Five impact freshmen for Michigan State
Matt Charboneau of The Detroit News breaks down five freshmen who could make a difference for the Spartans this season.
• Donnie Corley: The highly recruited receiver out of Detroit King High enrolled early at Michigan State and has been impressing the coaching staff since spring workouts. The Spartans have a definite need at wide receiver and more than one freshman could contribute, but there seems little doubt Corley will be included. He’s also spent time in preseason camp working as a punt and kick returner, and somewhere down the road could end up playing some defense in the secondary.
• Thiyo Lukusa: It’s not very often a true freshman plays on the offensive line and current junior guard Brian Allen is an example, but it seems Lukusa, the 6-foot-5, 330-pound Traverse City native has put himself in position to be the next. He’s likely not on track to start anytime soon, but he has worked his way into the rotation that offensive line coach Mark Staten likes to use. Lukusa could see plenty of action in the first few weeks at either tackle or guard.
• Mike Panasiuk: The Spartans brought in their share of freshman defensive linemen this season, most of them highly touted. Panasiuk fits that bill and after a productive preseason camp, the physical 300-pounder appears to be in position to contribute on the interior of the defensive line. He’ll battle the likes of graduate transfer Kevin Williams and redshirt freshman Raequan Williams as well as sophomores Enoch Smith Jr. and Gerald Owens, but he’s shown the toughness to be a factor for the Spartans.
• Cam Chambers/Trishton Jackson: Yes, that’s two players, but each receiver will have a chance to play early. Fellow freshman Justin Layne could even be thrown in, as well, though he missed some time early in camp with an injury and could be just a bit behind. One will almost certainly get an opportunity and Chambers has the advantage of going through spring camp, but Jackson has impressed the staff in his short time on campus.
• Auston Robertson/Josh King: We’ll stick with the same format here as both defensive ends have had their moments in preseason camp and both will likely get at least a crack at the field in the first few weeks. The Spartans lost both starting ends from last season and expect a lot from junior Demetrius Cooper while planning to play Malik McDowell plenty at end, which leaves the door open for some younger players to provide depth. Robertson and King both have the ability to be that guy.