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NCAA Football Big 10 FootballMichigan State Spartans

Le’Veon Bell, William Gholston Leave Michigan State for NFL

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

It has been a tough couple of days for Michigan State. The Spartans have lost three players in the past two days to the NFL as the underclassmen have declared for an early entry in the 2013 NFL Draft.

Tight end Dion Sims declared for the draft on Wednesday after a solid season in which he caught 36 passes for 475 yards and two touchdowns. The 6-foot-5, 285-pound tight end will be a solid addition to any NFL team looking for a solid blocking tight end with great hands.

Just one day later, possibly the biggest news of the Big Ten offseason, defensive end William Gholston declared early as did junior running back and the top offensive player on Michigan State, Le’Veon Bell.

Gholston was one of three five-star recruits to play football at Michigan State and after a disappointing freshman season in 2010, he delivered a solid effort in 2011 before taking a step back in 2012. In my opinion, it was the wrong choice for Gholston to leave early, but he did have an infant child that factored into his decision.

He was second-team All-Big Ten and finished the season with 50 tackles and 12 tackles for loss– a team high.

Bell was the Big Ten’s leading rusher in the regular season and won the offensive MVP trophy in their bowl win against TCU on Dec. 29 in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.

Bell ran for almost 1,800 yards this season and accounted for much of the Spartans mediocre offense. His decision to leave early could have been based solely on his carry amount this season. He ran the ball 382 times which was most in the country. With running backs already having shortened careers because of their workload, Bell would have decreased his NFL career by two years if he stayed another year in college.

Although the Spartans would be conference favorites if everyone was to return next season, Bell made the right choice by choosing to leave for the betterment of his career.

Mark Dantonio will have to look elsewhere for a starting tight end, running back and defensive end in 2013, but look for the Spartans to contend no matter what because of their solid defense and talented recruits coming to fill the empty spots in the depth chart.