Michigan State fans know how big of a role redshirt freshman Marcus Rush meant to the Spartans defense as he was third on the team in tackles for loss, sacks, quarterback hurries and QB hits.
For his play the Cincinnati, Ohio, native earned Freshman All-American honors from the Football Writers Association of America.
The honor gives the Spartans their fifth player in the last six years to earn the honor as Rush joins placekicker Brett Swenson (2006), linebacker Greg Jones (2007), offensive guard Joel Foreman (2008) and defensive tackle Jerel Worthy (2009).
Rush started all 14 games in 2011 and has earned several honors since the season ended for his top play.
Spartans defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi praised his young player.
“Marcus Rush opened preseason camp near the bottom of the depth chart at defensive end,” Narduzzi said. “Marcus was stuck behind bigger, stronger, more experienced guys, but by the end of two-a-days, he had worked his way into the starting lineup. He’s a little undersized, so it’s like asking a linebacker to play defensive end. Marcus has great instincts as a football player to go along with a great motor. His desire is to reach his full potential – to be the best (at his position).”
Position coach Ted Gill enjoyed working with his young charge.
“It was neat to watch Marcus Rush mature throughout the season,” Gill said. “His work habits improved; he took great interest in studying film; and he came to the practice field ready to work. I truly came to appreciate the way he approached the game.
“Marcus is a little undersized for the position, but he combines tremendous quickness and strength. His versatility provided us with a chance to do a lot of different things, and he emerged as one of our most consistent playmakers. Marcus really excelled against some of his toughest physical matchups, just like he did in the bowl game against Georgia. He proved that he can do more than hold his own against 6-foot-5, 300-plus pounders.”
With three more years left in the Green & White, Spartan fans should be excited about the future of the Spartans defense.