Last summer, people were talking about the first-round NFL potential of cornerback Johnny Adams of the Michigan State Spartans. By season’s end, however, Adams wasn’t even the best cornerback on his team as he watched teammate Darqueze Dennard outplay him in 2012. Now, as Adams tries to stick with an NFL roster as an undrafted free agent, Dennard prepares to take the next step as one of the elite cornerbacks in all of college football.
Dennard emerged last season as the Spartans’ best cornerback, matching Adams stat for stat. Both finished the year with three interceptions and seven pass breakups, but Dennard was a more consistent force in the defense. He finished 2012 with 52 tackles, including 3.5 for loss, 17 more than Adams’ 35 recorded tackles. Now Dennard looks to take the next step and get recognized as maybe the best cornerback in the entire Big Ten conference.
The Spartans recognize how important he is to their cause in 2013 if they hope of improving on their disappointing 2012 campaign. The defensive side of the ball is going to take on even more importance next fall while the offense finds its legs and having Dennard as their shut-down corner will be a major boost. While he sat out this spring with an injury, Michigan State got sophomore Trae Waynes and Arjen Colquhoun excellent reps with the first-team defense, but they aren’t serious options yet to lead the defensive secondary.
For Michigan State to take another run at the Big Ten title, Dennard will have to be on the field and excel as the No. 1 cornerback for the Spartans’ defense. Is he enough to return MSU to the top of the conference?