OK, so Michigan State won’t return all its depth at wide receiver next season.
On Monday night, Spartans legend Andre Rison announced in an interview with Jack Ebling on The Drive with Jack on 92.1 FM in Lansing, Mich., that his son Hunter would transfer from the program. Hunter Rison recently finished up his freshman season at Michigan State.
“He wants to play more,” Andre explained. “He feels that he’s just as good as the guys that’s playing in front of him. With that being said and how it looks from the rotations, some games he wouldn’t even get in the second half. Some games he wouldn’t play at all, [or] minimum. He’s too talented to waste a freshman year.”
To refer to the 2017 season as a waste for his son seems harsh. Hunter appeared in 12 games as a freshman, missing only the Maryland game with an injury. He caught 19 balls for 224 yards, ranking fourth among Spartans receivers in both categories. But fourth, it appears, wasn’t satisfactory.
“We thought it out and looked at the rotation,” Andre said. “He’s No. 4 in the depth chart, and he can start at a lot of places. He can play, and he can prove his talents. In college football, it’s a short window.”
Instead of returning 96.8 percent of its catches (239 of 247), with only running back Gerald Holmes (8 catches) graduating, Michigan State is now expected to return 220 of its 247 grabs. Not too shabby either way. Below is the projected two-deep for Michigan State’s wide receivers in 2018.
Felton Davis (Sr.)
(55 catches, 776 yards, 9 touchdowns)
Darrell Stewart (Jr.)
(50, 501, 2)
Cody White (So.)
(35, 490, 4)
|Second string|| |
Cam Chambers (So.)
(5, 66, 0)
Laress Nelson (So.)
(3, 29, 0)
Trishton Jackson (Jr.)
(12, 143, 0)
Going into the 2017 season, the Spartans had three wide receivers who had previously caught a pass in college. Returning quarterback Brian Lewerke had only completed a pair of passes to any of them: one to Darrell Stewart and one to Trishton Jackson. Now the Spartans have the six pass catchers listed above, and all of them have spent an entire season with Lewerke.
Behind them will be redshirt freshman C.J. Hayes and early enrollees Ja’Vez Alexander and Julian Major, as well as whoever the Spartans land to finish the 2018 class. Ideally, none of the incoming freshmen will have to be pushed into early action.
There’s no need to minimize the loss of Rison. He’s a tremendous talent who plays with confidence and swagger, and he had the potential to be a special player for Michigan State. Now it appears he will be a special player for another program.
But the Spartans return a bevy of talent at wide receiver, and most of those players have several seasons of eligibility remaining. Maybe most importantly, they have two years left with Lewerke, and that continuity sure looks encouraging.