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  College Player Notes by School: Michigan State  
Previous 25 Michigan State Notes Next 25 Michigan State Notes

01/09/19 - (DE) - Kenny Willekes, Jr, 6-3, 260
Michigan State defensive lineman Kenny Willekes says he's returning for his senior season. Willekes, who broke his leg in the Spartans' Redbox Bowl loss to Oregon, said on Twitter on Tuesday night that he doesn't want his career at Michigan State to end that way. Michigan State had a disappointing season in 2018, but the defense largely did its job. Willekes led the Spartans with 8 sacks. - AP College Football

12/21/18 - (CB) - *Justin Layne, Jr, 6-2, 185
Michigan State cornerback Justin Layne will miss the team's bowl game after declaring his intention to leave for the NFL draft. Layne, a junior, said on Twitter last week that he would be entering the draft. Coach Mark Dantonio said Wednesday that Layne wouldn't be playing in the Redbox Bowl against Oregon on Dec. 31. Dantonio said the decision to miss the bowl disappointed him. "Everybody these days has a different philosophy on how these things are working out," Dantonio said. "My philosophy is you finish, you finish the season, that includes playoff or bowl games. Other people feel differently. Doesn't mean that I'm right and they're wrong, just a difference of philosophy." - AP College Football

11/11/18 - (RB) - LJ Scott, rSr, 6-0, 225
Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio says running back LJ Scott will redshirt this season and return in 2019. Scott did not play Saturday when the 24th-ranked Spartans lost 26-6 to eighth-ranked Ohio State. He hurt his ankle in early September and has appeared in only four games this year. Scott was considered a candidate to leave for the NFL last year, but he decided to come back to Michigan State. He has rushed for only 180 yards this season. Players can now appear in up to four games and still qualify for a redshirt year. "You have an opportunity for him to come back, get his degree," Dantonio said. "He wants to do that and get himself right to play his final season at Michigan State." - AP College Football

11/10/18 - (RB) - LJ Scott, rSr, 6-0, 225
RB LJ Scott, limited to four games this season because of an ankle injury, will redshirt and return next season, Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said Saturday. Dantonio said that Scott and his family made the decision to return, and that he supported that choice. Scott is taking advantage of a new NCAA college football rule that allows players to redshirt if they have played in no more than four games and have not previously redshirted. Scott will enter the 2019 season with 586 carries for 2,771 yards (4.7 per carry) and 25 touchdowns.

11/05/18 - (ILB) - Joe Bachie, Jr, 6-1, 238
NOV 5 BIG TEN DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Joe Bachie, Michigan State, Jr., LB, Brook Park, Ohio/Berea,...Recorded seven tackles, including two tackles for loss, in the team's victory over Maryland...Forced three fumbles, broke up two passes and recovered a fumble in the contest...Anchored a defense that held Maryland to 100 total yards and nine first downs...Receives his third career Defensive Player of the Week honor and first since 2017...Last Michigan State Defensive Player of the Week: Khari Willis (Oct. 15, 2018). - Big Ten Football

11/03/18 - (RB) - Connor Heyward, So, 6-0, 229
Michigan State capped a rough week for the unsettled Maryland football program, using a stout defensive performance to defeat the punchless Terrapins 24-3 Saturday. Connor Heyward ran for 157 yards and two touchdowns to help the Spartans (6-3, 4-2 Big Ten) become a bowl eligible for the second year in a row following a 3-9 stumble in 2016. The Terrapins (5-4, 3-3) managed only 100 yards and nine first downs for interim coach and offensive coordinator Matt Canada. It was a sobering ending to a bizarre week for Maryland. On Tuesday, head coach DJ Durkin was reinstated by the University System board of regents following a probe into the culture of the football program. - AP College Football

10/29/18 - (QB) - Rocky Lombardi, rFr, 6-2, 218
OCT 29 BIG TEN CO-FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK: Rocky Lombardi, Michigan State, Fr., QB, Clive, Iowa/Valley...Completed 26 of 46 passes for 318 yards and two touchdowns against Purdue in his first career start...Recorded touchdown tosses of 11 yards in the second quarter and 48 yards in the fourth quarter...Notched the second-most passing yards by a Spartan quarterback making his first career start, trailing only Ed Smith's 324 yards against North Carolina State in 1976...Records his first Freshman of the Week award...Last Michigan State Freshman of the Week: Cody White (Oct. 30, 2017). - Big Ten football

10/15/18 - (SS) - Khari Willis, Sr, 5-11, 213
OCT 15 BIG TEN DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Khari Willis, Michigan State, Sr., S, Jackson, Mich./Lumen Christi...Led the Spartans with a season-high nine tackles, including seven solo stops, in the team's victory at Penn State...Forced a fumble on Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley in the first quarter and also recorded a pass break-up...Helped the Spartans hold Penn State to season lows in points (17) and first downs (14)...Receives his first career Defensive Player of the Week honor...Last Michigan State Defensive Player of the Week: Joe Bachie (Oct. 23, 2017). - Big Ten Football

10/14/18 - (QB) - Brian Lewerke, rJr, 6-2, 220
Each Michigan State player brought a poker chip to Happy Valley and coach Mark Dantonio encouraged the Spartans to push them all to the center of the table Saturday. As the evening wore on against No. 8 Penn State, it was clear the Spartans were all-in. They converted a fake punt early, tried a fake field goal instead of kick for the tying points late in the fourth quarter and opted to throw to the end zone instead of run it to preserve another shot at an equalizing kick. That go-for-broke mentality paid off in Michigan State's 21-17 win.

Brian Lewerke threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Felton Davis with 19 seconds left to lift the Spartans over the Nittany Lions, making it two consecutive seasons Michigan State used a late score to hand Penn State a second straight loss. It was a needed win for the Spartans after a week filled with players publicly demanding more from each other following a tough loss at home to Northwestern. "We didn't want to play to try and tie it," Dantonio said "And quite honestly, I felt like Penn State was too explosive with (QB Trace) McSorley creating too many plays, that eventually they would find their way back down the field." - AP College Football

10/09/18 - (WR) - Felton Davis III, Sr, 6-3, 200
WR Felton Davis continues to be Michigan State's most reliable offensive weapon. Through five games, the senior has 23 receptions for 374 yards and two touchdowns. In the loss to Northwestern, Davis added a 48-yard touchdown run -- the first of his career -- to go with a 3-yard touchdown grab. With sophomore Cody White out for an indefinite period of time and junior Darrell Stewart Jr. and freshman Jalen Nailor nursing injuries, Davis will continue to be quarterback Brian Lewerke's top target.

09/29/18 - (QB) - Brian Lewerke, rJr, 6-2, 220
Michigan State played well for about 30 minutes, and that was more than enough. The final score was closer than it could have been, though. "It's just disappointing for me. It's something that we are very aware," quarterback Brian Lewerke said. "Offensively, we just kind of got stopped a little bit, little bit of the third and fourth quarter. Probably should have put up more points." Lewerke ran for two touchdowns in the first half, and the 21st-ranked Spartans overcame a slow start and an underwhelming finish to beat Central Michigan 31-20 on Saturday. Michigan State led 31-3 before letting CMU rally a bit in the fourth quarter. Connor Heyward and La'Darius Jefferson also ran for touchdowns for the Spartans. Michigan State entered with the nation's top-ranked run defense and held CMU to 5 yards on the ground in the first half. "We're difficult to move the ball on, so I think everything was pretty lopsided in that regard," Spartans coach Mark Dantonio said. "Then the fourth quarter came. It got a little bit interesting for us." - AP College Football

09/24/18 - (K) - Matt Coghlin, So, 5-09, 190
SEPT 24 BIG TEN CO-SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Matt Coghlin, Michigan State, So., K, Cincinnati, Ohio/Archbishop Moeller...Scored on a six-yard touchdown run on a fake field goal in the third quarter against Indiana...Became the first Spartan to score a touchdown and then kick the PAT on his own touchdown since Sam Williams in 1958...Went 5-for-5 on PAT attempts...Claims his second career Special Teams Player of the Week honor and first since 2017...Last Michigan State Special Teams Player of the Week: Matt Coghlin (Nov. 6, 2017). - Big Ten football

08/31/18 - (ILB) - Joe Bachie, Jr, 6-1, 238
Connor Heyward scored his second touchdown with 2 minutes left to put No. 11 Michigan State ahead and the Spartans held on to beat Utah State 38-31 on Friday night. The Spartans trailed until the second quarter, built a 13-point lead late in the third and fell behind late in the opener for both teams. Darwin Thompson put the Aggies ahead with a 1-yard run, his second go-ahead score of the game, with 5:05 remaining. Their defense couldn't make one more stop to beat the highest-ranked team in school history, surpassing the victory over No. 18 BYU in 2014. Utah State did have one more chance to send the game to overtime - or possibly pull off the upset - but Joe Bachie tipped and intercepted a pass at midfield with 1:15 remaining. Michigan State's Brian Lewerke was 23 of 33 for 287 yards with two TDs, an interception and a fumble. - AP College Football

08/23/18 - (DB) - Austin Andrews, Fr, 6-2, 168
RB Austin Andrews, a redshirt sophomore, announced on Twitter that he is transferring from Michigan State. Andrews, who arrived at MSU as a cornerback before switching in the offseason, played in one game last season and wasn't in the top group of running backs, led by LJ Scott.

08/06/18 - (CB) - Josiah Scott, So, 5-10, 175
DB Josiah Scott is likely to be sidelined for the next two months because of an undisclosed injury, Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio said Monday. Josiah Scott is a sophomore who started 12 games last season and was named a freshman All-American. "Josiah had a situation, so he's out for probably two months," Dantonio said, according to MLive.com. "But, we've got guys that can play. ... Two months or less, two months or more -- we'll see." Scott recorded two interceptions, 10 passes defensed and 30 tackles last season as a freshman.

07/06/18 - (FS) - Jalen Watts-Jackson, rSr, 5-11, 184
DB Jalen Watts-Jackson always will have a place in Michigan State history, but now he's ready to move on from football. Watts-Jackson said in March that he hoped to continue his college career as a graduate transfer, but now has decided to go in a much different direction. "I am going into the Air Force," Watts-Jackson told SpartanNation.com. As a 5-foot-11, 184-pound freshman defensive back in 2015, Watts-Jackson scooped up a mishandled punt and returned it 38 yards for a touchdown to give the Spartans a 27-23 walk-off victory over rival Michigan.

02/27/18 - (OLB) - Darien Tipps-Clemons, So, 5-11, 219
LB Darien Tipps-Clemons announced via Twitter he is leaving East Lansing after one year. The former three-star recruit out of Piqua, Ohio, redshirted last year as he recuperated from a knee injury that cost him most of his senior high school season. He is the fifth player to leave the program since the Spartans finished off a 10-3 season with a 42-17 Holiday Bowl win over Washington State.

12/29/17 - (QB) - Brian Lewerke, rJr, 6-2, 220
No. 16 Michigan State went more than 22 minutes before scoring a point in its 42-17 Holiday Bowl win over No. 18 Washington State on Thursday night at SDCCU Stadium. The wait was worth it. The Spartans (10-3) scored touchdowns on five consecutive possessions from 7:34 in the second quarter through 5:08 in the third, three of which came via Brian Lewerke passes. The quarterback connected with Cody White twice and once with Felton Davis, who finished with 118 yards on four receptions. Lewerke totaled 213 yards passing and 73 rushing. He nearly ran for a fourth score but was sidelined on a hard hit at the goal line. Backup Damion Terry came on, and his 6-yard touchdown run put a bow on the Spartans' midgame streak of dominance.

Washington State (9-4) struggled to mount a consistent offensive attack with quarterback Luke Falk scratched because of a wrist injury. Sophomore Tyler Hilinski started in place of the career Pac-12 Conference passing leader. Despite completing 39 of 50 passes to eight different targets, Hilinski amassed 272 yards -- 102 below Washington State's per-game average. The Cougars did not get into end zone until the late third quarter, when Hilinski found Tay Martin for a 14-yard touchdown pass, culminating a drive of 80 yards. Washington State owed some of its offensive woes to a thoroughly depleted running back rotation. - The Sports Xchange

12/16/17 - (C) - Brian Allen, Sr, 6-1, 298
2017 ALL-BIG TEN SECOND TEAM (COACHES): Center Brian Allen, Michigan State,...In his first year as the full-time starting center, senior captain Brian Allen anchored a young Spartan offensive line and helped lead MSU to a 9-3 overall record and No. 16 position in the College Football Playoff rankings. An All-America candidate and also a top candidate for the Rimington Trophy, Allen is the highest ranked center in the Big Ten and No. 5 in the FBS, according to Pro Football Focus. He is the highest graded Spartan offensive lineman this season and leads the team in knockdowns and takedowns.

A four-time Pro Football Focus Big Ten Team of the Week honoree, Allen was also named Spartan Offensive Lineman of the Week on four occasions. He has started a team-best 27 consecutive games, including all 12 at center this season, and 37 for his career as part of a total of 50 games played. Allen was a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, which is widely known as the "Academic Heisman," and also the National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Class. A two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, Allen is an economics major with a 3.24 GPA. The Hinsdale, Illinois, native was also a second-team All-Big Ten selection at guard as a junior (media) in 2016 and as a sophomore in 2015 (coaches and media). - Michigan State Football

12/16/17 - (ILB) - Joe Bachie, Jr, 6-1, 238
2017 ALL-BIG TEN THIRD TEAM (COACHES): LB Joe Bachie, Michigan State,...Bachie has started all 12 games at middle linebacker for the Spartans and leads the team in tackles (94; 7.8 avg.), which ranks tied for seventh in the Big Ten. In addition, he ranks second on the team in tackles for loss (8.5 for 29 yards) and interceptions (three) and fourth in sacks (3.5 for 16 yards). He also leads the team in production points with 289.

Bachie was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week twice this season. Following his career-best 13-tackle performance vs. Indiana on Oct. 21, Bachie shared conference player of the week honors. He also had 1.5 tackles for loss, including a 1-yard sack, and a forced fumble against the Hoosiers. The 6-2, 233-pound Bachie has led the Spartans in tackles seven times this season, including double-digit stops in five games (career-high 13 vs. Indiana; 11 vs. Maryland; 11 against Western Michigan; 10 vs. Michigan and Bowling Green). - Michigan State Football

12/16/17 - (DE) - Kenny Willekes, Jr, 6-3, 260
2017 ALL-BIG TEN THIRD TEAM (COACHES): DL Kenny Willekes, Michigan State,...Willekes, who entered the program as a walk-on for the 2015 season, has emerged as a force on the defensive line for the Spartans. Willekes earned a scholarship this past spring and hasn't looked back since. The native of Rockford, Michigan, has started 11 games at defensive end and leads the team in tackles for loss (14.5 for 42 yards) and sacks (7.0 for 28 yards). Willekes played in just one game as a redshirt freshman in 2016.

Willekes, who has been named to the final ballot for the Ted Hendricks Award, given annually to the nation's best defensive end, ranks tied for fourth in the Big Ten in sacks (7; 0.58 pg) and fourth in tackles for loss (14.5; 1.21 pg). He recorded two sacks each against Michigan (Oct. 7), Minnesota (Oct. 14) and Maryland (Nov. 18). Willekes leads the defensive line and ranks fourth on the team with 69 tackles. He also has two fumble recoveries, two pass break-ups, one forced fumble and seven quarterback hurries. He ranks second on the team with 150 production points. - Michigan State Football

12/16/17 - (OG) - David Beedle, rSr, 6-5, 333
2017 ALL-BIG TEN THIRD TEAM (COACHES): OG David Beedle, Michigan State,...David Beedle started a career-high eight games this season (five at left guard, three at right guard) and provided veteran leadership to a young offensive line that featured two sophomores, one redshirt freshman and two true freshmen in its regular rotation. Although he missed three games due to an injury, Beedle stills ranks second on the team in dominators and third in knockdowns. He was named the Spartan Offensive Lineman of the Week after recording a season-high nine knockdowns and 4.5 dominators against Western Michigan, a performance which also landed him on the Pro Football Focus Big Ten Team of the Week. Beedle was also named to the PFF Big Ten Team of the Week against Northwestern. Beedle has played in 29 career games, including 13 starts the past two seasons for the Spartans. - Michigan State Football

12/16/17 - (WR) - Felton Davis III, Sr, 6-3, 200
2017 ALL-BIG TEN THIRD TEAM (COACHES): WR Felton Davis III, Michigan State,...Junior wide receiver Felton Davis III is the veteran of a receiving corps that features one junior (Davis), two sophomores (Trishton Jackson, Darrell Stewart), one redshirt freshmen (Cam Chambers) and three true freshmen (Laress Nelson, Hunter Rison, Cody White) in its regular rotation. The 6-4, 195-pound native of Richmond, Virginia, leads the Spartans in receptions (51), receiving yards (658) and touchdown catches (8), all of which are career highs and rank among the Big Ten leaders (tied for fourth in TD catches with eight; sixth in receptions at 4.3 pg; eighth in receiving yards at 54.8 ypg).

Forty of his 51 receptions (78 percent) have been for either a first down or a touchdown. Davis' career-high eight TD catches are also tied for 34th in the FBS. Davis recorded career highs in catches (12) and receiving yards (181) in the win over No. 7 Penn State on Nov. 4. The 12 catches tied for fourth most in a single game by a Spartan, and the 181 receiving yards were 13th most by a Spartan in a game. The 12 catches matched his season total from last year. Davis had a diving 33-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter that tied the game at 14, his team-leading eighth of the season. - Michigan State Football

12/16/17 - (FS) - David Dowell, rJr, 6-0, 196
2017 ALL-BIG TEN HONORABLE MENTION (COACHES): S David Dowell,...In his first season as a starter, Dowell ranks second in the Big Ten and tied for seventh in the FBS with five interceptions (78 return yards). He also has four pass break-ups and a career-high 49 tackles. Dowell had two interception each vs. Michigan and Penn State, and one at Ohio State. Dowell's five interceptions are the most by a Spartan in the Mark Dantonio era and the most by a Spartan since 2001 (Broderick Nelson also with five). The North Ridgeville, Ohio, native started all nine games for MSU in Big Ten play. He was named the Rose Bowl Game Big Ten Player of the Week for his performance in the win at No. 7 Michigan, as he recorded two interceptions (35 return yards), one pass break-up, a forced fumble and seven tackles. Dowell also had two picks for 28 yards in the victory against No. 7 Penn State on Nov. 4. He tallied a career-high nine stops and his fifth interception of the season at Ohio State. - Michigan State Football

12/16/17 - (SS) - Khari Willis, Sr, 5-11, 213
2017 ALL-BIG TEN HONORABLE MENTION (COACHES): Khari Willis,...Willis has recorded a career-high 71 tackles, which ranks second on the team and fifth among Big Ten defensive backs, while starting all 12 games at safety for the Spartans. He ranks tied for second on the team with four sacks and also had 5.5 tackles for loss, both of which are career highs. The Jackson, Michigan, native has one interception (vs. Minnesota) and three pass break-ups. He has 112 career tackles in 32 games played. - Michigan State Football

Previous 25 Michigan State Notes Next 25 Michigan State Notes

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