Michigan State wide receiver Aaron Burbridge became the fourth Spartan taken in the NFL draft when the San Francisco 49ers selected him with the 38th pick of the sixth round and 213th overall on Saturday.
The Big Ten Receiver of the Year in 2015, Burbridge had a Michigan State record 85 catches for 1,258 yards and seven touchdowns.
“He has small hands but sure hands,” ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said. “He was the MVP of his football team and gave Connor Cook a go-to option this year. He was a great player in his final campaign. He started slowly but evolved into a player that caught everything thrown his way.”
Burbridge was named Michigan State’s MVP in a vote of the player’s at last weekend’s banquet. He finished his career with 165 catches for 2,174 yards and 10 touchdowns in 51 career games.
A first-team All-Big Ten selection by the coaches and media and an honorable mention All-American by SI.com, Burbridge became just the third Spartan to lead the Big Ten in receiving yards (Charles Rogers, 2002; Tony Lippett, 2014) and only the second to lead the conference in receptions (Kirk Gibson, 1976 and 1978). Burbridge also led the team and ranked ninth in the Big Ten in all-purpose yards (1,302; 93.0 yards per game).
Burbridge also ranked among Michigan State's single-season leaders in 100-yard receiving games (tied for second with seven). His seven 100-yard receiving games, which included a stretch of four straight (Rutgers, Michigan, Indiana, Nebraska), were one shy of the MSU single-season record set by B.J. Cunningham in 2011.
He also led Michigan State in receiving in 12 of 14 games and had 21 receptions of 20-plus yards. Sixty-one of his 85 catches resulted in either a touchdown or first down (72 percent).
“Aaron Burbridge emerged as a dynamic playmaker in the passing game and played his best football as a senior,” Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said. “He made a ton of 50/50 receptions, gained a lot of yards after the catch and he’d go up and catch the ball in a crowd. Aaron definitely took advantage of most of his one-on-one opportunities and made big play after big play last season.”