Javon Ringer - All American On The Field And In Our Hearts

Jeffrey Cottrell

What can you say about Javon Ringer? We’ve seen what he can do on the field, especially in the past few weeks. Some of us have seen the kind of person he is off the field. With his play on the football field, it’s beginning to become very apparent that he will be playing on Sundays. The Spartan team has a lot of high character players and Javon Ringer exemplifies the characteristics that Coach Mark Dantonio desires in all of his players.

First, let’s start with Javon on the field. He came in from Chaminade-Julienne High School in Dayton, Ohio. During his prep years, he was a three year starter and rushed for over 6,100 yards even though he missed four games his senior year with a knee injury. Some may think he’s had some high yardage rushing games so far this season, but he had a 372 game while in high school. Ringer was highly recruited coming out of high school. Did you know that Michigan State wasn’t his first choice? He wanted to go to Ohio State. Southern California, Florida, and Tennessee offered as well. Luckily for all of us, he chose Michigan State. Javon played plenty, even in his freshman year. His first game was against Kent State and he carried the ball 12 times for 69 yards and a touchdown.

Fast forward two seasons. 2007 has Javon as a junior playing under Coach Mark Dantonio in his first season at Michigan State. The offense was the exact opposite of his previous coach, John L. Smith. Smith’s spread offense was predicated on the pass, while Dantonio wanted to play old school smash mouth football. They had a “thunder” and “lightning” backfield with Jehuu Caulcrick and Javon Ringer, respectively. Jehuu scored most of the touchdowns, but Javon had almost twice the yardage that Jehuu had. It was because of last season under Mark Dantonio that he is getting on some preseason watch lists. That, coupled with his 1,447 rushing yards and 35 receptions, (he was second on the team in receptions last season) have catapulted him into the national spotlight as this season began.

Now we are in 2008. Javon is second in the nation in rushing yards so far this season with 699 (NCAA is led by UConn’s Donald Brown with 716). He has rushed the ball a TON of times in his first four games of the season (143). The Spartans have relied on Ringer in each of their first four wins. That was very apparent when they played Florida Atlantic in the rain a few weeks back. He’s had back to back 200 yard games (282 vs. FAU and 201 vs. ND). Finally, Javon is getting some Heisman Trophy talk.  It’s highly doubtful that this talk has changed his mindset. Javon Ringer has won three consecutive Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week, a feat that no other offensive player has done. Ringer is far from a one dimensional runner because he has 72 career receptions.

Ringer impressed me at his post game press conference this past Saturday. While I was sitting and waiting for the presser to begin, in walks this mountain of a man…followed by another mountain, and another, finally Javon Ringer walked into the room. I then realized that it was Michigan State’s offensive line, tight ends, and fullbacks standing behind their tailback. Javon walks up to the podium and praises his offensive line. He gave them all the credit. That’s the type of player Javon is. Joel Foreman, offensive guard was telling me that it’s an HONOR to block for what he considers the best running back in the nation. Everyone on this team considers him the undisputed leader of the team. Check out some of the videos on this site to see what his teammates think of him. When talking to the media, he seems to always say the right things. It’s not because that is what he’s been taught to say, it’s because that’s what he believes. Have you heard of Javon getting in trouble off the field?

With all of that said, it’s hard to imagine Javon Ringer not playing on Sundays. He has the skills needed to play, the demeanor desired, and knows how to talk. This isn’t a guy that NFL coaches will have to worry about. He won’t get into trouble like Adam Jones did his first few seasons. Running backs are always desired in the NFL and since they don’t have a long playing career, young backs are always desired. With all the hype he’s been getting, I believe that he has to be a first day pick, probably in the first or second round.

Javon Ringer is the type of player that makes me proud to be a Michigan State fan. He is one of the top players in the country. No one can dispute that. Javon is confident in his abilities, but not in a cocky sort of way. Off the field, he is a high character guy that keeps himself out of trouble. All of these factors lead me to believe that, unless he chooses not to, he will be playing in the NFL next season.