Four Spartans Headed to NFL Combine

Four Michigan State seniors – quarterback Drew Stanton, defensive tackle Clifton Ryan, wide receiver Matt Trannon and punter Brandon Fields – have accepted invitations to participate in the National Football League's 2007 Scouting Combine, scheduled for Feb. 21-27 at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, Ind.

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Four Michigan State seniors – quarterback Drew Stanton, defensive tackle Clifton Ryan, wide receiver Matt Trannon and punter Brandon Fields – have accepted invitations to participate in the National Football League's 2007 Scouting Combine, scheduled for Feb. 21-27 at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, Ind.

The NFL Combine (National Invitational Camp) is organized and operated by National Football Scouting, Inc.

The 6-3, 230-pound Stanton earned team MVP honors for the second time in his career after accounting for 2,252 total yards and 17 TDs in 2006.

The Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award finalist completed 61 percent of his throws (164 of 269) for 1,807 yards, 12 TDs and 10 interceptions. Stanton also rushed 110 times for 445 yards and five scores. The Farmington Hills, Mich., native started 24 consecutive games at quarterback before sitting out the season finale at Penn State (suffered a concussion midway through the first quarter Nov. 11 vs. Minnesota).

He shared Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors (with Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith) after accounting for 331 total yards and three scores in engineering the greatest comeback in NCAA I-A history as Michigan State rallied from a 35-point third-quarter deficit for a 41-38 victory at Northwestern.

Stanton recorded his fourth 200-yard passing game of the season against the Wildcats, completing 27-of-37 throws for 294 yards and two TDs. He finished off a seven-play, 60-yard drive with a 12-yard TD run as MSU cut its deficit to 38-31 with 7:54 remaining in the fourth quarter. The Spartans tied the score at 38 on his 9-yard TD strike to T.J. Williams in the back, right corner of the end zone with 3:43 to play. Stanton completed 18-of-25 passes for 203 yards in the second half.

His other 200-yard passing efforts came against Michigan (252), Eastern Michigan (254) and Idaho (225).

Stanton accounted for 303 total yards and three TDs to lead Michigan State to a 38-23 victory at Pittsburgh. He completed 16-of-25 passes for 198 yards, including scoring strikes of 2 yards to Kellen Davis and 12 yards to Kerry Reed. Stanton also recorded his third career 100-yard rushing game, gaining 105 yards on 13 carries against the Panthers including a 1-yard TD run.

He ranks among MSU's career leaders in completion percentage (first at .642), pass completions (second at 543), pass attempts (second at 846), passing yards (second at 6,524), total offense (second at 8,036 yards), 200-yard passing games (second at 18), passing efficiency rating (third at 138.7) and TD passes (fifth at 42). Stanton also is listed among the Big Ten's career leaders in completion percentage (third).

In last Saturday's Senior Bowl, Stanton was named the North's Offensive MVP after completing 8-of-12 passes for 53 yards, including a 7-yard TD toss to East Carolina's Aundrae Allison in the second quarter.

ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. ranks Stanton as the third-best quarterback available in the 2007 NFL Draft, behind Notre Dame's Brady Quinn and LSU's JaMarcus Russell.

The 6-2, 302-pound Ryan led the Spartans in sacks (4 for 31 yards) and quarterback pressures (19) in 2006. He recorded 25 total tackles, including six for losses (34 yards), and ranked fifth on the team in production points (58.5). Ryan played the entire second half of the season with a calf injury.

The Saginaw, Mich., native made three solo tackles against Notre Dame, including a career-best two sacks (11 yards). Ryan also was credited with three QB pressures against the Fighting Irish.

He tallied a season-high five stops against Idaho, including a 5-yard sack, and five QB pressures. Ryan earned 35 career starting assignments, including the last 28 games in a row. He recorded 118 career tackles, with 20 resulting in losses (96 yards) including 10.5 sacks (62). In the Jan. 20 East-West Shrine Game, Ryan made two solo tackles, including one for a 1-yard loss.

The 6-6, 235-pound Trannon ranked second on the team in receptions (44), receiving yards (518) and TD catches (3) in 2006. He finished eighth in the Big Ten in receptions with 4.4 per game. Twenty-four of his 44 catches (55 percent) resulted in first downs.

With eight catches for 85 yards in the season finale at Penn State, Trannon became MSU's all-time leader in receptions with 148. He set the career record with a 19-yard grab from Brian Hoyer late in the fourth quarter against the Nittany Lions, breaking the mark previously held by Andre Rison (146 receptions; 1985-88).

Trannon had two 100-yard receiving games last season, including 131 yards on seven catches in the home finale against Minnesota. He had a season-long 49-yard reception and scored on a 26-yard grab from Hoyer late in the fourth quarter against the Golden Gophers.

The Flint, Mich., native was selected Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week after catching a school-record 14 passes for a career-best 151 yards and two TDs in MSU's 52-20 victory over Eastern Michigan. He broke the single-game mark previously held by Plaxico Burress, who had 13 receptions (185 yards) against Florida in the 2000 Florida Citrus Bowl. Trannon scored on TD grabs of 17 and 7 yards from Drew Stanton and threw a 35-yard scoring pass to A.J. Jimmerson in the second quarter that gave the Spartans a 24-3 lead.

Trannon had 148 career receptions for 1,755 yards (11.9 avg.) and nine TDs in 43 games (35 starts).

In the Jan. 13 North-South All-Star Classic, Trannon had one catch for 36 yards.

A first-team All-Big Ten selection by both the head coaches and media panel, Fields led the league and ranked No. 19 in the nation in punting with his 43.3-yard average in 2006. The Ray Guy Award semifinalist hit 17 punts 50 yards or more and had 16 kicks downed inside the opponent's 20-yard line. The 6-6, 235-pound Fields averaged 46.9 yards on seven punts against Notre Dame, including a season-long 73-yarder. He averaged 53.8 yards on four punts against Michigan, including a pair of 63-yarders. Fields averaged 40.4 yards on eight punts against top-ranked Ohio State, including four kicks downed inside the Buckeyes' 20-yard line. In the season opener, he averaged 55.7 yards on three punts against Idaho, including a 63-yarder. The Toledo, Ohio, native ranks No. 2 on MSU's all-time list and No. 3 in Big Ten history (tied with Ohio State's Andy Groom, 2001-02) with his 45.0-yard career average, trailing only Iowa's Reggie Roby (45.5 avg., 1979-82) and former Spartan Greg Montgomery (45.2 avg., 1985-87).

Fields averaged 42.0 yards on two punts in the Jan. 14 Hula Bowl, including a 46-yarder. The 2007 NFL Draft will be conducted April 28-29 in New York City.

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