FOOTBALL: Jeremiah to Contribute Early

FOOTBALL: Jeremiah to Contribute Early

Jeremiah will have the opportunity to make an immediate impact. He will be pushed by other freshman, upperclassmen, and the coaching staff. Jeremiah enters a situation that is screaming for success.

Antonio Jeremiah, aka "The Giant", is a welcome addition to the Spartans at a time when the defensive line is rebuilding. Not only did the unit lose its star player from a year ago (Clifton Ryan), but depth problems have forced position adjustments (Justin Kershaw to tackle) and a new system is being digested by everyone.

So when the 6-5, 270, four-star recruit decided he would strap on a Spartan helmet for 2007, a mini-celebration could have been expected. Although head coach Mark Dantonio stepped into a recruiting nightmare after the firing of John L. Smith, he landed a big one when he landed Jeremiah.

"We're very excited to get Antonio," Dantonio said in an MSU release. "He's extremely strong . . . He'll have various opportunities to be a starting defensive lineman for us. He'll have an opportunity to show up early."

Strengths
  1. Athletic instinct:
    As a wrestler in high school, Jeremiah was ranked as high as #4 in the state in the 275 lb. class at Division I Darby in Hilliard, Ohio. The footwork and grappling skills he learned from wrestling should help him adjust to the college game.

  2. Opportunity:
    Jeremiah will have the opportunity to make an immediate impact. He will be pushed by other freshman, upperclassmen, and the coaching staff. Jeremiah enters a situation that is screaming for success.


Questions
  1. Can a freshman interior lineman make an impact in the Big Ten?
    Or, rather, is he big enough? The coaching staff seems to think so. And with a few months of training and a soft pre-Big Ten schedule, Jeremiah should be as prepared as any freshman for conference play.

  2. Will Jeremiah be able to digest a college system so quickly?
    One thing the coaches have stressed when it comes to defense is simplicity. Although zone blitzing will be used, coaches indicate that the overall defensive philosophy will be to react and make plays—smart defenses are not necessarily complicated.


Projection

Look for Jeremiah to step into a void this season and fill an important need for the Green and White. Even if he only shares time, his athletic presence will be felt. If he responds to the competition and fulfills his potential, Jeremiah's adjustment to the next level will be quick—and the payoff could be gigantic for Spartan football.

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