EAST LANSING - Fourteen Michigan State recruits got a chance to see first hand the way the Spartans do business in a two-hour workout in full pads on the Spartans indoor field today.
Michigan State is preparing for the announcement of an imminent bowl bid tomorrow and GSN will be live, on-hand when the announcement is made.
The Spartans are in the running for one of three bowl games, the Champs Sports bowl in Orlando, FL., the Insight Bowl in Tempe, AZ., and the Motor City bowl in Detroit, MI.
Michigan State's head coach Mark Dantonio will treat bowl practices the same way he treats spring practices - he'll experiment with different player groups and two players he's targeted are running back Ashton Leggett of Muskegon and B.J. Cunningham of Westerville, OH.
"I’m really looking forward to the extra practices, and I’d like to thank Coach Dantonio for giving me an opportunity to show what I can do on the field," Leggett said. "This is an important time for me. It’s no joke playing on the scout team each week, so I’m excited about having a chance to get some reps with the ones and twos.
"I had a broken wrist at the start of the season and that was a minor setback. It was frustrating because I had never been injured before in my life. The injury threw me off a little, but Coach D helped me keep my head on straight and helped keep me motivated. My wrist is about 90-percent healthy right now, but I’ll be back to full strength for the start of spring ball.
"The biggest jump for a running back from high school to college is pass protection, and Jehuu Caulcrick and Javon Ringer have helped me out a lot in that area. It’s easy to get frustrated if you don’t properly identify where the blitz is coming from. I really appreciate those two guys for spending extra time with me to improve my pass-blocking skills. In high school, I rarely had to worry about picking up a blitz."
"These bowl practices are real important to me," Cunningham said. "It’s a privilege to be here at practice, wearing the green jersey again after wearing the black (scout team) jersey all season. I really consider these additional reps during bowl practice to be an audition for next season, so this is a crucial time for me in terms of my personal development.
"In making the transition from high school to college ball, the biggest challenge for me has been adjusting to the speed of the game. At this level, everybody is bigger, stronger and faster. The game is also more physical at this level.
"I really appreciate the older guys helping me through these early bowl practices. Since I spent the entire season with the scout team, I’m not quite as familiar with the playbook as I’d like to be."
Michigan State will be making its first appearance in a bowl since 2003 on the strength of its 35-31 come from behind win to finish the regular season against Penn State.