Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Spring breakout player: Michigan State
By Brian Bennett
Spring practice is kicking off around the Big Ten, and we're taking a look at one potential breakout player for each team. We’re spotlighting players who could take a major step during spring ball, so those who have started multiple seasons or earned All-Big Ten recognition in 2012 aren't eligible.
Let's turn now to the Michigan State Spartans, who open practice next Tuesday:
Monty Madaris, WR, redshirt freshman, 6-foot-1, 190 pounds
Just like last year, head coach Mark Dantonio doesn't have a lot of starting jobs to award on his stacked defense. A lot of eyes will be on sophomore Shilique Calhoun to step in for William Gholston at defensive end, and for sophomore Trae Waynes to earn his way into Johnny Adams' old cornerback spot.
But the real opportunities for playing time and impact come on the offensive side of the ball, where few roles are safe after last year's struggles. That's why we're picking Madaris, a guy who didn't even play last year. Aaron Burbridge made significant contributions at receiver as a true freshman last year, and Madaris might have done the same had he not suffered a high ankle injury during preseason camp. That led to a redshirt season, but the Spartans remain high on Madaris, who was a highly-regarded recruit out of Cincinnati powerhouse Moeller High School. The hope is that Madaris and Burbridge can give the offense two true stretch-the-field threats, while sophomore Macgarrett Kings Jr. also develops into a dependable option. That could make Michigan State's receiving corps a strength this year instead of a liability -- assuming, of course, that the team irons out its quarterback situation, too.