In an lengthy conversation with Spartan Nation Radio that will air on Thursday night, I asked MSU Head Coach Mark Dantonio earlier today about what players he anticipated NOT red shirting this season. He has spoken bluntly that LB Andrew Dowell will see action as a true freshman as well as RB LJ Scott. So, barring injury that would force another player to get into the mix or a player sometime in the next couple of weeks improving exponentially I wondered if those would be the only two. His answer was surprising.
He told me, â€œI would anticipate those guys (Dowell & Scott) playing. I think when you look down at our linebacker group; Drake Martinez is a new guy that will play for us although he is not a freshman. I think he is going to be on the field for us at some point and time somewhere.â€
Dantonio continued with, â€œWhen you look in the secondary, our safeties have been impressive. Those guys, Khari Willis and Grayson Miller have been impressive. Are they going to be playing enough plays? Now, if they are special team wise you can see playing a Khari Willis or a Grayson. At the corner position Josh Butler is a same type guy. He reminds me very much of Renaldo Hill when I coached Renaldo; who was a tremendous player. The way he moves, he is a technician the way he moves, the way he tackles, those types of things. So that is a positive. Really beyond that it is as you said.â€
So, unless players have significant exponential growth or an injury forces a young player into action we know according to Dantonio that LJ Scott and Andrew Dowell will play. Khari Willis, Grayson Miller, and Josh Butler round out the potential other three true freshmen that could see action if they can earn the right to play on the much ballyhooed Spartan special teams units.
You may remember in 2013 Max Bullough told Spartan Nation, â€œAt Michigan State the culture is simple. Youâ€™d rather be a special teamsâ€™ player than a starter. You want both, but to play special teams here, that is a badge of honor.â€ With as many as five potential true freshmen playing in 2015, that means a bumper crop of super talented red shirt freshmen next season for a Spartan team that will have significant holes due to graduations and potentially early NFL draft entries.
You can listen to his entire interview on Spartan Nation Radio tomorrow night at 6:05 PM by listening on one of our affiliates or BY CLICKING HERE and listening via any electronic device.