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Two More Spartans Invited To NFL Mini-Camps

Michigan State is up to nine players who will compete for NFL jobs

Two more Michigan State Spartans will get an opportunity to compete for an NFL job this fall, as quarterback Anthony Russo and offensive lineman Matt Allen were invited to mini-camps by the Carolina Panthers and New York Giants, respectively.

Matt Allen was the latest and last among a line of Allen brothers to play offensive line at Michigan State. His brothers, Jack and Brian, were both also four-year letterwinners for the Spartans.

Allen earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors this past season, bouncing back after missing almost the entirety of the 2020 season due to a foot injury. He started all 13 games at center for Michigan State in 2021, playing a total of 609 snaps.

He was an integral part of an offensive line that was a semifinalist for the Joe Moore Award, given annually to the nation's best O-line. The Spartans' offensive line also helped tailback Kenneth Walker III win the Doak Walker and Walter Camp awards. Allen played in 44 career games at MSU, including 31 starts at center.

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With the Giants, Matt will have the opportunity to pursue an NFL career, like his brothers before him. Jack Allen played just one professional season in 2016 with the New Orleans Saints, while Brian Allen was a fourth-round draft selection by the Los Angeles Rams in 2018, and recently won a Super Bowl in 2021 as the franchise's starting center.

Russo, meanwhile, came to East Lansing as a graduate transfer from Temple in 2021, but only played in two games for the Spartans this past season. The graduate senior went a combined 7-for-9 for 43 yards in action against Youngstown State and Ohio State, playing a total of 23 snaps.

This came after playing in 31 games as an undergrad at Temple, with 26 career starts. Over his collegiate career, Russo completed 60 percent of his passes (543-of-908) for 6,330 yards, 44 touchdowns and 32 interceptions.

Russo finished his career at Temple among the school’s all-time leaders in passing yards (third with 6,292 yards), passing touchdowns (third with 44) and completions (third with 536). He had the third- and fourth-most single-game passing yards in Owls history with 444 yards at UCF in 2018 and 409 yards vs. Bucknell in 2019.

He'll have a battle on his hands to make the roster in Carolina, as incumbent starter Sam Darnold returns to the Panthers. The organization also drafted Ole Miss' quarterback Matt Corral in the 2022 NFL Draft, and backup P.J. Walker remains on Carolina's roster as well.