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MSU's depth chart on defensive line unclear

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News
Evan Jones, right, is listed as a starting defensive end against Furman.

East Lansing – While Michigan State released its depth chart for Friday’s season-opener against Furman, it doesn’t exactly indicate concrete starters in every position.

Some are a given, like Tyler O’Connor at quarterback, Malik McDowell at defensive tackle and Riley Bullough at middle linebacker.

But at positions like defensive line, there is still plenty to be determined.

Graduate transfer Kevin Williams is listed as the starter at defensive tackle ahead of redshirt freshman Raequan Williams and true freshman Mike Panasiuk. But all three are expected to play and the Williams duo could be called co-starters, coach Mark Dantonio said at his weekly news conference.

“I'm not ready to announce anybody as a starter, either, at this point,” Dantonio said. “(Kevin Williams is) in the mix. He's a co-starter. Whether he starts or whether one of those other two guys start in there is really -- will be determined at game time. I can just say he's had a great camp. He can play at a very high level, and he fits in our scheme. He’s going to be a good player for us and then we'll have to see whether he does actually start the game or not start the game.

“But listing on the depth chart, really, we've just got to put somebody in there first, so we'll start from there.”

Junior Demetrius Cooper seems solid at one end, though graduate transfer Gabe Sherrod is listed No. 2 and should see some time while true freshman Josh King might also get a look. At the other end, fifth-year senior Evan Jones is the listed starter but freshman Auston Robertson and sophomore Robert Bowers are pushing.

Bullough and Jon Reschke are solid starters at linebacker while Chris Frey and sophomore Andrew Dowell are both listed as starters at the STAR linebacker spot. With Ed Davis’ status still up in the air, junior Shane Jones is No. 2 behind Reschke on the outside while sophomore Byron Bullough has moved up to No. 2 behind his brother.

The secondary starters are also set, but the backups are battling. Sophomore Tyson Smith is No. 2 at one corner with redshirt freshmen Josh Butler and David Dowell No. 2 at the other corner. Sophomores Khari Willis and Grayson Miller are the No. 2 safeties.

Offense is more set, though which freshman wide receivers will play is still up in the air. There’s no doubt Donnie Corley will play, Dantonio said, but for Cam Chambers, Justin Layne and Trishton Jackson, the jury is still out.

“I don't anticipate those guys playing if we're way ahead, unless we're going to play them the rest of the year and I can't say that,” Dantonio said. “Donnie Corley is going to play. The other three, we'll see what happens. They may play, they may not. We're going to see how that all shakes out as we move forward here. Probably this game, maybe next.”

All three running backs – sophomores LJ Scott and Madre London and junior Gerald Holmes – are co-starters with senior Delton Williams and graduate transfer Prescott Line co-starters at fullback.

Junior Damion Terry is No. 2 at quarterback with redshirt freshman Brian Lewerke No. 3. Senior R.J. Shelton, fifth-year senior Monty Madaris and sophomore Felton Davis are the starting receivers.

mcharboneau@detroitnews.com

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