Athlon projects Michigan No. 5, MSU No. 12 in top-25 rankings

The Detroit News
Shea Patterson

One of those preseason college football publications that start appearing on magazine racks this time of year, Athlon, has Michigan ranked No. 5 and Michigan State at No. 12 in its annual top 25 teams for 2018.

The Wolverines are due for a bounce-back season after last year's disappointing 8-5 campaign under coach Jim Harbaugh, Athlon's Steven Lassan writes.

The arrival of QB Shea Patterson, whose transfer from Ole Miss was approved last month by the NCAA, is the reason for such optimism.

"Patterson has a big-time arm, but his biggest asset to the offense could be mobility," Lassan writes.


Quarterback Brian Lewerke is part of a strong cast of returners for Michigan State next season.

Michigan State's ranking at No. 12 is largely due to the team improving its win total by seven games in 2017 and the return of 19 starters.

QB Brian Lewerke is coming off a stellar 2017 season, averaging 257.8 total yards a game and accounting for 25 total scores.

"He should take another step forward in his development, especially with a receiving corps that ranks among the Big Ten's big and a strong foundation in the trenches," Lassan writes.