Junior wideout Aaron Alexander has shown more of his talents than most MSU athletes. He's been an up-and-coming quarterback, a surprise bench player for Tom Izzo and, most recently, one of the Spartans' most dangerous wide receivers. But, he says, MSU fans still don't know the real Aaron Alexander. "I got a whole other side of me, another drive that a lot of people haven't seen yet and I'm just waiting because I haven't really been healthy yet," he said.
There's an undeniable irony in nicknaming an offensive line - whose members all stand 6 feet 3 inches or taller and weigh at least 270 pounds - after a fungus that goes mostly unnoticed. But when one begins to understand the sacrifice and underappreciation an offensive lineman experiences, the "Mushroom Club" moniker MSU's offensive line goes by makes more sense. "We're the first ones to get blamed and the last ones to get a pat on the back," junior left tackle Stefon Wheeler said.
Every gambler needs an insurance plan in case of disaster. Senior cornerback Roderick Maples, who is known for taking risks on the field, is no exception. Only, Maples' insurance plan comes in the form of junior strong safety Eric Smith. "We kind of got attached," Maples said.
John L. Smith is excited, and not just because he's looking forward to the start of spring practice. The Spartans' head football coach will get the opportunity to ascend 19,341 feet to the top of Africa's tallest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. "To be on Mount Kilimanjaro, watching the sun come up while sitting on a glacier, it's a moment to take your breath away," he said.
As he rehabilitates his knee this spring, with hopes to be next season's starting quarterback, sophomore Drew Stanton said the memory of the Nebraska player who "cheap-shotted" him at the Alamo Bowl in December will serve as motivation. "I've never had such a pain in my leg before, and I remember the guy over top of me, laughing and talking trash," Stanton said during a spring football press conference Wednesday. "That's something that motivates me every day to go out there and make sure that I'm at the top of my game and showing everybody that that was a cheap shot and that I will be the starting quarterback around here." Stanton was a backup quarterback last season, but because of his athleticism, he was used mostly on special teams. Head coach John L.
The NFL Draft is exactly one month away, but that didn't stop a handful of Spartans from smiling inside Clara Bell Smith Student-Athlete Academic Center on Tuesday afternoon. It was NFL Pro Day and Detroit Lions head coach Steve Mariucci and Green Bay Packers head coach Mike Sherman, along with numerous coordinators and scouts, were on hand to watch MSU players display their talents in hopes of being drafted. Senior quarterback Jeff Smoker, senior linebacker Mike Labinjo, senior defensive end Greg Taplin, senior guard Paul Harker, senior tackle Joe Tate and junior defensive tackle Matthias Askew were the bigger names that worked out on Tuesday.
College football spectators can anticipate watching a fifth top-level bowl game starting in 2006 after an agreement Sunday would add one more bowl game in addition to the existing four. The announcement came from Miami by presidents of colleges representing teams that are part of the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) and those from teams outside it. Oregon president David Frohnmayer called the change "positive" and "significant." "We have substantially increased the opportunities for Division I-A colleges to participate in BCS bowl games," he said.
Four recent Spartans football signees will get a chance to play in the most prestigious all-star game in high-school football before stepping into Spartan Stadium next fall. Quarterback Brian Hoyer, wide receiver Miles Williams, running back/defensive back Tony Howard and defensive end Justin Kershaw will participate in the Big 33.
John L. Smith and his coaching staff made another big catch this weekend, receiving an additional top recruit for next season. Hugh D'Imperio, a 6-foot-4, 230-pound linebacker from Sewell, N.J., orally committed to don the Green and White.
Spartans football landed yet another top junior college recruit for the 2004 season. Kenny Jackson, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound wide receiver from Bakersfield College in Bakersfield, Calif., said he couldn't have pictured himself anywhere but East Lansing. "Going to MSU was something I had always been interested in," Jackson said.
The newest addition to the Spartan football 2004 lineup said the main thing he hopes to accomplish in his freshman year is to keep the team on track for another winning season. Justin Kershaw, a 6-foot-5, 235-pound, strongside defensive end from Reynoldsburg High School in Columbus, Ohio, committed on Saturday to play for the Spartans.
Matthias Askew's decision to enter the 2004 NFL Draft has left both fans and analysts divided. The junior defensive lineman announced Monday he would forgo his senior season in order to pursue a professional career. Stewart Mandel, an online reporter for Sports Illustrated, said Askew will probably be a third or fourth-round pick, not faring as well as former Spartans who also left early.