Michigan State is coming off a solid season on the defensive side of the ball.
That unit was aided by the presence of All-American middle linebacker Greg Jones.
He has graduated and other players must step up and fill his shoes.
The Spartan defense will be just fine, though.
The unit finished 2010 ranked 43rd in total defense and will be hoping to have even better results this season.
Who will be the most important players making up this season's defense?
Find out as we count down Michigan State's seven most important players on defense.
Tyler Hoover is a monster defensive end (6'7", 274) who will be counted on to wreak havoc coming off the edge.
He is built in the same mold as former Wisconsin end J.J. Watt who was drafted in the first round of this year's NFL Draft.
Tyler Hoover, along with William Gholston, should form one of the best defensive end duos in the nation this season.
Johnny Adams is Michigan State's most experienced cornerback and will be counted on to disrupt opposing passing attacks.
He has amassed five interceptions and 11 pass break-ups during his career in East Lansing.
There's no doubt that Johnny Adams is a dark horse player who may surprise this season.
Redshirt sophomore Denicos Allen is taking on the responsibility of stepping into the shoes Greg Jones left behind.
That's a tall order, but he's a talented player who will fill that role just fine.
He finished 2010 with 18 tackles, four of those coming against Alabama in the Capital One Bowl.
Keep an eye out for Denicos Allen this fall.
As a true freshman last season, William Gholston was listed as the backup left defensive end.
Spartan fans were chomping at the bit to see him on the field.
Those dreams were dashed after he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in the Minnesota game.
The coaching staff and the fans still know that William Gholston has limitless potential and will be a star player in just a matter of time.
That may happen this season.
Max Bullough was one of the top true freshman players a season ago.
He was a fixture on special teams, as he finished second on the team with 13 tackles on special teams plays.
He finished the season 21 tackles and one interception.
With Greg Jones gone, Max Bullough figures to slide right into the rotation at linebacker.
Denicos Allen is slotted to play in the middle in Mark Dantonio's 4-3 scheme, but Max Bullough will also see time at middle linebacker.
Trenton Robinson started 12 games at free safety last season, amassing 76 tackles and four interceptions.
He's the leader of the Spartan secondary which is hoping to build on last season's performance.
Only a 2-Star recruit coming out of high school, Trenton Robinson has one again proved that those star rankings really don't mean a whole lot.
Jerel Worthy is one of the best defensive linemen in the nation. There's no argument there.
He led all Michigan State linemen with 40 tackles last season, eight of which were for loss.
He also led the team in sacks with four in total.
Jerel Worthy has not reached his full potential. That is a fact. What he may accomplish in 2011 might be scary.