Although there isn’t much surprise with the current lineup, we will see some new faces along with a couple shuffles at various positions due to injury and change of personnel.
Linebacker Denicos Allen and offensive lineman Jack Allen — two projected starters — will miss the spring session following their off-season surgeries. Cornerback Darqueze Dennard is expected to be healthy for the final two weeks of practice after suffering turf toe in February.
Incumbent quarterback Alex Maxwell is listed as the starter, but don’t let that fool you — he hasn’t retained his job by any means. Dantonio told reporters that Connor Cook and Tyler O’Connor will also take first-team snaps against the first-string defense.
Junior running back Nick Hill looks to be the go-to-guy to replace Le’Veon Bell in the backfield. If this stands true, the Spartans’ offense will have a different look to it. Hill’s skill set is the opposite of Bell’s, with no ability to pound the ball up the middle and run defenders over.
However, he has 4.4 speed, can make tacklers miss with his nasty cutbacks, and has that final burst that Bell never had. In addition, he’s a solid pass catcher and will help Maxwell with the short game.
As expected, there are several changes along the offensive line. Dan France moves over to right guard after starting 24 games at left guard the last two seasons. Fou Fonoti is 100 percent healthy after sustaining a season-ending foot injury in September. He is listed as the starting left tackle, while Skyler Burkland takes over on the other side.
Travis Jackson returns from his leg injury and should vastly improve the line at center. Blake Treadwell is currently the starter at left guard, but that could (and most likely will) change once Allen heals.
Keep your eye on redshirt freshmen Riley Bullough and Jamal Lyles this spring. Dantonio gave them high praise, and said both could make some noise at the linebacker position.
Michigan State’s spring session will conclude on April 20 when it holds its annual Green and White spring game.