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 Draft Scout College Football Player News: Michigan State
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  SEPT 20 BIG TEN CO-OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Payton Thorne, Michigan State, QB - So. - Naperville, Ill. - Naperville Central (Ill.),...Completed 18 of 31 attempts (.581 pct.) for 261 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Spartans to a 38-17 win over No. 24 Miami (Fla.)...With Michigan State holding a 10-7 lead at halftime, helped the Spartans pull away with three touchdown passes in the second half, including two in the fourth quarter...Joined Connor Cook (2015 vs. Indiana and Nebraska) as the only quarterbacks in Michigan State history to throw four touchdowns in back-to-back games...Earns the first Offensive Player of the Week accolade of his career...Last Michigan State Offensive Player of the Week: Kenneth Walker III (Sept. 6, 2021). - Big Ten Football

(DS#10 QB) rSo/2024 QB Payton ThorneMichigan State
News Source: Big Ten Football
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  The move to Michigan State has been a career booster for Kenneth Walker III, who leads the nation in rushing through his first three games with the Spartans. Walker has had his two highest rushing totals as a collegian since transferring from Wake Forest in January. He's averaging 164.3 yards per game after running for 172 yards on 27 carries in the Spartans' 38-17 win at Miami on Saturday. The 5-foot-10, 210-pound junior generated 114 of his yards after contact and forced 20 missed tackles against the Hurricanes, according to Pro Football Focus. Walker averaged 72.4 yards per game last season to rank 72nd nationally. - AP College Football

(DS#3 RB) Jr/2023 RB Kenneth Walker IIIMichigan State
News Source: AP College Football
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  Payton Thorne passed for 261 yards and four touchdowns, two of those scoring throws going to Jalen Nailor, and Michigan State extended its unbeaten start by topping No. 24 Miami 38-17 on Saturday. Kenneth Walker III rushed for 172 yards and caught a touchdown pass for the Spartans (3-0), who are off to their best start since 2015. Jayden Reed also had a scoring catch and a touchdown run for Michigan State, which forced Miami quarterback D'Eriq King into four turnovers. King was 38 of 59 passing - both of them Miami school records - for 388 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Charleston Rambo tied a school record with 12 catches for Miami, good for 156 yards and both of the Hurricanes' touchdowns. Andres Borregales kicked a 55-yard field goal - matching the fourth-longest in school history - for the Hurricanes midway through the fourth, getting them within a touchdown. Thorne didn't need long to end their hopes, coming up big with his legs as well on what became the game-sealing drive. He got 22 yards up the middle on third-and-6 and then fell forward barely far enough - maybe by a chain link, two at the most - on fourth-and-1 with 4:25 left to extend the series. - Michigan State/AP College Football


(DS#10 QB) rSo/2024 QB Payton ThorneMichigan State
News Source: Michigan State/AP College Football
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  Payton Thorne threw for four touchdowns, including two long strikes to Jayden Reed, and ran for another score as Michigan State rolled to a 42-14 victory over Youngstown State on Saturday. Thorne connected with Reed on Michigan State's first play from scrimmage, the second straight game in which the Spartans scored from 75-yards out on its opening play. They also combined on an 85-yard score during the second quarter. Thorne completed 15-of-21 passes for 280 yards. The duo built chemistry long ago. They were high school teammates at Naperville (Ill.) Central. "We've had a ton of those plays and those aren't going to be the last two," Thorne said. "We're just going to keep building. It's crazy how things have ended up and today was pretty cool." Reed caught four passes for 181 yards, while Jordon Simmons rushed for 140 yards on 19 carries for the Spartans (2-0), who led 35-7 at halftime.

Demeatric Crenshaw rushed for 69 yards on 18 carries and a touchdown for the Penguins (1-1). Kenneth Walker III scored on a 75-yard run on the first play from scrimmage in the Spartans' season-opening victory at Northwestern. This time, he took a handoff and pitched it back to Thorne on a flea flicker. Reed caught the ball at the Penguins' 37 and raced into the end zone on the 75-yard score. "I wish we could score every play on the first play," Reed said. "We did it last week and this week. That's the standard, so we're going to make that the goal for next week as well." - Michigan State/AP College Football


(DS#10 QB) rSo/2024 QB Payton ThorneMichigan State
News Source: Michigan State/AP College Football
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  SEPT 6 BIG TEN OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Kenneth Walker III, Michigan State, RB - Jr. - Arlington, Tenn. - Arlington (Tenn.),...Rushed for a career-high 264 yards and a career-high four touchdowns on 23 carries (11.47 avg.) in Michigan State's 38-21 win at Northwestern. His 264 yards rushing marked the seventh-highest single-game total in Michigan State history and his four rushing touchdowns were the most by a Spartan since Edwin Baker rushed for four touchdowns vs. Minnesota in 2010. Became just the seventh player in the Big Ten since 2000 to register more than 260 yards rushing and four-plus touchdowns and the first player to do so since Melvin Gordon ran for 408 yards and four touchdowns vs. Nebraska in 2014...Sprinted for a 75-yard touchdown on the game's first play from scrimmage to give Michigan State a 7-0 lead. Also added touchdowns of 3, 5 and 6 yards...His 264 yards mark the highest single-game rushing yardage total by any player in the FBS through Week 1...Earns his first career Offensive Player of the Week award...Last Michigan State Offensive Player of the Week: Felton Davis III (Oct. 2, 2017). - Big Ten Football

(DS#3 RB) Jr/2023 RB Kenneth Walker IIIMichigan State
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  Michigan State's Kenneth Walker III turned in the best rushing performance in a season opener in seven years when he went for a career-high 264 yards against Northwestern. Walker's total in the Spartans' 38-21 win Friday was the highest in an opener since South Florida's Marlon Mack went for 275 yards against Western Carolina in 2014. Walker had the highest rushing total in an opener against a fellow Football Bowl Subdivision opponent since West Virginia's Kay-Jay Harris ran for 337 yards against East Carolina in 2004.

Walker had a 75-yard touchdown run on Michigan State's first play from scrimmage, and his four rushing TDs were the most by a Spartan since 2010. The Wake Forest transfer was the first MSU player to go over 200 yards since Le'Veon Bell had 266 against Minnesota in 2012. Three other players had 200-yard games in Week 1: Duke's Mataeo Durant had a school-record 255 in a loss to Charlotte, North Texas' DeAndre Torrey had a career-high 244 against Northwestern State, and Missouri's Tyler Badie had a career-high 203 against Central Michigan. - AP College Football


(DS#3 RB) Jr/2023 RB Kenneth Walker IIIMichigan State
News Source: AP College Football
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  Kenneth Walker III ran for a career-high 264 yards and a personal-best four touchdowns in an impressive debut with his new team, and Michigan State beat Northwestern 38-21 in the season opener on Friday night. Walker finished with the highest total for Michigan State since Le'Veon Bell ran for 266 against Minnesota on Nov. 24, 2012. His previous best was 131 yards for Wake Forest in a loss to North Carolina State last season. He never ran for more than three TDs in two years with the Demon Deacons. Walker set the tone in this one when he broke off a 75-yard touchdown on the game's first play from scrimmage and scored from the 3 on the next possession to make it 14-0. - Michigan State/AP College Football

(DS#3 RB) Jr/2023 RB Kenneth Walker IIIMichigan State
News Source: Michigan State/AP College Football
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  08/26/21 - Ricky WhiteSo/2024, Michigan State, 6-1, 185 (DS#999 WR) + More +

  The star of Michigan State football's biggest win last season is not currently with the team. Coach Mel Tucker on Tuesday said redshirt freshman Ricky White and freshman defensive back Michael Gravely "are not participating in team activities at this point." Tucker did not elaborate on why. While both players remain on the roster, neither was on the field at Monday night's "Meet the Spartans" event and have not been spotted during open portions of preseason camp or during the April 24 open spring practice. White, a 6-foot-1 and 185-pound wide receiver, played 166 snaps in four games with three starts last season, finishing with 10 catches for 223 yards and a touchdown. Eight of his catches went for a first down or a TD. - Lansing State Journal

(DS#999 WR) So/2024 WR Ricky WhiteMichigan State
News Source: Lansing State Journal
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  Meet the new Dashaun Mallory. Not the hulking Michigan State football defensive tackle of the past three years - the sleeker version, who might as well be counted as one of the Spartans' numerous newcomers considering his transformation since last season. He didn't realize how much his body had changed until, 80 pounds later, he looked at before-and-after pictures. "I see myself every day, so I didn't realize that dramatic change like that until I took the after picture," Mallory said Thursday. "But honestly, I took it personal. The coaches always say, 'Do your job and good things will come.' I knew after the season last year, I didn't really feel like myself."

Mallory and his teammates, old and new, will be on display Monday night inside Spartan Stadium for the return of Meet the Spartans. The pandemic halted the annual event a year ago, and it altered this year's version. Instead of photos, autographs and actually getting to meet players, coach Mel Tucker will hold a 90-minute light practice; it'll be the first chance for the general public to watch MSU in person since December 2019's Pinstripe Bowl. - Lansing State Journal


(DS#999 DT) rJr/2023 DT Dashaun MalloryMichigan State
News Source: Lansing State Journal
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  There can only be one quarterback, typically, but Michigan State football's backfield has another ongoing position battle that may continue all season. And Harold Joiner III stands head and shoulders above the rest of his fellow running backs. At least in terms of size. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound Auburn transfer is competing with incumbent starter Jordon Simmons, 2019 starter Elijah Collins and Wake Forest transfer Kenneth Walker III for carries in a crowded competition. "I really liked what Harold Joiner did in (Saturday's) scrimmage," MSU coach Mel Tucker said Tuesday. "He was able to get his pads down and run with some authority. And he's got excellent ball skills out of the backfield." Joiner is significantly bigger than the other three he is competing with, with more of a tight end or linebacker body than a traditional running back.

Walker is 5-10 and 210 pounds, Simmons is 5-11 195, and Collins is 6-1 225. A fifth player, Connor Heyward, is shifting into more of an H-back hybrid role and is 6-foot and 230 pounds. MSU offensive coordinator Jay Johnson feels despite Joiner's size, the junior from Birmingham, Alabama, can give MSU's offense additional versatility in the running and passing attacks. "He's long, he can run and he's shown good ball skills to this point. So I think you could move him in a lot of different areas," Johnson said. "And we've tried to do that a little bit with him. I see him as being very multiple in use." - Lansing State Journal


(DS#999 FB) rJr/2023 FB Harold JoinerMichigan State
News Source: Lansing State Journal
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  08/22/21 - Jarrett HorstSr/2022, Michigan State, 6-5, 305 (DS#15 OT) + More +

  There is a reasonable argument to be made that the single most important Michigan State football player of the last decade is Jack Conklin. The Spartans went 36-5 in the three seasons he was their left tackle, sealing the edge, protecting Connor Cook's blind side. They're 29-29 since. They haven't had a consistent push up front or adequately protected the quarterback on a regular basis post-Conklin. The numbers beyond their record are just as telling and, recently, grim. And, thus, there again is a reasonable argument that an offensive lineman is the most important player on this MSU football team - at least the most important newcomer. That player is Arkansas State transfer Jarrett Horst, a senior from suburban Madison, Wisconsin, who was an All-Sun Belt Conference left tackle last season.

"He's got an intensity to him. He's got this will to finish that not a lot of people have," MSU offensive line coach and run-game coordinator Chris Kapilovic said this past week. "...He brings something to the table that we were really counting on." Like a true, bona fide tackle, with a mean streak. Rather than an offensive guard playing out of position, like has so often occurred on at least one side of the line over the last few seasons. Horst and returning tackle A.J. Arcuri give the Spartans two true tackles with loads of experience. - Lansing State Journal


(DS#15 OT) Sr/2022 OT Jarrett HorstMichigan State
News Source: Lansing State Journal
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  08/21/21 - Jalen NailorrJr/2023, Michigan State, 6-0, 190 (DS#30 WR) + More +

  The first time Jalen Nailor ever ran a double move is still seared into the memories at Bishop Gorman High School. It was his sophomore season, his first on varsity at one of the nation's powerhouse programs, located in Las Vegas. A quiet kid lined up out wide in a team drill as the ball snapped. He moved like a blur. Up the seam, diagonally to the sidelines and then back across the middle, Nailor made three motions look like one. "He runs that route like I've never seen," said former Bishop Gorman offensive coordinator Louie Rodriguez, who is now a head coach in Texas. "Running a corner-post route in the middle of the field at full speed is unstoppable...how he transitions his feet and his body to do it full-speed. It's unfair to the DB." On 28 different occasions over the next three years, Nailor took the ball and outraced everyone to the end zone. He was the go-to receiver on a team won the state championship all three seasons. Over time, the people watching gave him a nickname: Speedy.

The name has stuck more than five years later, now that he's two time zones away. Now a redshirt sophomore, Nailor is the top returning weapon for a Michigan State offense hoping to become explosive. It's the feeling they get when they watch Nailor run. "Jalen Nailor, that's a guy," fellow starting receiver Jayden Reed said. "When I watch him, I try to model stuff he does and try to add it to my game. I look up to Jalen as a receiver because he can do a lot of stuff that I can't." - Lansing State Journal


(DS#30 WR) rJr/2023 WR Jalen NailorMichigan State
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  When Kenneth Walker III entered the transfer portal this spring and Michigan State coaches contacted him, they spoke about the future by also relating it to the past. Walker was at Wake Forest back then, fresh off two seasons in which he ran for 17 touchdowns. That's 17 more than any Michigan State running back managed in Mel Tucker's first season last fall. Tucker and the Spartans coaches wanted him to help fix it, to get the backfield back to the way it used to be. "They were telling me a lot about how we run the ball here, how things are here," Walker said. "Not even just on the field but the fans and everything and the culture here." On Thursday, Walker beamed as he spoke of the opportunity in front of him now. It was the first day of fall camp at Michigan State, the first of relative normalcy for Tucker after all the starts and stops of last year.

Last year's 2-5 season served as a feeling-out process for a new coach and an inherited roster. More than 20 players transferred out, and Tucker went to the recruiting trail and transfer portal to hand-select skill sets and personalities to build around. Walker was one of his top choices. "He was a great addition," Tucker said. "We saw him in the spring. He's a difference-maker. He's picked up where he left off." After rushing for exactly 579 yards each of the past two seasons on 5.3 yards per carry, Walker is the favorite to take a bulk of the carries in a backfield that features returning players Elijah Collins, Connor Heyward and Jordon Simmons as well as Auburn transfer Harold Joiner. - Lansing State Journal


(DS#3 RB) Jr/2023 RB Kenneth Walker IIIMichigan State
News Source: Lansing State Journal
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  With all of the changes to Michigan State's roster during the offseason, the biggest question of the spring will still be unanswered when preseason camp begins: Who will be the Spartans' starting quarterback when they travel to Northwestern on Sept. 3 to open the season? "I feel good about the competition that we have," coach Mel Tucker said Friday during the Big Ten media days. "It's open, it's an open competition. We have capable quarterbacks that all have different skill sets. But it's going to be competitive." Tucker did not tip his hand as to whether sophomore Payton Thorne or Temple graduate transfer Anthony Russo might have the edge to replace 2020 starter Rocky Lombardi, who transferred to Northern Illinois. He likely won't know until MSU opens preseason camp Aug. 5.

"It's really close. Really close," junior wide receiver Jalen Nailor said. "Neck and neck." Thorne started in place of an injured Lombardi in MSU's last game of 2020, going 22-for-39 with three touchdowns and one interception in a 39-24 loss at Penn State. Overall, the 6-foot-2, 210-pound Naperville, Illinois, native played in four games, completing 48 of 85 passes for 582 yards with three TDs and three interceptions. He also ran 25 times for 47 yards and a TD. Russo, who started 26 games over the past three seasons at Temple, played just three games in 2020 before a shoulder injury and COVID-19 halted his season. - Lansing State Journal


(DS#26 QB) rSr/2022 QB Anthony RussoMichigan State
News Source: Lansing State Journal
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  MSU added a new tight end in May, one that pleased Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren. It was his son, Powers Warren. The younger Warren, a redshirt junior at Mississippi State last fall, entered the NCAA transfer portal in November after not playing for first-year Bulldogs coach Mike Leach. Powers Warren, standing 6 feet 3, 245 pounds , played in one game in 2019 and five in 2018. Kevin Warren on Thursday said his son has two years of eligibility remaining at Michigan State, where he will be a graduate student. Powers Warren is a preferred walk-on. - Lansing State Journal

(DS#999 TE) rSr/2022 TE Powers WarrenMichigan State
News Source: Lansing State Journal
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