MSU football 2018: Key returnees, losses, incoming freshmen

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News
LJ Scott rolls into the end zone for a touchdown in the fourth quarter against Washington State.

Here are three top returnees, three big losses and three key incoming freshmen for Michigan State.


RB LJ Scott: Much like Connor Cook and Shilique Calhoun in 2015, getting a player like Scott back for his senior season is as big as any recruit. Scott finished with 927 yards and eight touchdowns and has led MSU in rushing each of his three seasons. He now sits 12th in career rushing yards with 2,591.

QB Brian Lewerke: The sophomore had his share of ups and downs in his first full season as a starter but the highs far outweighed the lows and showed he could be the next great signal-caller at MSU. Lewerke twice threw for more than 400 yards in a game this season and finished the second-most total offensive yards in a season in program history with 3,352, trailing only Drew Stanton, who gained 3,415 in 2005.

LB Joe Bachie: The sophomore quickly established himself as one of the best linebackers in the Big Ten, finishing with 100 tackles and being named the team MVP in a vote from the players, the first sophomore to win the award since Stanton in 2004. The third-team All-Big Ten performer also had 10.5 tackles for loss, three interceptions and two forced fumbles.

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C Brian Allen: It’s tough to quantify what an offensive lineman means to a team, but Allen’s steady presence was obvious all season. He was surrounded by inexperience along the offensive line but led the group’s steady progress. His quiet, confident demeanor will be tough to replace as his brother, Matt, likely steps in as the next starter at center.

LB Chris Frey: The outside linebacker didn’t have the production he had last season, but his tutelage of Joe Bachie and the other young linebackers was critical, as was his leadership throughout the season. His intensity was tough to match, but plenty of young players on defense followed his lead.

RB Gerald Holmes: The fifth-year senior was around for the Rose Bowl in 2013 and was at the center of MSU’s revival last winter as he organized plenty of team activities to rebuild chemistry. He didn’t get quite the carries that Scott did, but he started 14 of 39 games in his career and finished with 1,303 yards and 14 touchdowns.

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DB Kalon Gervin: The No. 1 player on The Detroit News Blue Chip list, Gervin will have a chance to make in impact early, even with plenty of youth in the Michigan State secondary. He’s enrolling early, so this winter and spring will provide chances to separate himself.

TE Trenton Gillison: One of the first members of Michigan State’s 2018 class, the athletic Gillison has also played defensive end and is a standout baseball player. But his first shot will be at tight end, a place the Spartans will be looking to add production.

LB Chase Kline: An inside backer ranked as a four-star by Rivals, Kline also can play on the outside and could have the ability to play defensive end. With Chris Frey graduating and Andrew Dowell entering his senior season, there could be an opportunity for Kline to crack the rotation.


Aug. 31, Utah State

Sept. 8, at Arizona State

Sept. 22, at Indiana

Sept. 29, Central Michigan

Oct. 6, Northwestern

Oct. 13, at Penn State

Oct. 20, Michigan

Oct. 27, Purdue

Nov. 3, at Maryland

Nov. 10, Ohio State

Nov. 17, at Nebraska

Nov. 24, Rutgers