Now that Damion Terry has graduated from Michigan State and is ready to take the next step in his life, the former Spartan signal caller sat down with Spartan Nation for a special conversation and talked all things #5 Michigan State football.
During the conversation, Terry went in depth on a number of topics, including his thoughts on what fans can expect from the Spartans in the 2018 season.
Although Michigan State lost a number of key leaders from last year’s team, including Terry, he said that he believes there will be a strong core of leaders this year, starting with left tackle Cole Chewins and quarterback Brian Lewerke.
“Spartan fans need to be excited about this upcoming season,” he said. “I think we had a few seniors that left and me, Brian (Allen) and Chris (Frey) and Gerald (Holmes), we really felt that the leadership in that program is sky high. You’ve got Cole Chewins, Brian Lewerke, guys that are class acts on and off the field, role models for people to look up to. I know the ‘Eagle Counsel’ there and they have the right guys going and it’s going to translate onto the field.”
During the podcast, Terry agreed with the notion that Lewerke, linebacker Joe Bachie, and defensive back Khari Willis have the inside track of being named captains this fall.
When it comes to all three of the previously mentioned potential captains, Terry said that each possesses unique leadership qualities that make them legitimate possibilities to be named a captain.
“Just everything he’s done on the field and off, he’s a great leader, a lot of people follow him, he has great expectations,” he said. “Then Bachie, who doesn’t want to follow that man, that man will leave it all out on the field for you and off the field, he checks all of the boxes. Khari is the vocal one, Khari really came out of his shell last year and a lot of people were surprised and wanted to follow him. Khari’s going to do great things and I think he’s made huge strides on the field as well and he’s going to have a huge senior year.”
One player that caught the attention of those in and around the Michigan State program last year was freshman quarterback Rocky Lombardi, even though he did not see the field as he spent the year playing behind Lewerke and Terry while acclimating himself to the college game.
Terry said that what stood out most to him about Lombardi, who is expected to serve as the backup to Lewerke this fall, is his personality and work ethic and said that he feels there’s plenty to like about Michigan State’s quarterback room moving forward.
“It’s his swagger, the way he treats everyone, he gets along with everyone on the team, he comes in every day and he’s working hard,” he said. “I think Darien Harris hit on it in the spring game, he said something about he’s always in the weight room putting in extra hours or doing things when the team isn’t in there. That just goes to show a lot about Rocky, not even to talk about his football skills, which are just amazing. Rocky’s come in and looked the part right away. The way he throws, his first pass, I was at home screaming when he threw the wide-cut, banged it right on his fifth step. Rocky is someone everyone should be excited about in Spartan Nation, they’re going to be in good hands with the remaining years of Brian and with Rocky in the future.”
One of Michigan State’s many key returning starters next year will be L.J. Scott, who is the lone running back with significant experience and will be asked to carry a heavy workload this fall while helping lead a young position group.
While Scott has already had an impressive career at Michigan State, Terry said that he feels the senior running back is still realizing his potential and has high expectations for himself as he enters his final season with the Spartans.
“L.J. has all of the special abilities and gifts,” he said. “I know a lot of people like to compare him to Le’Veon Bell and the potential is there. His hands - I know he dropped a pass in the spring game, I mess with him a little about that - their off the charts. I think this year, he’s starting to realize ‘I’m a senior’ and it starts to go by fast and he’s not the little kid reaching across at the Big Ten Championship Game, he can’t live off that. He wants to set new goals and new standards and I know he always tells me ‘I want to get 1,000 yards’ so know that’s really important to him. I also think that Madre leaving is really making him realize that ‘Wow, it’s just me’ and he has Connor (Heyward) and Westin (Bridges) under him. But I know L.J. is going to do big things and I know he knows his potential, he’s been working really hard and it’s going to show this year.”
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