Michigan State Football: Five Spartan Freshman To Get Excited About
By now, nearly every angle that surrounds Michigan State football has been covered.
The offense will be potent, and led by junior quarterback Kirk Cousins, along with his stable of able receivers.
The defense will be tough, with the exception of a questionable secondary. All-American linebacker Greg Jones will anchor his troops, and has matured Chris Norman to aid him.
Michigan State's running back crop is deep, and Larry Caper and Edwin Baker will be entertaining to watch as sophomores.
Those points are understood.
But what about the freshmen?
Some may be red-shirted, some may see immediate action.
Nonetheless, there are a group of newcomers to get excited about.
Fenton High School (Fenton, Mich.)—Tyler Hamilton
Fenton's Tyler Hamilton will, and likely be, an under-the-radar Spartan.
Hamilton doesn't have great size for the Division I linebacker position. However, the 6-foot-1, 220-pound preferred walk-on does have one attribute on his side: heart.
Hamilton shrugged offers from multiple Division II schools to try his hand at his ultimate goal—playing Big Ten football.
"I was literally about to sign with Grand Valley," Hamilton recently said. "At the last second, I decided, ‘You know what? I don't want to do this.' It was a personal choice. It was always my dream to play Division I football, and I decided I would stick to that."
Don't doubt a man with drive, and if everything goes his way, Hamilton could see a game or two this season. I think he's better suited for the practice squad for now, but he could surprise Michigan State's coaching staff.
I wouldn't be shocked to see Hamilton get reps on special teams or maybe even carry the ball at some point during his tenure in East Lansing. He has enough power to be a decent short-yardage back—he set a single-season rushing record by quarterback during his time at Fenton.
Versatility is a plus, and like many others, Hamilton played multiple positions in high school.
Making the transition to linebacker will be a challenge, but I like Hamilton's chances of having a worthy career as a Spartan.
Chelsea High School (Chelsea, Mich.)—Nick Hill
What more can be said about a guy who idolized Michigan's Mike Hart, besides, at least he picked a great runner to emulate.
Chelsea's Nick Hill has a solid 182 pounds on his 5-foot-6 frame. If he can stack his freshman-15 on quickly, he'll be a certified tank in the backfield.
I like Hill's speed, and his crafty ability to find holes in the defense. His highlight reels, although some are hard to find, are packed with misdirections for long gains.
Hill's downside is his size, but it's also an advantage.
"I actually think of my size as an advantage because I can hide behind the linemen," Hill said Signing Day. "That way the defensive backs can't see me until I hit the hole, but by then it is too late."
That motto worked for a lot backs, including Hart, his mentor.
I don't expect Hill to be the dominant back he was in high school, of course, it's a whole new ball game. I think he will be best suited for swing passes to the flat, or something along those lines.
The Spartans are deep at the running back position, and it remains to be seen if Hill will see a game in 2010.
Click here to view a slideshow of Hill's five-touchdown performance against Ypsilanti Lincoln in 2009.
Southeastern High School (Detroit, Mich.)—William Gholston
William Gholston is a rare find.
The former Detroit Southeastern star has size and speed. The 6-foot-7, 250-pound linebacker to be was a man among boys during high school.
He's put on over 10 pounds since his recruitment, and is a running back's nightmare.
I more than approve the move from defensive end to linebacker.
Gholston's speed and power will allow him to be in the middle of the action, as opposed to having to fly from the end.
There aren't many guys that scream immediate success like the five-star rated recruit, but then again, he was highly-ranked for a reason.
Gholston was the No. 1 defensive end in the state of Michigan, and depending where you look, ranked as high as No. 21 nationally, and third overall at his position.
I like Gholston anywhere on the defensive side of the ball.
Downside? There isn't one.
Big Walnut High School (Sunbury, Ohio)—Skyler Schofner
Skyler Schofner is a guy I've anxiously awaited to see play since he committed. I heard a little about him before he chose Michigan State, but read up when he made his choice to don the green and white.
Schofner is a lot like Gholston when it comes potential. I think he will be an immediate factor.
The offensive lineman has gained over 20 pounds and grown an inch since Scout.com's combine.
If Schofner is placed at his natural position of tackle, he would complement D.J. Young, who will be on the left side of center.
Schofner is a player that can and will adapt to a new position and be successful doing so.
Dooly High School (Vienna, Ga.)—Keith Mumphrey
At 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds, Keith Mumphrey isn't a physically imposing wide receiver.
The three-star recruit does have the ability to break open-field tackles, and has come to be known for his strength, and those are always good signs.
I like Mumphrey's future. I think being groomed by guys like Mark Dell—Mumphrey could evolve into a solid clutch-option.
One of Mumphrey's upsides is similar to those around him: He played on both sides of the ball in high school. A receiver that can think like a corner, and beat it at its own game, is a great asset.
I believe Mumphrey could develop into another Devin Thomas. Both are similar in size, and Thomas was nearly-automatic when it came to dodging defenders in the open field. Mumphrey has to improve on eluding would-be tacklers in space, but he has the strength and sure-hands to mimic Thomas.