Michigan State names starting secondary

August, 26, 2009
8/26/09
5:57
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

You'll have to wait until next week to learn whether Kirk Cousins or Keith Nichol starts at quarterback for Michigan State, but the four men patrolling the defensive backfield are now known.

Spartans secondary coach Harlon Barnett today named cornerbacks Chris L. Rucker and Jeremy Ware and safeties Danny Fortener and Marcus Hyde as starters when the team opens the season Sept. 5 against Montana State. The secondary is Michigan State's deepest position group, and Barnett should be able to go eight or nine deep this fall.

Rucker and Hyde looked like locks to start, while Ware and, to a lesser degree, Fortener, are mini surprises. I figured Ross Weaver would get the nod at the other cornerback spot after starting 11 games last fall and 16 in his career. Safety Trenton Robinson was the story of spring ball and still should get a good deal of reps at safety, but Fortener boasts more experience after starting nine games last fall.

Former starter Kendell Davis-Clark will serve as the nickel back.

As for those quarterbacks?
"They told us they're going to try to make a call early next week as far as what they're going to do," Cousins said. "That doesn't mean that that guy's gonna be the guy all season. I still feel that Sept. 5 and even the game against Central Michigan Sept. 12 will both be huge games to establish yourself as to who's going to be the guy."

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