The War Room:  Go Inside #5 Michigan State Football

I get a lot of nuggets and information that alone are not big enough for a story.  When I have a few that I can assemble together I will, and when I only have one or two I will post them on our Phalanx Forum board.  So welcome to The War Room.

  • I reported several months ago that I expected Jon Reschke to return to Spartan Football this fall.
  • That reporting sent shock waves out, but I said at the time that I had nothing else to say and I do not. That is an announcement that we will be waiting for from the program.
  • With that said, I have not changed my opinion one bit. I do expect him back and in great shape ready to compete.
  • Antjuan Simmons is a name that Spartan Nation has written a lot about. We even reported first that he would miss the spring.
  • We also reported that we expected him to compete and win the “Money” linebacker role that Chris Frey left vacant with his move to the NFL. Something Frey also said on Spartan Nation Radio.
  • Here is some interesting information from inside the Duffy. I now anticipate that Simmons will back up Andrew Dowell the starting “Star” linebacker.  This is NOT because of any failure by Simmons.  He is a truly amazing player with next level potential.
  • Even Dantonio said AFTER the spring game that they had played that game, “Without our starting linebackers.”
  • The Simmons, Dowell, and Chris Bachie starting linebacker group was the thought inside the Duffy. But here is the inside scoop.
  • Tyriq Thompson had a good spring, but since spring has taken his preparation and practice to another level. His emergence I believe will give him a good shot at the “Money” starter’s job when the season begins.
  • I do expect Thompson to be in a real battle to keep that job after the season starts. The “Money” battle is going to be really fun one to watch.  Big props to Thompson who has always been a terrific young man, for putting himself in this spot to battle.
  • Cody White and Felton Davis III are getting a lot of attention and they should, but lost a little bit is Darrell Stewart. Well, Stewart isn’t lost inside the Duffy.  I think come to the heart of the season, Spartan Nation and the Spartans’ opponents are going to be surprised at how much he is going to figure into the game plan.  In MANY creative ways.
  • Adam Berghorst & Michael Fletcher give the Spartans the best DE recruiting 1-2 punch in the nation. The Spartans got both of their Plan-A guys.  Know there will be some other teams with as good of a 1-2 class, but no one better.  Both (barely seniors in high school) would compete to play this year.  They are special, long, athletic, and possess amazing work ethics.
  • MSU has 20 returning starters from their offense and defense. Add to it a myriad of experienced backup talent.  This team is loaded.
  • Jalen Nailor won four Class 4A state track titles in the state of Nevada this past school year. Expectations are really high for him.  Could he win the 4th WR spot?  Something to watch.  There is a ton of talent fighting for #4 for he will get a shot.
  • Nailor won the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.70. That is supersonic.  He is a baller.  Does that speed translate with bigger DB’s pushing him around?  As the 4th WR (if he gets the chance) on a WR group that is loaded, he would get a lot of single coverage.
  • MSU is paying Western Kentucky $1.5 million for the Oct. 2, 2021 game at the High Cathedral of the Spartan Nation: Spartan Stadium.  Startling numbers.
  • One very special thing this summer for Spartan football and the staff has been with a deep and experienced team and recruiting going so well, they have had a lot of time as a staff to look at themselves.
  • After last season’s loss to Northwestern, OC Dave Warner dialed up the heat after Dantonio allowed him to and the Spartans were a different team. I expect the foot to stay on the gas.
  • The depth of this staff has let them look at ALL of the game plans on defense, offense, and special teams. You are going to see as the season rolls along some exciting new wrinkles.
  • Top to bottom this is the very best staff Dantonio has ever had. I am not saying that they haven’t had a better coach at one position or the other, but simply looking at the sum of their parts this is the best Coach Dantonio staff at MSU, and it isn’t close.
  • It is humorous to me the “take” from people looking at this 2019 class in recruiting. I said OVER ONE YEAR ago that I thought it would be the best of the Dantonio era and I never wavered.  It is shaping up to be that.  They don’t have a lot of spots left and they are being real PICKY.  There are some very good players that had early offers that would not be taken now.
  • I never understand players that wait after getting a dream offer, only to end up not being able to be with the team of their “Dreams” because of their pride.
  • Another under the radar Spartan is Jake Hartbarger. As the MSU offense took off (after Northwestern) last year his numbers were not as great because he was punting from better field position and had to place the ball more than punt it.  But the facts are the facts and he is a weapon.  He will get a shot in the NFL.
  • Had a great conversation with Cole Chewins recently. I have always liked Cole personally and respected him as a great player.  But I can tell you I almost didn’t recognize him.  He has totally reshaped his body.  He looked like Jack Conklin.  Cole is entering 2018 on a mission.
  • Prior to the end of last season, I made my prediction on this year’s captains and asked you to write it down. I said at the time that Joe Bachie, Khari Willis, and Brian Lewerke would be your captains.  Hope you wrote that down.
  • Speaking of Lewerke, the biggest knock against him and it was a fair criticism was accuracy and how he would throw as in technique. His performance in 7 on 7 with his teammates has been lights out.  He has been “Spinning” it as good as anyone.  In fact one player told me, “He has worked his (rear end) off.  You make a cut and it is there.  Not sure what he has done, but I haven’t seen a bad ball all summer.”
  • Multiple NFL people have told me that if Lewerke fixed his technique and accuracy he would be on the radar “Immediately” and it appears that he has. Good for him.
  • Khari Willis is a great player. He has proven that.  More importantly, he is an awesome person.  I am not sure if there is a player on this team more universally respected or loved by players or staff.
  • Speaking of Willis I heard a story that speaks to his character as a man. A person who works at the Duffy told me, “No one was around, no media coaches or anybody.  I caught him picking up some things that the new (2018 class) freshman had left lying around.  He didn’t have to pick up and no one was around, but that is how he is.  Super thoughtful of other people.  He doesn’t have to care.  There are people like me that get paid to do that, but he isn’t that way.  He is a super person.”
  • I will have another War Room article exactly two weeks from today, July 27th. Don’t miss it!  I will have several things I can report then that I have to hold back on now.

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