Throughout the history of Michigan State Spartan football, there seems to be a top notch receiver on the roster year in and year out. They always have a player who you can count on to make a big catch in a big moment, and is a threat every time he touches the ball.
In 2012, that player was absent from the Spartan receiving group, and they desperately needed it. B.J. Cunningham and Keshawn Martin had moved on to the NFL, and the Spartans had no answer all season long. The group lacked consistency and were a big piece of the puzzle that led to a dismal Spartan offense.
Heading into 2013, the Spartans will bring back every receiver from a year ago, and are hoping that experience from last season will turn into better production this season. The only question is who will that receiver be?
Senior Bennie Fowler returns as the leader of this group. For Fowler’s entire career, he has shown flashes of greatness, but has struggled heavily with injuries and just hasn’t been able to put it all together. Still, his vocal presence with the young receivers is a valuable asset in itself, and he should be good.
Tony Lippett and Keith Mumphery are two veterans who will also return for the Spartans. Mumphery was solid in his role and does great work out of the slot catching bubble screens, and is also a great run blocker. Lippett is a tall, very athletic player who can win on almost any jump ball, but needs to catch on a more consistent basis in order to be as effective as possible.
The two players who look set to make the biggest splash in 2013 are sophomores Aaron Burbridge and Macgarrett Kings Jr. Burbridge was great in his limited roles last season after missing all of training camp and not knowing the playbook. He posted a 100-plus yard receiving game against Indiana, and has dedicated his whole offseason to the film room.
Kings, who didn’t see much action, has impressed coaches in camp and should fill a role similar to Keshawn Martin this season.
DeAnthony Arnett and Andre Sims are two other receivers who will be in the mix, but overall the Spartans need one individual to step up and be the go-to guy this season, and they appear to have a couple young players ready to do so.