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Brian Lewerke expected to hear his name called during the NFL Draft. However, seven rounds came and went and the former Michigan State quarterback was left on the board.

By Sunday afternoon, however, Lewerke had found his next stop, one that brings him together with another former Spartan and offers plenty of opportunity. The three-year starter for the Spartans signed as a free agent with the New England Patriots, who are entering life without Tom Brady for the first time in 20 years.

Lewerke, the last quarterback to start for Mark Dantonio at Michigan State, joins Brian Hoyer, the first quarterback to start for Dantonio at Michigan State. Hoyer, a longtime NFL backup who has started 39 career games, is in his third stint with New England. He was signed as insurance for Jarrett Stidham, a fourth-round pick from last year’s NFL Draft. The Patriots also reportedly signed Louisiana Tech quarterback J’Mar Smith, who also went undrafted.

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Lewerke is Michigan State’s all-time leader in total yards (9,548) but was hampered by a shoulder injury suffered halfway through the 2018 season while playing in an offense that ranked among the worst in the nation. He also entered the draft process with some questioning his accuracy as he completed only 57.7 percent of his passes.

He also never took off after an impressive sophomore season in 2017 when he threw for 2,793 yards and 20 touchdowns while running for 559 yards and another five touchdowns. He suffered an injury to his throwing shoulder six games into the 2018 season but bounced back last season by throwing for 3,079 yards and 17 touchdowns.

mcharboneau@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @mattcharboneau

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