One Spartans player just elevated himself from walk-on status to scholarship player.
Although it hasn’t been officially announced yet, Michigan State defensive lineman Kenny Willekes was awarded a scholarship by Spartans coaches Tuesday during a team meeting.
Willekes, who will be a redshirt sophomore going into the 2017 football season, played in 11 games last season and recorded six tackles.
Some of Willekes teammates, and even some former Spartans, took to Twitter to congratulate him, including former Spartans offensive lineman and current Tennessee Titans offensive tackle Jack Conklin.
– Congrats To My Son @kennyw97 On Earning That Scholarship Today! ✊?
— Kaleel Gaines (@leely_football) March 22, 2017
— Jack Conklin (@Jack_Conklin78) March 22, 2017
— Zac Leimbach (@Zac_Leimbach) March 22, 2017
Willekes was an unrated prospect from Grand Rapids, Mich,. but now he’s a scholarship player who could see an expanded role next season with the departures of fellow defensive linemen Malik McDowell to the NFL Draft, and Evan Jones and Kevin Williams to graduation.
The outlook for the 2017 Michigan State team will become more clear as the team completes spring practices, as will Willekes’ spot on the Spartans roster.