Defensive end Shilique Calhoun became the first Michigan State defensive lineman in school history to earn first-team All-Big Ten honors three times.
EAST LANSING, Mich. – Michigan State fifth-year senior defensive end Shilique Calhoun, a three-time second-team All-American and three-time first-team All-Big Ten pick, has been selected by the Oakland Raiders in the third round (No. 75 overall) in the 2016 National Football League Draft on Friday, April 29.
Calhoun becomes the fourth Spartan defensive lineman drafted in Mark Dantonio’s first nine seasons as head coach, joining Ervin Baldwin (2008: Chicago Bears – seventh round), Jerel Worthy (2012: Green Bay Packers – second round) and William Gholston (2013: Tampa Bay Buccaneers – fourth round).
A first-team All-Big Ten for the third year in a row in 2015, Calhoun became the first Spartan defensive lineman in school history to earn first-team honors three times.
The Middletown, New Jersey, native, who was named the 2013 Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year and also earned first-team All-Big Ten accolades in 2013 and 2014, led the Spartans as a senior by recording career highs in sacks (10.5 for 74 yards), tackles for loss (15 for 82 yards) and quarterback hurries (18). His career-high 10.5 sacks (0.75 pg.) ranked third most in the Big Ten and 22nd in the FBS; they also ranked seventh most in an MSU single season.
In addition to becoming the first Spartan defensive lineman to garner first-team All-Big Ten honors three times, Calhoun was just the eighth Spartan in school history to accomplish the feat and the first since linebacker Greg Jones (2008-10).
Calhoun was a finalist for the Ted Hendricks Defensive End of the Year Award and a semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award (college defensive player of the year), Lombardi Award (college lineman of the year) and Lott IMPACT Trophy.
In addition, he was presented the Downtown Coaches Club Award as the outstanding senior on defense.
“A three-time All-American and three-time All-Big Ten selection, Shilique Calhoun was a dominant, disruptive force on the defensive line,” Dantonio said. “He certainly had the flair for providing a spark when the team needed it, with tackles for losses, sacks and blocked field goals. As a three-year starter, Shilique gained an extensive amount of knowledge of our entire defense, and he consistently played hard with great effort and toughness. He was an impact player and his teammates fed off his energy.
“Shilique is a fast learner, who won’t need a lot of reps regardless of the defensive system. He’ll be equally productive in a 3-4 or 4-3 system. Shilique brings it in practice every day, and he plays with an attitude. He had a breakout sophomore year, and he took his game to another level the next three years.”
“Big-time players make big-time plays in big-time games,” MSU defensive line coach Ron Burton said. “Shilique Calhoun really set the tone for our front four in 2015. Not only did Shilique have a huge impact in games, but you could see his teammates really fed off of his infectious energy. That was the storyline all last season. As a fifth-year senior, he really set the bar high for himself. Shilique consistently raised his level of play game after game, and he became a great role model for all of our younger players.” Burton also said, “Shilique Calhoun has great instincts and excellent hands,” MSU defensive line coach Ron Burton said. “He’s a natural pass-rusher and a coach on the field. Shilique is a winner and a leader.”
He matched his season high with six tackles in MSU’s 16-13 victory over No. 4 Iowa in the 2015 Big Ten Championship Game, with three resulting in losses (17 yards) including two sacks (16 yards). Calhoun also was credited with one forced fumble and a QB hurry. The Spartans limited the Hawkeyes to 13 first downs, 52 rushing yards (24 carries) and 268 total yards.
The 6-foot-5, 250-pound Calhoun was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week for the second time in 2015 and third time of his career following his performance in the 27-23 win at No. 12 Michigan on Oct. 17. Calhoun, who wore No. 43 in tribute to injured linebacker Ed Davis, recorded five tackles, including a career-best 3.5 for losses (11 yards) against the Wolverines. His tackles for losses included two sacks (6 yards). The Spartan defense forced Michigan to go three-and-out on six possessions and limited the Wolverines to a season low in total yards (230).
He also was named the Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week after recording a season-high six tackles in No. 2 Michigan State’s 30-10 victory Central Michigan on Sept. 26, with three resulting in losses (24 yards) including 2.5 sacks (24 yards). Calhoun also was credited with four quarterback hurries, one pass break-up and a blocked kick against CMU. He finished the game with a team-high 37 production points, the most by a Spartan defensive player in 2015.
A four-year letterwinner and three-year starter at defensive end (2013-15), Calhoun was one of just four players in the Dantonio era to be elected a team captain twice (Jones, Cousins, Max Bullough). Calhoun finished his career ranked among MSU’s all-time leaders in tackles for loss yardage (first with 268), sacks (second with 27), sack yardage (second with 211), tackles for loss (fourth with 44), fumble recoveries (tied for 10th with five) and forced fumbles (tied for 15th with four). Thirty-four percent of Calhoun’s career tackles went for losses (44 TFLs/131 tackles), and he also had two blocked kicks in his career. In addition, Calhoun is one of three Spartans in school history to score three defensive touchdowns (T.J. Turner; RJ Williamson).
The dynamic playmaker appeared in 54 career games, including a team-high 41 consecutive starts to close his career (42 starts overall). He finished his career tied for the most games played ever by a Spartan (54).
Calhoun earned his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice in December 2015.