The countdown continues as Michigan State prepares to open the season Friday night against Boise State in one of the top early games of the college football season.
We’ve already looked at the Spartans offensive depth chart released this week and now move over to the defensive side of the ball.
In the Spartans 4-3 defensive scheme there are some slight changes along the defensive line from a year ago. Gone is Jerel Worthy to the NFL but some familiar names return. On the edge Marcus Rush returns after a break through redshirt freshman campaign that surprised many. He’ll be backed up by Shilique Calhoun and Jeremy Gainer. On the other side is junior William Gholston who many expect to be one of the top players in college football this season. Behind him are Joel Heath and Denzel Drone. Heath was a pleasant surprise in the spring and many expect big things out of him this fall.
In the middle returns Anthony Rashad White who placed his name in Spartans lore with the block kick against Georgia to seal the Outback Bowl victory last season. He is backed up by Vanderbilt transfer James Kittredge and Damon Knox. At defensive tackle the Spartans expect to play either Micajah Reynolds or Tyler Hoover with redshirt freshman Brandon Clemons backing them up.
Despite the loss of Worthy, MSU looks to be in great shape along the front four with depth at each position.
If there is any place on the field Spartan fans know all about it’s at the three linebacker positions. All three starters, Chris Norman, Max Bullough and Denicos Allen return after posting top seasons a year ago.
At the STAR position (weak side) Taiwan Jones will back up Norman. Jones looks to be a top level player and should Norman go down the staff feels good about him as a replacement. Behind Bullough are Kyler Elsworth and Steve Gardiner.
Gardiner is also a back up at the SAM (strong side) along with Ed Davis.
The Spartans look in great shape at all three spots if someone would go down with an injury.
It all starts with senior Johnny Adams who many have labeled an All-American contender and one of the top cornerbacks in the country. He is backed by the “Canadian Flash” Arjen Colquhoun who showed great improvement since the spring. Another redshirt freshman Trae Waynes could also see the field.
The other corner is manned by Darqueze Dennard who will look to continue his solid growth from last season. He’s backed up by Mitchell White.
At the safety spots you have Jairus Jones and Kurtis Drummond at free safety with true freshman Demetrious Cox backing them up. At strong safety Isaiah Lewis returns and will be backed up by R.J. Williamson.
While there are a couple of players with solid experience, there are also some questions if one of the starters would go down.