Here are some of the best players to ever don a Michigan State uniform. Some are in the pros, some are still playing and one even owns the all-time NFL scoring record.
Michigan State University has seen many players come and go over decades of up and down seasons. Yet, there were some players who were absolutely a step above the rest.
This list was created to express the greatest pigskin performers that East Lansing has ever offered.
It takes time to be recognized as one of the superior players in many decades of performance. Lots of hard work, dedication and great play on the field make players legends.
Now, without further ado, here are some of the greatest Spartans.
Flozell "The Hotel" Adams was a lineman for Michigan State from 1994-98. He was named to the second team All-Big Ten team in his sophomore season. In his senior year, Adams was given All-American honors, was named Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year and was a semi-finalist for the Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award.
In 1998, Adams was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the second round. He has since been named to five Pro Bowls and was a second team All-Pro in 2007. He was paid big bucks in 2008 and the big man deserves it.
Javon Ringer is one of the most beloved Spartans of all time.
From 2005 to 2008, the running back earned numerous accolades to hang his hat on, including:
- Sporting News honorable mention for freshman All-America team
- Named to Big Ten All-freshman team
- Biggie Munn award for being most inspirational player
- Became the first tailback since T.J. Duckett in 2001 to get 1,000 yards rushing (2007)
- Second team all-Big Ten in 2007
- Was a senior captain in 2008
- Was a semi-finalist for the Maxwell, Doak Walker and Walter Camp awards
But not all of those great honors define Ringer. He was tenacious, and standing at only barely over 5'9", he showed a will and passion which turned the football program around. He is now a pro running back with the Tennessee Titans, and he will eventually get his time to shine.
Morten Andersen received a scholarship from Michigan State after only one successful season in high school. Andersen set records at MSU, like kicking a 63-yard field goal against Ohio State and being named an All-American in 1981. He was drafted by the New Orleans Saints.
Andersen's career spanned many teams and many years. Before retiring in 2007, Andersen set many records which still stand today. He is the all-time leading scorer in NFL history, along with setting team records for points for the Saints and Falcons. Other records of note include most games played, most consecutive games with a point, most field goals attempted and most field goals made.
Andersen was a master of his craft and his accomplishments from an overlooked position makes Spartans proud.
Now, Charles Rogers' career may have hit rock bottom after college, but it doesn't affect what he accomplished in college.
Rogers won the 2002 Biletnikoff Award as best wide receiver in the nation. He holds the school record for most career touchdowns with 27, along with owning the record for most receiving yards in a game (270).
Rogers was drafted as the No. 2 overall pick in the 2003 draft, picked after Carson Palmer. He is only one of two Spartans (Tony Mandarich) to get picked at No. 2.
Like Charles Rogers, Tony Mandarich was also an NFL bust—only he is referred by many as one of the biggest busts of all time.
However, Mandarich made a name for himself in college.
As a Spartan, Mandarich was a member of the 1988 Rose Bowl team. He was also named as a first-team All-American, an Outland Award finalist and a two-time Big Ten Lineman of the Year.
He was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 1989.
Andre Rison was a 1st-round pick out of Michigan State.
As a senior, Rison had 30 receptions for 709 yards and 5 TDs. He spent 12 years in the NFL, accumulating over 10,000 receiving yards and 84 touchdowns.
Julian Peterson joined the Spartans football team in his junior year after attending Valley Forge Military Academy the previous two years.
At MSU, Peterson had 140 tackles and 25 sacks in 23 career games. As a senior, Peterson was an All-American selection when he recorded 15 sacks.
He was drafted in the first round of the 2000 draft by the San Francisco 49ers. He is a five-time Pro Bowler and a three-time All-Pro selection. He is currently on the Detroit Lions.
Bubba Smith is one of the most celebrated Spartans of all time.
He was an All-American in 1965 and 1966, playing on the team which tied for a national championship. He also played in the "Game of the Century," a 10-10 tie with Notre Dame. Smith had his jersey retired in 2006 during the night game against Notre Dame, the 40th anniversary of the "Game of the Century."
Smith was chosen No. 1 overall in the 1967 NFL Draft. He played nine seasons as a defensive end, winning one Super Bowl and going to two Pro Bowls. His name can be seen hanging high in Spartan Stadium near the upper deck portion of the student section.