Football fans know about Revis Island, can Darqueze Dennar establish his own?  Photo courtesy of Mark Boomgaard.

Football fans know about Revis Island, can Darqueze Dennar establish his own? Photo courtesy of Mark Boomgaard.

 

 

 

Darqueze Dennard played in six games as a true freshman in 2010, including two starts, after then-starting cornerback Chris L. Rucker was suspended due to off-the-field issues. Now, the job is open with stiff competition and as long as he can stay healthy he is in the mix.

 

Well, he is doing well so far in spring practice after missing the final five games of last year’s campaign due to a knee injury. He has been facing pressure from two-way threat Tony Lippett and junior Mitchell White, but Dennard has been chalked in as the projected starter at cornerback come fall.

 

Dennard said that he, Johnny (Adams) and White are all getting a rotation in terms of starting reps. But starting as a true freshman and playing promising minutes gives the sophomore out of Georgia a leg up on the competition.

 

“(Playing last season) made me feel more confident playing the position,” Dennard said. “You need confidence to play corner because you’ll be on an island most of the time. It made me feel like I could play with anybody. (In the off season) I worked on my size, speed and my ability on the line.”

 

Dennard attended Twiggs County High School, which is located in a small Georgia town. He jokes that he is still getting used to the Michigan weather and wouldn’t call himself a Michigander yet. If anyone wonders why he came to Michigan State University rather than attend an ACC or SEC school, just look at the Spartans’ coaching staff.

 

“It really didn’t matter what conference I went to; it’s all about coaches,” he said. “I mean, every coach would say what they wanted to say, but Coach D and the rest of the coaching staff made me feel at home.”

 

In terms of the coaching staff, Dennard is being brought up by former MSU All-American and current secondary coach Harlon Barnett. Barnett played at MSU from 1986-1989 and has coached under Dantonio in both Cincinnati and East Lansing.

 

“(Barnett) had been through it and played at a high level, he got All-American ranks and All-Big Ten,” Dennard said. “It’s easy for us to understand him because he’s been through the same stuff we’ve been through.”

 

Dennard said that when he found out he would play last season, he watched film and sought the tutelage of guys like Johnny Adams and Chris L. Rucker. He said they took him under their wings and showed him the ropes of playing secondary in the college game.

 

Speaking of Adams, he had a rough time covering Alabama’s receivers in the Capital One Bowl. Dennard’s knee started feeling better around that time but he was unable to play in that game. Expectations this year will be high, though, as players like Lippett will continue to breathe down Dennard’s neck as spring ball rolls on into its dog days.

 

However, it could be a fair sentiment that Dennard will have even loftier expectations than Adams due to his ability to be thrust in as a true freshman and play pretty well. The secondary potential is limitless for these young players. They are challenging one another and it will make the team better when the real season starts.