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 Draft Scout College Football Player News: Michigan State
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  11/27/20 - Naquan JonesrSr/2021, Michigan State, 6-3, 340 (DS#12 DT) + More +

  Now in his fifth year in the program, odds are Jones doesn't take advantage of the free season of eligibility and heads to the NFL Draft in the spring. He's likely to get selected, and until then, Tucker and his staff will do all they can to help Jones get there. "Naquan is a young man I've spent quite bit of time with, one-on-one, you know just talking to him," Tucker said. "And Coach (Ron) Burton does an outstanding job coaching him and has a good relationship with him. You know, Naquan, he's a people person and he's obviously a big guy that's got tremendous talent. For his size he moves very well, has got initial quickness, and he's a guy that can do a lot of things. "What I talk to him about is consistency and performance. That's how you become successful. It's day-in and day-out, in practice, the weight room, all those things and you carry it over into the game. "He wants to be a good player, he wants to be a consistent player, and I see him working towards that and we're helping him do that." - Detroit News

(DS#12 DT) rSr/2021 DT Naquan JonesMichigan State
News Source: Detroit News
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  11/27/20 - Naquan JonesrSr/2021, Michigan State, 6-3, 340 (DS#12 DT) + More +

  Michigan State football's Naquan Jones said he had COVID-19 and has recovered. The senior defensive tackle is the second Spartan athlete to announce contracting the coronavirus, and Jones said it has had a ripple effect across his family. Offensive lineman Matt Carrick told The Canton Repository in August he had COVID-19 in July. "I've lost family members to COVID, and that's something that my family takes very serious…," Jones said Tuesday. "It was very stressful for my family, so I did have a few concerns. But at the end of the day, I love to play football. MSU was doing a great job with their safety measures, and I felt safe. So that thought kind of comes out of my head."

Jones said he was affected by COVID-19 shortly before the season began and experienced minor symptoms, including the loss of smell for two days before he "felt perfectly fine" again. He said he went and ran in an open field near his apartment to remain in shape while sitting out 14 days before returning to the team. "I went to go run with a mask on, and do what I could do outside, not being around people to spread COVID obviously," Jones said. "But I wanted to stay in a decent amount of shape before I had to go put pads on to play a game." - Lansing State Journal


(DS#12 DT) rSr/2021 DT Naquan JonesMichigan State
News Source: Lansing State Journal
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  For the second time this week, a Michigan State football player has entered the NCAA transfer portal. This time it is sophomore running back Anthony Williams Jr. Williams has played only 12 snaps this season after he appeared in a dozen games as a freshman, when he ranked third on the team in rushing with 118 yards on 38 attempts. Last Saturday, in a 24-0 loss to Indiana, he lost a fumble on his only carry. The former three-star recruit from Chicago becomes the second player in the last three days to explore a move to another school, following linebacker Marcel Lewis into the transfer portal. - Lansing State Journal

(DS#999 RB) So/2023 RB Anthony Williams Jr.Michigan State
News Source: Lansing State Journal
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  With opt-outs of top players around the country, Simmons continues to make an impression on the field. The senior posted a career-high 14 tackles against the Hoosiers' speed spread offense. It is his effort and leadership in an otherwise lost season that will stand out to pro scouts come April's NFL draft. - Lansing State Journal

(DS#26 OLB) Sr/2021 OLB Antjuan SimmonsMichigan State
News Source: Lansing State Journal
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  Michigan State linebacker Marcel Lewis has entered the transfer portal, the program confirmed Monday. The redshirt freshman opted out of the 2020 season back on Aug. 8, only to change his mind and opt back in just before the Big Ten announced an eight-game season. Lewis was not dressed for any of Michigan State's first four games this season after he appeared in three games in 2019 as a true freshman. The former three-star prospect from Chippewa Valley is the first Michigan State player to enter the portal this season.

Lewis was one of four Michigan State players to opt out of the season before the Big Ten originally pulled the plug on Aug. 11. Also choosing to not play were senior defensive end Jacub Panasiuk, senior offensive lineman Jordan Reid and freshman offensive lineman Justin Stevens. Panasiuk opted back in at the start of preseason camp and has started all four games while Reid and Stevens have remained out. - Detroit News


(DS#999 OLB) rFr/2024 OLB Marcel LewisMichigan State
News Source: Detroit News
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  Rocky Lombardi is still the quarterback who lit up Michigan one deep ball after another. He's also the quarterback who's thrown five interceptions and been as off the mark as he is on it in MSU's other two games - losses to Rutgers and Iowa by the combined score of 87-34. This was a dreadful homecoming for the kid from Des Moines - 17-for-37 for 227 yards and three INTs. He feels worse about it than you do, I promise. He deserves more time to figure out if he's the guy, to figure out where his truth is as a quarterback. But what seemed like a certainty before Saturday no longer is. - Lansing State Journal

(DS#17 QB) rJr/2022 QB Rocky LombardiMichigan State
News Source: Lansing State Journal
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  Watching from the press box live on Saturday, Antjuan Simmons stood out. Watching the replay of the television broadcast, he was even better. His batted pass in the end zone late in the second quarter is arguably the play of the game. He recognized what was coming and had the athleticism to get close enough to the throw to tip it away. That was a four-point swing in what turned out to be a three-point win. Simmons was in on a number of consequential defensive plays, both against the run and even in pass coverage against a tight end. He wasn't alone in setting the tone, however. That first defensive stand by MSU's defensive line - with Jacub Panasiuk coming through unblocked to stop the run, Naquan Jones diving at Joe Milton's ankles and then Panasiuk again coming through the middle for the pressure and to force a punt. That's the moment. Right there, it was clear the Spartans were in the fight and weren't going to be steamrolled by Michigan. - Lansing State Journal

(DS#26 OLB) Sr/2021 OLB Antjuan SimmonsMichigan State
News Source: Lansing State Journal
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  The Spartans' upset turned plenty of heads nationally. And the weekly awards poured in Monday. MSU was named National Team of the Week by the the Football Writers Association of America, the eighth time it has received the award and the first since shocking No. 2 Ohio State on the road in 2015 with backup quarterbacks Tyler O'Connor and Damion Terry in place of injured starter Connor Cook. Lombardi was named to to the Manning Award Stars of the Week and the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award's Great 8 list. He went 17 of 32 for a career-high 323 yards, throwing three touchdowns with no interceptions. - Lansing State Journal

(DS#17 QB) rJr/2022 QB Rocky LombardiMichigan State
News Source: Lansing State Journal
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  11/03/20 - Ricky WhiteFr/2024, Michigan State, 6-1, 175 (DS#25 WR) + More +

  Rocky to Ricky. Over and over. A star was born. A quarterback validated. And Michigan State football pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the history of the 113-game rivalry against Michigan, a 27-24 victory Saturday that Rocky Lombardi and Ricky White dominated from start to finish. White, a 6-foot-1, 175-pound true freshman from Marietta, Georgia, caught eight passes for 196 yards, the seventh-highest single-game total in MSU history, and the second-most against the Wolverines behind Plaxico Burress' 255 yards in 1999. "First, I just want to give huge credit to Rocky," White said. "He played an awesome game today, he made some great passes. All week at practice, it's been getting prepared for this game." White set an MSU freshman record, smashing the 165 yards by Cody White against Northwestern in 2017.

Ricky White - stepping into the starting lineup for an injured Tre Mosley - became an unstoppable force against No. 14 Michigan's secondary. He and Lombardi stretched the field all afternoon, starting with a 30-yard touchdown that put the Spartans on the board just over four minutes into the game. "He's done a good job in practice," said first-year coach Mel Tucker, who scouted White while at Colorado and inherited him as part of Mark Dantonio's final recruiting class. "I remember him in high school. We saw him as a player and thought that he was an outstanding player. Guys that step on the field on game day, they step on the field because of what they've done in practice. And so we've seen him make plays. We were not surprised." - Lansing State Journal


(DS#25 WR) Fr/2024 WR Ricky WhiteMichigan State
News Source: Lansing State Journal
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  11/02/20 - Ricky WhiteFr/2024, Michigan State, 6-1, 175 (DS#25 WR) + More +

  NOV 2 BIG TEN CO-FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK: Ricky White, Michigan State, WR, Marietta, Ga./Marietta,...Set a school record for a freshman with 196 receiving yards in a win at Michigan on Saturday...Caught eight passes in the contest, including a 30-yard touchdown reception to open the scoring in the first quarter...Added a 50-yard reception on Michigan State's opening possession of the second half to set up a Spartans' field goal and a 31-yard catch late in the fourth quarter to give his team first-and-goal and set up the Spartans' game-sealing touchdown...Earns his first career Freshman of the Week award...Last Michigan State Freshman of the Week: Rocky Lombardi (Oct. 29, 2018). - Big Ten football

(DS#25 WR) Fr/2024 WR Ricky WhiteMichigan State
News Source: Big Ten football
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  Rocky Lombardi threw for 323 yards, including 196 to Ricky White, and three touchdowns to help Michigan State stun No. 13 Michigan 27-24 on Saturday. The Spartans (1-1, 1-1 Big Ten) appeared to be the better team all afternoon on both sides of the ball in Mel Tucker's debut as coach in the rivalry. Tucker became just the second coach to beat Michigan in his first attempt with the Spartans, joining Alabama coach Nick Saban, who did it in 1995. The former Colorado coach started his career as a graduate assistant for Saban and the Spartans.

The Wolverines (1-1, 1-1) were favored to win by more than three touchdowns. Jim Harbaugh's team, though, never led and didn't appear to have much energy in front of family and friends in their mostly empty stadium that holds 110,000-plus fans when there isn't a pandemic. Running back Hassan Haskins scored on a 2-yard run with 37 seconds left to help Michigan pull within three points. The onside kick was recovered by Michigan State running back Connor Heyward and Lombardi converted a fourth-and-2 from the Michigan 36 with a sneak to seal the victory. Lombardi completed 17 of 32 passes and Heyward caught two of his TD passes. White, who averaged 24.5 yards on eight receptions against a shaky secondary, also scored on a catch. Michigan's Joe Milton was 32 of 51 for 300 yards and ran 12 times for 59 yards. Haskins had eight carries for 56 yards and a TD while Blake Corum ran for two scores. - Michigan State/AP College Football


(DS#17 QB) rJr/2022 QB Rocky LombardiMichigan State
News Source: Michigan State/AP College Football
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  Michigan State linebackers Luke Fulton and Charles Willekes have been suspended from the team indefinitely following their arrests last month in East Lansing. Fulton, a redshirt freshman, was arrested on Sept. 8, according to court records, and was charged with aggravated assault. East Lansing Police Department deputy chief Steve Gonzalez said Willekes was arrested as part of the same complaint but his court records are not public. "Luke Fulton and Charles Willekes were suspended from all team activities immediately, and remain suspended from the program indefinitely," Michigan State spokesman Ben Phlegar said, noting the suspensions began immediately after the arrests. On Oct. 2, Fulton pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault and battery, and according the 54B District Court records, will avoid up front jail time under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act. His sentencing his scheduled for Oct. 28. Willekes, the 6-1, 225-pound is from Grand Rapids and was a walk-on last season. He appeared in one game - against Michigan - and is the younger brother of former Michigan State All-American defensive end Kenny Willekes. - Detroit News

(DS#999 ILB) rFr/2024 ILB Charles WillekesMichigan State
News Source: Detroit News
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  Connor Heyward entered last fall as Michigan State football's starting running back. Four games into the season, he entered the transfer portal. Thus began a circuitous journey that ended with the running back remaining a Spartan. That decision came after plenty of soul-searching, conversations with a family that knows athletic success - Heywood's father was an NFL star, two of Heyward's brothers played Division I football and a third brother played Division I basketball - and a clean slate with new coach Mel Tucker. Heyward's story is one of self-observation, humility, candor, confidence and desire. To prove himself again, on and off the field. To retool himself mentally and physically. And to show his willingness to do whatever it takes to return to the good graces of MSU fans and teammates. "When the plan was for me leaving, you just don't know what you're gonna do from the next step," the fourth-year junior said on a video call Thursday night. "There was a lot of schools reaching out, and they wanted me to go there. But ultimately, my heart was still here and I felt like I had some unfinished business." - Lansing State Journal

(DS#36 RB) rJr/2022 RB Connor HeywardMichigan State
News Source: Lansing State Journal
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  MSU nearly had to start from scratch up front until senior Jacub Panasiuk reversed his August decision to opt out. The 6-4, 250-pound defensive end is MSU's only returning starter on the defensive line; he had 11 of his 34 tackles for a loss, including five sacks and six QB hurries last season. "I know this, it made us better coaches when he came back," joked Hazelton, who ran Kansas State's defense last year. "I mean, that's what you want - a guy who can rush the passer and do some things and provide a little leadership. It's just the amount of plays and the experience that he's got, just made us better by him coming back." - Lansing State Journal

(DS#34 DE) rSr/2021 DE Jacub PanasiukMichigan State
News Source: Lansing State Journal
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  One year ago this month, Elijah Collins took a handoff and ran 29 yards before he got tackled and brought Spartan Stadium to its feet. As a true freshman, he injected life into a seemingly dead Michigan State offense and followed it up often enough to finish with almost 1,000 yards rushing. In Collins' eyes, it was a decent debut. It is nowhere near the full show he wants to present in this backfield before he is finished. "Last year, I had a few big runs, but I never really broke any home," Collins said. "That's one thing I really wanted to focus on, getting that breakaway speed at the end and really finishing my runs to turn them into touchdowns and not just long runs." After taking hold of the role with a 192-yard breakout performance against Western Michigan in Week 2, Collins finished the year with with 988 yards and five touchdowns to earn honorable mention All-Big Ten honors.

It was a season of singles and doubles in his eyes. He had the 29-yard dash on his first carry and finished with a long of 58, but his 4.5 per-carry average and five touchdowns showcase a player who kept drives moving but rarely finished them. Michigan State finished 104th in scoring offense and 7-6 overall, so Collins believes his breakout year was still far from hitting its peak. "I know I could have done better. There were a lot of things I really didn't know," said Collins, who had two carries before last season. "But after playing and looking at my own film and studying a lot, I would like to have a better year." - Lansing State Journal


(DS#39 RB) rSo/2023 RB Elijah CollinsMichigan State
News Source: Lansing State Journal
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