Cole Chewins is done for the season, but opportunity for a sixth year exists
If it wasn't already assumed, Michigan State Head Coach Mark Dantonio closed the conversation on senior offensive lineman Cole Chewins' season.
But, he also opened the talks for a sixth year.
Chewins, a former walk-on from Clarkston, Michigan, has had an injury-riddled career at Michigan State, including a back injury before this season that cost him his senior year.
“I would say the door is closed this year. he’s worked extremely hard to try and come back from his back injury," Dantonio said during his weekly press conference. "But every time — he’s never really been able to get on the field yet in pads. So as a football player I think you have to be able to cross that threshold before you can take the next step.
"He continues to work and keeps a positive attitude and continues to lead. He’s got his master’s degree in Finance now. Depending on his durability, what he’s able to accomplish physically, we will decide whether he can take another step forward as a football player. That's a decision he will have to make and we’ll have to make as we go forward. But as of right now he’s just working off of the field without pads.”
After redshirting his freshman season, Chewins played in 12 games in 2016, including making three starts. He started at left tackle in all 13 games during MSU's 2017 season, before his streak of 16 consecutive starts was snapped when he missed the 2018 season opener against Utah State.
Chewins accomplished all of that while also being extremely successful in the classroom. He is a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-American, three-time Academic All-Big Ten Honoree and a two-time Big Ten Distinguished Scholar.
Chewins, however, was never able to get back on to the practice field, let alone in a game on his road in recovery.
“He’s conditioning in terms of, I would say, from a physical therapy standpoint," Dantonio said. "Limited running, limited movements and those type of things.”
The Spartans have tried numerous people in attempts to fill his void at left tackle. Kevin Jarvis started at the position against Tulsa, Western Michigan and Arizona State before a right knee injury against the Sun Devils has sidelined him through the remainder of the year.
Dantonio noted that there is a possibility that Jarvis will use a redshirt year, having only played three games this season.
Tyler Higby started the next four games after Jarvis went down, but he has missed the Spartans' last four games with an injury of his own. A.J. Arcuri, who missed six games this year, started against Illinois and Michigan, while true freshman Devontae Dobbs has been in the mix at left tackle as well.
Dantonio said that Dobbs is slated to start in Michigan State's regular season finale against Maryland this Saturday (3:30 p.m., FS1), which would burn his redshirt year, having played in the Spartans' games against Western Michigan, Northwestern, Michigan and Rutgers.
Chewins will be one of 21 Spartan seniors honored in East Lansing Saturday afternoon. But, it may not be the end of his time playing in Spartan Stadium.
Dantonio left the option open for a sixth year, all dependent on Chewins' health and durability going forward.
“I guess the possibility exists from an NCAA standpoint, I would say a possibility exists from that standpoint," Dantonio said. "But you have to get on the field, see how you are able to withstand the upholds of being able to play offensive line first.”