Sims as the only player with more than 10 receptions, the chances for the rest of the receivers are even greater.
“We have big shoes to fill, but just getting an early start is good,” Sims said. “We should be able to, as long as we keep working hard (and) have big expectations. But anything is possible, the sky is the limit.”
Transfer sophomore wide receiver DeAnthony Arnett enjoys the open competition and said there’s no clear-cut leader of the group. Arnett is waiting for an NCAA ruling on his case to see if he’ll play this fall or redshirt to play in 2013.
“We’re still trying to learn each other, motivate each other,” Arnett said.
Junior running back Le’Veon Bell said the receiver group started to click with new starting quarterback junior Andrew Maxwell.
“I feel like they’re making great strides and improvement,” Bell said. “The receivers are still young, (Maxwell’s) first year, so a lot more improvement is needed.”
Although Bell appears to be the starter at running back, head coach Mark Dantonio made a comment about no starter job being safe.
Many thought those comments were directed at Bell, but he said the coach made sure to clear up that issue.
“Coach D told me it’s not directed at me, but everybody, not to be complacent. Gotta go out there and earn the right to play,” he said. “There’s nobody coming into week one as a starter, that’s gonna keep everybody hungry. They’re gonna go into practice competing to get better. Anybody here can play, we have a lot of good players.”
During practice last season, Sims broke his scaphoid bone in his wrist. After surgery in February, Sims can be seen wearing a club during spring practices.
He said it’s purely precautionary as it rehabilitates.
“The thing was it took time to get to it, to get it fixed,” he said. “I’m just worried (about) protecting it.”
Along with his increased role in the receiving game, Sims will lead a group of young tight ends.
“I have some big shoes to fill,” he said. “I want to perfect my game all around; everyday I’m just coming in to do extra stuff. I’m trying to prepare myself for it.”
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