Michigan State Football: The All-Time Dream Team
Michigan State has a long, rich football history.
With so much talk of the NBA putting together multiple "Dream Teams," I thought there should be one for the Spartans.
However, this one won't be of every possible Michigan State recruit. Instead, it will be of the best players that ever played for the Spartans at each position.
Here's a look at the ideal Michigan State team I would love to put on the field, assuming all players were in their prime.
Quarterback: Kirk Cousins
Kirk Cousins is the best quarterback in Michigan State history.
Before Cousins arrived on campus, the Spartans had a total of three 10-win seasons. In his three years as a starter in East Lansing, Cousins added two more.
He finished his career ranked first all-time in passing touchdowns (66), passing yards (9,131), completions (723) and passing efficiency (146.1 rating).
But that's not all.
Cousins also holds school records in total offense (9,004) and 200-yard passing games (26). Throw in that he's the winningest quarterback in Spartan history (27), and I think it's safe to say he's the best ever.
The quarterback gave his team a chance to win every time he stepped on the field.
He also provided some late-game heroics throughout his career. The most notable was his 44-yard Hail Mary pass to Keith Nichol on the final play of Michigan State's game against No. 4 Wisconsin last year. The play will be replayed on multiple highlight for many years to come.
Honorable Mention: Jeff Smoker
Running Back: Javon Ringer, Lorenzo White
Ringer didn't really get going for the Spartans until his junior year in 2007. But once he got going, he really got going.
In his junior year, Ringer ran for 1,447 yards and six touchdowns. He followed that up with 1,637 yards and 22 touchdowns in his senior year. Those stats helped earn him first-team All-American honors, and he was also named a finalist for the Doak Walker Award.
He finished his career in East Lansing with 4,398 yards rushing and 34 touchdowns, averaging 5.22 yards per rushing attempt.
White holds the school record with 4,887 rushing yards and 43 touchdowns.
In 1985, White became the first Big 10 running back to rush for more than 2,000 yards, amassing 2,066 yards.
He was also named a consensus All-American in 1985 and 1987, which helped make him a first-round pick of the Houston Oilers in 1988.
Honorable Mention: Tico Duckett
Wide Receiver: Charles Rogers, B.J. Cunningham
When I think of Charles Rogers, I only think of what might have been.
During his career at Michigan State, Rogers caught 135 passes for 2,821 yards and 27 touchdowns.
During the 2002 season, Rogers had 68 receptions for 1,351 yards and 13 touchdowns. For his efforts, he won the Fred Biletnikoff Award and Paul Warfield Trophy, which is awarded to the best college wide receiver. He was also recognized as a first-team All-American.
After becoming the No. 2 pick in the 2003 NFL draft, things didn't go as well for Rogers, as he broke his collarbone twice and was suspended three times for substance abuse.
Cunningham is Michigan State's career leader in receptions (218) and receiving yards (3,086). He also ranks second all-time in touchdown receptions with 25.
Like Cousins, he's going to be sorely missed in East Lansing, as he helped lead the team to one of its best seasons in recent memory.
Cunningham was named first-team All-Big Ten last year and had a 70 percent efficiency in catches for first downs or touchdowns.
Honorable Mention: Andre Rison
Tight End: Billy Joe DuPree
Although the stats may not be as sexy as they are at other positions, DuPree is still the best tight end to ever put on a Spartan uniform.
During his career, he had 69 receptions for 1,222 yards.
In 1972, Dupree was named a first-team All-American after having 23 catches for 406 yards.
After college, Dupree was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys and spent a decade with the team. During this time, he was one of the best tight ends in the league.
For the moment, he still holds the Cowboys' record for most receiving touchdowns by a tight end with 42. Current Cowboys tight end Jason Witten is tied with him at 42 and should break the record this year.
Offensive Line: Flozell Adams, Tony Mandarich, Ed Budde, Sid Wagner, Dan Currie
Everybody loves the big uglies.
For Michigan State, five set themselves apart from the rest of the group to be named the best five of all time.
Adams earned the nickname "The Hotel" for his massive size (6'7", 330 lbs).
As a three-year starter on the offensive line, Adams was named first-team All-Big Ten in 1995. In 1997, he was also named first-team All-American and was named the Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year.
Adams has made a good living in the NFL, having been a five-time Pro Bowl selection.
Mandarich was a two-time Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year and a 1988 first-team All-American. He was also considered one of the best offensive line prospects ever to come out of college.
After being picked No. 2 by the Green Bay Packers in the 1989 NFL draft, Mandarich went on to become one of the biggest busts in NFL history.
Budde was an early star for Michigan State, having played in East Lansing from 1958-63. During his time, Budde never received any major awards or accolades, but he was a staple on the offensive line.
After the 1935 season, Wagner was a consensus All-American at guard, receiving such designations from the United Press, International News Service, the New York Sun and Liberty Magazine.
Currie was an All-American linebacker and center for the Spartans in 1957. He was a first-round choice of the Packers in the 1958 NFL draft.
Defensive Line: Bubba Smith, Larry Bethea, Robaire Smith, Jerel Worthy
Smith not only had a great career in college, but also was a distinguished actor, known mostly for his parts in the Police Academy movies.
During his college career, Smith was named an All-American in 1965 and 1966. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1988.
If there's one thing any Michigan State fan remembers about Smith it's three simple words: "Kill, Bubba, Kill."
Bethea was originally a tight end during his freshman year in East Lansing. However, he was moved to defensive end for his sophomore year, and he excelled.
He still holds the school record for sacks in a career (33) and is second all-time in yards from sacks (208).
In 1977, he was the first defensive player to be named conference MVP since Dick Butkus did it in 1963.
Smith finished his career with 22 sacks for 140 yards. He also had 191 total tackles (48 for loss), three interceptions, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.
As a defensive tackle, Worthy was dominant on the inside for the Spartans. In 40 career games, he recorded 107 tackles (27.5 for loss) and had 12 sacks.
Last year, he was named a first-team All-American, becoming the first defensive tackle since Ronald Curl in 1971 to be named an All-American at Michigan State.
Linebacker: Greg Jones, Dan Bass, Percy Snow
Jones was one of the most underrated linebackers in the country during his time in East Lansing.
While on campus, Jones amassed 465 total tackles, 16.5 sacks and 46.5 tackles for loss. He was the first Spartan to earn back-to-back consensus first-team All-America nods since Bubba Smith and George Webster in in 1965-66.
His other accomplishments include producing double-digit tackle games 20 times in his career and leading the team in tackles all four years he was in school.
Snow is one of two college football players to earn both the Dick Butkus Award and Vince Lombardi Award while in college.
During his time in East Lansing, Snow recorded 473 tackles, which ranks second all-time.
In 1989, he was named a first-team All-American.
Bass is Michigan State's career leader in tackles with 541.
One thing that's disappointing, however, is the fact that Bass never got a chance to play in the NFL. He was drafted into the Canadian Football League in 1980 and spent his entire career there.
Secondary: Brad Van Pelt, Lynn Chandnois, Phil Parker, Amp Campbell
Brad Van Pelt
Not only is Van Pelt one of the greatest Spartan secondary players of all-time, but he could be considered the greatest Spartan football player of all-time.
During his career (1970-72), Van Pelt was a two-time All-American (1971, 72) and won the 1972 Maxwell Award (nation's best player).
Van Pelt is also a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.
Chandnois ranks first in school history in interceptions (20) and interception return yards (410).
In 1949, he was named an All-American and went on to play seven years with the Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL.
Parker ranks third all-time with 16 interceptions for 267 yards.
He earned first-team All-Big Ten honors for three straight years (1983-85) and was named defensive MVP in 1983 and 1985.
Campbell ranks first all-time in career pass breakups (56).
A neck injury in 1998 derailed his career, but he had already left his mark on the Michigan State program.
Honorable Mention: George Webster
Kicker: Brett Swenson
Brett Swenson was 71-of-91 on field-goal attempts in his college career, ranking first in school history.
He is also MSU's all-time leader in points scored (368) and extra points (158).
Swenson was close to automatic towards the end of his career, which is why he was called on as much as he was to put points on the board.
Honorable Mention: Dave Rayner
Punter: Greg Montgomery
Greg Montgomery is MSU's career leader in average yards per punt (45.21).
He punted the ball 184 times for 8,318 yards. Although the number of punts and yards don't rank in the top five, his average is what vaults him into the top spot.
Honorable Mention: Brandon Fields