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East Lansing — Michigan State continued its preparation for its season opener against Utah State on Friday night, and on Tuesday, the picture became clearer as to how the Spartans would line up.

Coach Mark Dantonio released the first depth chart of the season, and while there weren’t many questions to be answered, there at least some things worth noting.

The biggest on the defensive side of the ball is confirming junior cornerback Josh Butler will start in place of the injured Josiah Scott, who is likely to miss at least the first four games. He’s backed up by sophomore Tre Person and freshman Kalon Gervin. At defensive end, sophomore Jacub Panasiuk got the nod over sophomore Drew Beesley and junior Matt Seybert. At the other end, junior Kenny Willekes is backed up by redshirt freshman Jack Camper and junior Justice Alexander.

The SAM linebacker spot, also called the "money" linebacker, has been a hotly contested battle. Both junior Tyriq Thompson and sophomore Brandon Randle are listed as starters, while sixth-year senior Jon Reschke is the backup.

On offense, junior Tyler Higby locked up the center spot ahead of sophomore Matt Allen, though Allen is listed No. 2 at right guard behind sophomore Kevin Jarvis. Junior Cole Chewins and sophomore Luke Campbell are listed as co-starters at left tackle while Campbell and sophomore Jordan Reid are co-starters at right tackle. David Beedle is the starter at left guard.

In the backfield, senior LJ Scott is the clear starter at tailback, followed by sophomore Connor Heyward. From there it’s redshirt freshman Weston Bridges or freshman La’Darius Jefferson, followed by freshman Elijah Collins.

mcharboneau@detroitnews.com

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