EAST LANSING, MI - Pick up a college football preview on newsstands today and you’re likely to see Javon Ringer (Jr.) with fearless eyes running the pigskin. Spartan fans, players and coaches hope the talented running back does more than look pretty on glossy magazine covers; and they have good reason to believe he will.
Last season in four games before a knee injury sidelined him, the quick-darting back put up All-American numbers: 7.2 yards-per-carry with a 156 yard game against Pitt.
However, the injury marked the second time Ringer has had major surgery on his right knee, and the fear is that he may have lost an extra burst of quickness. After a speedy recovery from what most considered a season-ending injury, Ringer returned but failed to post the gaudy stats he accumulated early in the campaign.
But hope runs deep.
For the Green and White to be successful this fall, Ringer will have to live up to his flashy nickname. Along with the bruising Jehuu Caulcrick, the tandem became known as “Thunder and Lightning”. With a full off-season to strengthen and recuperate, the jack-rabbit speed Ringer displayed early last season will have a chance to return.
And it should not surprise Spartan fans to see Ringer running better than ever. Recruiting cooled when he hurt his knee in his senior year of high school. But in the end, Ringer turned away powerhouses Ohio State and Tennessee to come to East Lansing. After a 13-carry, 194 yard performance against Indiana in his fourth career game, the doubters were silenced.
Ringer will also be relied on as a role model under a coaching staff that emphasizes leadership. Ringer’s enthusiastic acceptance of the new offensive scheme will go a long way toward unifying a team that has fallen apart in the past.
And the embrace has been mutual. Coach Dantonio certainly understands his fortune at having a player in Ringer who not only possesses raw talent, but also exhibits intangibles like leadership and competitiveness.
In an MSU release, Dantonio mentions the characteristics that should help make Ringer an All-Big Ten caliber running back: “Javon is truly an exceptional football player. Not only is he a talented athlete, but he’s a great competitor that plays the game with an attitude.”