MSU linebacker Ed Davis out for season with knee injury

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

East Lansing – Less than one week into preseason camp, Michigan State was dealt a significant blow to a defense that once again is expected to be among the best in the nation.

The Spartans announced on Wednesday that fifth-year senior linebacker Ed Davis suffered a season-ending knee injury midway through practice, the first in full pads. A post-practice MRI confirmed the injury will require surgery.

"We're so disappointed for Ed Davis, and his presence in the lineup will be missed," Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said in a statement. "Ed is a tremendous playmaker and a solid leader. He will still have an important role on this team, and he might have the opportunity to qualify for a sixth year of eligibility."

Big things were expected of Davis this season as he was coming off a 2014 where he earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors while collecting 12 tackles for loss, including seven sacks. He was on this year's Bednarik Award Watch List for the top defensive player in the country and was listed on numerous preseason All-Big Ten teams.

"Our program has faced adversity before, so now it's time to adopt the 'next man up' mentality," Dantonio said. "Ed's season-ending injury provides others with an opportunity to have a positive impact on this team."

Davis led the team with 200 production points during the 2014 regular season and ranked fourth on the team with a career-high 58 tackles.
Who steps in to fill the void at the SAM linebacker spot now becomes one of the biggest questions for the Spartans to answer over the next few weeks before the season-opener Sept. 4 at Western Michigan.

Sophomore Chris Frey will likely get the first crack after seeing substantial time last year as a true freshman while Tyriq Thompson, a freshman who enrolled last spring, could get a shot as well. Sophomore transfer Drake Martinez, who has been working primarily at the STAR position, could get a look as well as redshirt freshman T.J. Harrell. Backup middle linebacker Shane Jones, a sophomore, has also worked on the outside.