Michigan State was well on its way to a Big Ten title in 2010 with an 8-0 start and a roa..."/> Michigan State was well on its way to a Big Ten title in 2010 with an 8-0 start and a roa..."/>

Michigan State Spartans Top Prospects for 2012 and Beyond


Michigan State was well on its way to a Big Ten title in 2010 with an 8-0 start and a road game against a struggling Iowa team, but things can change in a flash. Michigan State was completely overmatched against the Hawkeyes, who completely thrashed them. The Spartans only played two games like that all year, and the second one game in their bowl game against the Alabama Crimson Tide, who made them look like nothing short of a pop-warner team. Alabama’s 49-7 victory has pushed Michigan State to the side when trying to predict who will come out of the Big Ten this year, but they are a serious threat to be a BCS team this year, and it all starts with the most important position on the field…

8 Kirk Cousins (RS Senior), QB, 6’3″ 205

Cousins is one of the most decorated quarterbacks in Michigan State history, and is one of the top senior signal callers in the entire country. Cousins was a third team All Big 10 selection by Phil Steele in 2010, academic All Big 10 for the third straight year, and showed that he is one of the most accurate quarterbacks in the country. The fourth year junior completed just under 67 percent of his passes for 2,825 yards, 20 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions (three came in Iowa game). Michigan State is a run oriented offense, but Cousins definitely makes the most of every throw. Had a dominant performance (22-of-29) in the MSU Spring game where he threw for 285 yards and three touchdowns, and could be poised for a big season in 2011. Cousins is an accurate quarterback who will have a long NFL career because he is smart and makes great decisions. Not a mobile quarterback by any means, but is a guy who can get outside the pocket and make plays. Gets rid of the ball quickly and excels in play-action. Some people might call him a game manager, but field general is probably more appropriate. Will occasionally throw the ball into traffic when under pressure instead of getting rid of it. Sometimes tries to do too much, and ends up making risky throws or poor overthrows.

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88 Brian Linthicum (Senior), TE, 6’5″ 245

Big, athletic tight end prospect who will take over in 2011 as the full time starter for the departed Charlie Gantt. Big play threat who has had a couple of excellent seasons as a key reserve for the Spartans. 38 receptions for 496 yards and five touchdowns over the last two seasons. Transferred to Michigan State from Clemson where he had 11 receptions in 2007, three of which went for touchdowns. Linthicum will have to prove that his legal issues are behind him, as he was arrested in Vail, Colorado over Spring break and has been dropped down the depth chart as a result. There’s no doubt he has the talent off the field, but hopefully it will not be wasted because of mistakes off of it.

99 Jerel Worthy (Junior), DT, 6’3″ 305

Big defensive tackle prospect who is already being regarded as one of the top defensive players in the class of 2012. Big body in the middle who is very athletic and can make plays in the backfield. Stats do not jump off the screen, but he is a guy who commands a double team on every single play, and he is very disruptive. In two years, he has 77 tackles, eight sacks, and 13 tackles for loss. Very explosive player who is an excellent athlete with great quickness. In college, you are always looking for guys to “break out” and Worthy is definitely a candidate to do just that. Probably an ideal fit to play in a four man front in the NFL, and it’s possible that he could be a top ten pick if he comes out this year. Needs to work on using his upper body strength and arms to disengage from blocks instead of simply sparring with the offensive lineman that takes him on. He has the physical tools, but needs to use his hands better against powerful offensive linemen, which could attribute to his lack of elite level statistics despite his raw ability. Has top ten potential, but right now, needs more time.

39 Trenton Robinson (Senior), S, 5’10” 195

Undersized but extremely productive safety who had a breakout season as a junior with 76 tackles, four interceptions, and 12 pass deflections. Robinson was making plays all over the field for the Spartans last year, and is a very underrated player. Had a big sophomore season with 67 tackles and an interception, and returns for his senior season as one of the leaders of the Michigan State defensive unit. Has started 19 games for the Spartans, and was a 2nd team All Big Ten performer as voted by the coaches as well as Phil Steele. Hard-nosed, blue collar player with solid athleticism and good speed.

67 Joel Foreman (RS Senior), OL, 6’4″ 310

Foreman is not a flashy offensive line prospect, but he could be a solid rotational player in the NFL, and has been a consistent performer for the Spartans. Was named as a third team All American by Phil Steele, and was an honorable mention All Big Ten performer as voted by the coaches. Three years in a row has been voted Academic All Big Ten. Smart player with a nasty streak and a blue-collar mentality. Has started 36 games at left guard for the Spartans, including 22 in a row.

4 Edwin Baker (Junior) RB, 5’9″ 208

Very compact running back with a low center of gravity who rarely goes down on first contact. Is one of the more punishing runners in a very talented group at MSU, and is a guy who can make people miss in the open field. Not overly speedy, but he has a nose for the end zone. Averaged nearly 6 yards per carry last season as the Spartans’ primary back, and had 1,201 yards rushing to go along with 13 touchdowns on the ground. Only the sixth runner in school history to get over 1,000 yards in a single season. Was named first team All Big Ten by the media, honorable mention by the coaches, and 2nd team by Phil Steele. I am not so sure he will leave early this season, but it’s possible because MSU’s backfield could get crowded. Baker really stands out because of his ability in between the tackles, but you would like to see him get better in the passing game.

3 B.J. Cunningham (Senior), WR, 6’3″ 220

Cunningham is one of the most consistent receivers in school history, and ranks near the top of the record books because of it. Third in MSU history with 139 career catches, and finished his junior season with a solid 50 receptions for 611 yards and nine touchdowns. Big body who will fit right into the NFL in that regard. Is a guy who can make plays in the red zone and be an asset for your team in that way. Big receiver who had his biggest games as a junior against Notre Dame and Northwestern, where he caught 15 passes for 214 yards and two scores.