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 Draft Scout College Football Player News: Michigan State
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  Brian Lewerke didn't get drafted, but the former Michigan State quarterback might have landed in just the right spot. Getting selected in the NFL's seven-round draft was coin flip for the Spartans' career leader in total yards, and when Lewerke's name wasn't called, the expectation was he would land a free-agent deal. Two days after the draft, that deal came as Lewerke signed with the New England Patriots. "I'm not disappointed that he's a free agent and didn't get drafted," said Mike Giovando, an Arizona-based quarterback coach who has worked with Lewerke for the bulk of his career. "And he's the same way. He's happy he's got a chance.

"He's a great quarterback who's gonna learn his playbook, and I think there are going to be some other things they're going to see that they like. And when they get him out there and watch him throw it, they're gonna be like, 'He can spin it. He can spin it.' He can throw it and he can move it around the field. And when he gets in a game, he's kind of a gamer, man. When he gets in the game and chips are on the line and when he's healthy and feeling he's tough to deal with. He's a good player, a really good player." Lewerke flashed plenty of that talent as a three-year starter at Michigan State, primarily in his sophomore season when he threw for more than 2,700 yards and 20 touchdowns while running for more than 500 yards and five more scores as the Spartans won 10 games. - Detroit News


(DS#14 QB) rSr/2020 QB Brian LewerkeMichigan State
News Source: Detroit News
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  04/29/20 - Naquan JonesrSr/2021, Michigan State, 6-3, 339 (DS#7 DT) + More +

  As Michigan State's defensive line coach, Burton will be tasked with attempting to replace three of four starters, including one who was taken in last weekend's NFL Draft. The middle of the defensive line seems most equipped to keep on moving without skipping a beat. Naquan Jones is entering his fifth year in the program and has been one of the primary backups in the interior of the line. He's played in 13 games in each of the past three seasons and earned his first career start in 2019. Jacob Slade was also in the rotation as a redshirt freshman. He played in all 13 games and played 262 snaps, recording 14 tackles, including 2.5 for losses and a sack. He had two tackles for loss and his first career sack in the win over Wake Forest in the Pinstripe Bowl. "Naquan Jones has been an experienced player for the last four years with an opportunity to really flourish with multiple more starts," Burton said. "He has been a great person in the classroom with the guys. He has been more vocal; he's very energetic. He'll double his snaps but he is a leader right now in the defensive tackle room. - Detroit News

(DS#7 DT) rSr/2021 DT Naquan JonesMichigan State
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  No, Brian Lewerke didn't get picked in the 2020 NFL draft. But as an undrafted free agent, he will now go learn under one of the great coaches in football history. The former Michigan State football quarterback agreed to terms with the New England Patriots, led by six-time Super Bowl-winning coach Bill Belichick. Of course, those Super Bowls came with Tom Brady at quarterback. Now, the longtime Patriot is in Tampa Bay. Now at QB for the Pats is Jarrett Stidham, drafted last year, and another former Spartan, Brian Hoyer, back for another stint under Belichick. Lewerke, a 6-foot-3, 216-pounder, threw for 3,079 yards, 17 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 2019. That came after a disappointing junior season, when he had 2.040 yards passing, eight touchdowns and 11 interceptions. His sophomore year offered some promise when he threw for 2,793 yards and 20 touchdowns and ran for another 559 and five scores. - Lansing State Journal

(DS#14 QB) rSr/2020 QB Brian LewerkeMichigan State
News Source: Lansing State Journal
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  Lewerke thinks he did well to answer some of the critics at the NFL Combine where he says he played well and "killed it" in the interviews. Still, as the draft nears, there are questions. Some are legitimate, others are odd. More than one analyst has questioned his athleticism, a bit strange considering Lewerke ran for 1,255 yards in his career. "I don't really get that either," Lewerke said. "Maybe people just base it off my 40 times out of the combine where I didn't run very well, and they see 4.95 and say, 'This guy must not be fast.' But I had 1,000 yards rushing and I was pulling away from guys on long touchdown runs. So if you watch the film, you'll definitely see that I'm an athletic dude. That's definitely something I hope to bring to the table for a team."

In the meantime, Lewerke is back home with his parents in Phoenix. Things aren't as strict as they are in Michigan and he's been able to continue throwing with receivers while doing his best to come up with weights for workouts around the house. He's also keeping in contact with a handful of NFL teams through Zoom meetings, Facetime or traditional phone calls. He hopes one of those teams pulls the trigger and drafts him, though he isn't making any predictions. "I don't know. I really have no idea," Lewerke said. "That's kind of what my agent was saying, is that when he talks to teams, there's teams that really like me or a team that doesn't even want to look at me at all. So it's kind of in between, depending on what team you talk to, but it is a little weird not knowing really at all where I'm gonna go." - Detroit News


(DS#14 QB) rSr/2020 QB Brian LewerkeMichigan State
News Source: Detroit News
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  New Michigan State football assistant coach Will Peagler spent plenty of time watching film of his running backs. All the way back to their high school tape. And the athletic ability he saw from returning starter Elijah Collins impressed him. "The thing that stood out to me is how much weight, how much bigger and thicker he's gotten over the last year and during the season," Peagler said Wednesday. "You could see him get better over the portion of the year, and I think that's a credit to him taking care of his body and doing the right things off the field." Collins took over the starting job two games into his redshirt freshman season and finished just shy of MSU's first 1,000-yard season since 2014, rushing for 988 yards and five TDs on 222 carries.

"The first thing that stands out to me about him is he's a phenomenal kid, and he works his butt off," Peagler said. "When kids work their butt off and they have talent, good things are going to happen. And I think he's a perfect example of that." Peagler said he had Collins and junior Connor Heyward in a recent position meeting over video conference teach the rest of the running backs about the blocking responsibilities he wants from the position. And the 34-year-old Peagler believes his players "are one of the better groups that's here on the football team." - Lansing State Journal


(DS#12 RB) rSo/2023 RB Elijah CollinsMichigan State
News Source: Lansing State Journal
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  04/15/20 - Brian AllenSr/2018, Michigan State, 6-1, 298 (DS#7 C) + More +

  A report late Wednesday night said former Michigan State center Brian Allen is the first NFL player to test positive for the coronavirus. Allen is a member of the Los Angeles Rams and first tested positive for COVID-19 three weeks ago, according to Fox Football Now. Fox Sports reporter Jay Glazer said Allen is still dealing with the loss of taste and smell, but the Hinsdale, Illinois, native expects to be cleared next Thursday by doctors. A spokesman for the Rams confirmed the diagnosis to USA TODAY Sports. Allen did not immediately return a message from the Free Press. He started the first nine games last season for the Rams before suffering a season-ending knee injury in November. His brother, current MSU senior center Matt Allen, said March 30 that Brian remained in Los Angeles to continue rehabbing that injury. Matt Allen said he and their oldest brother, former MSU center Jack Allen, were staying at their parents house in Illinois and working out together. - Lansing State Journal

(DS#7 C) Sr/2018 C Brian AllenMichigan State
News Source: Lansing State Journal
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  04/09/20 - Matt DotsonSr/2021, Michigan State, 6-5, 252 (DS#24 TE) + More +

  Michigan State football tight ends coach Ted Gilmore should be able to teach his position group a few new tricks after serving as a wide receivers coach for 24 of his 25 years in the business. Since Josiah Price finished his career in 2016, the tight ends have seen a decrease in receptions, yards and touchdowns. Although Matt Seybert impressed with 284 yards and three touchdowns in 2019, he has exhausted his eligibility. "We're going to put a lot on those guys, not just in the pass game but the run game," Gilmore said Thursday in a teleconference. "It has to be a selfless group of men. I can't really speak to the room right now, because we haven't been able to do anything on the field."

Gilmore is unsure if Matt Dotson has fully recovered from his torn Achilles sustained in early November against Illinois but said he's an "important piece to the puzzle." He's looking forward to the progression of Trenton Gillison, who made four receptions for 88 yards in the Pinstripe Bowl. "I hope that left a taste in his mouth of wanting to pick up where he left off," Gilmore said. "My expectation with him is we don't have time to start all over. I talk to him about how body language reflects confidence. The minute we can start this thing, I expect him to hit the ground running and not take any steps back." - Lansing State Journal


(DS#24 TE) Sr/2021 TE Matt DotsonMichigan State
News Source: Lansing State Journal
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  Jay Johnson is still getting to know Michigan State football's offensive personnel. However, he knows where he wants one player - Connor Heyward - to be . Johnson, the offensive coordinator under new coach Mel Tucker, said he expects Heyward to return to the Spartans as a running back. Heyward played in four games last season before entering the NCAA transfer portal, then withdrew his name and announced he would return to MSU for his final two years of eligibility. "Right now my intent is Connor to be a running back unless it would tell me different at a later date," Johnson said on a conference call Wednesday. "But certainly going into this, we're glad that he's back and I anticipate him being a running back."

The 6-foot, 233-pound son of former NFL running back Craig "Ironhead" Heyward opened the season as the Spartans' No. 1 running back and had 79 rushing yards on 24 carries and seven catches for 52 yards and a TD in his four games in 2019. As a sophomore in 2018, Heyward started eight games and led the Spartans with 529 yards and five rushing TDs on 118 carries. Because he played only four games in 2019 and still had a redshirt season available, he will be a junior in 2020. - Lansing State Journal


(DS#31 RB) rJr/2022 RB Connor HeywardMichigan State
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  03/17/20 - Matt SeybertrSr/2020, Michigan State, 6-4, 252 (DS#42 TE) + More +

  When news started to trickle out last week that schools were canceling their pro days, Seybert even made a plea on Twitter, saying he'd go through drills in a hazmat suit. The frustration was clear, and it was understandable coming from Seybert. He didn't get an invite to the NFL Combine like seven of his teammates did, and after suffering an MCL sprain in preparation for the Pinstripe Bowl in late December, he was unable to play in any of the all-star games to help put on a show for the scouts. So pro day was Seybert's big day, one he was looking forward to after watching many of the workouts from the Combine on television. "Having to sit at home, watching the tight ends going through the combine knowing that...I personally believe that I should have been there with a chip on my shoulder. Just like thinking to myself that some of the guys in the combine had less receptions and stuff like that than me, and so it just naturally created a chip on my shoulder. So, I was looking forward to turning some heads on this pro day and for it to be canceled was really frustrating."

Seybert is used to taking the road less traveled, so finding another way to impress scouts might work out OK for the Traverse City native. After redshirting his first season at Buffalo, Seybert decided he wanted to pursue his dream of playing at Michigan State, transferring in as a walk-on. He sat out 2016 after the transfer and appeared in only eight games over the next two seasons, primarily on special teams. - Detroit News


(DS#42 TE) rSr/2020 TE Matt SeybertMichigan State
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  2020 NFL COMBINE INVITE: Kenny Willekes, DE, Michigan State,...Willekes is Michigan State's all-time leader in tackles for loss with 51 and also ranks third at MSU with 26 sacks. As a junior in 2018, he earned first-team All-America honors from The Athletic and was named the Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year after leading the league with 20.5 tackles for loss. He picked up second-team All-America accolades from the Walter Camp Football Foundation in 2019 and won the Burlsworth Trophy for the nation's most outstanding player who began college as a walk-on. - Michigan State Football

(DS#16 DE) Sr/2020 DE Kenny WillekesMichigan State
News Source: Michigan State Football
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  03/01/20 - Joe BachieSr/2020, Michigan State, 6-1, 230 (DS#9 ILB) + More +

  2020 NFL COMBINE INVITE: Joe Bachie, ILB, Michigan State,...A two-time team captain and three-year starting middle linebacker, Bachie played in 40 career games with the Spartans, including 34 starts. He finished his career ranked 20th in MSU history in tackles for loss with 27.5 and 22nd in tackles with 285. Bachie was named team MVP as a sophomore after leading the Spartans with 100 tackles and was a first-team All-Big Ten selection as a junior. - Michigan State Football

(DS#9 ILB) Sr/2020 ILB Joe BachieMichigan State
News Source: Michigan State Football
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  2020 NFL COMBINE INVITE: Darrell Stewart Jr., WR, Michigan State,...Stewart (6-0, 212 pounds), who missed the last four games of the regular season with a leg injury but returned in limited action at the Pinstripe Bowl, was back in action at the NFL Combine. He recorded 15 reps on the bench press and had a vertical jump of 35 inches and a broad jump of 117 inches. The Houston, Texas, native had 150 receptions during his Spartan career, third most in school history. - Michigan State Football

(DS#57 WR) rSr/2020 WR Darrell Stewart Jr.Michigan State
News Source: Michigan State Football
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  03/01/20 - *Cody WhiteJr/2020, Michigan State, 6-3, 217 (DS#48 WR) + More +

  2020 NFL COMBINE INVITE: Cody White, WR, Michigan State,...White, a three-year letterwinner, closed his career ranked seventh in MSU history with 143 receptions, 12th with 1,967 receiving yards, and tied for 16th with 12 TD catches. - Michigan State Football

(DS#48 WR) Jr/2020 WR *Cody WhiteMichigan State
News Source: Michigan State Football
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  03/01/20 - *Josiah ScottJr/2020, Michigan State, 5-09, 185 (DS#31 CB) + More +

  2020 NFL COMBINE INVITE: Josiah Scott, CB, Michigan State,...A three-year letterwinner who played in 30 collegiate games, all starting assignments at cornerback, Scott closed his Spartan career ranked tied for 12th in MSU history with 32 passes defended (seven interceptions, 25 pass break-ups). He elected to forgo his senior season to enter the 2020 NFL Draft. - Michigan State Football

(DS#31 CB) Jr/2020 CB *Josiah ScottMichigan State
News Source: Michigan State Football
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  2020 NFL COMBINE INVITE: Raequan Williams, DT, Michigan State,...A two-time first-team Associated Press All-Big Ten honoree, Williams started 42 consecutive games to close out his career, the longest streak of any position player in the 13-year Mark Dantonio era. He finished his career with 29 tackles for loss, good for 16th most in Spartan history. - Michigan State Football

(DS#18 DT) rSr/2020 DT Raequan WilliamsMichigan State
News Source: Michigan State Football
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