Spartan freshman WR Corley likely to see action
East Lansing — How many true freshmen see the field for Michigan State on Friday night remains to be seen, but there is no doubt about one.
Wide receiver Donnie Corley will be part of the game plan when No. 12 Michigan State takes on Furman at 7 p.m. at Spartan Stadium.
“Donnie Corley is going to play,” Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said Tuesday.
It’s hard to be clearer than that, but Corley, a Detroit King High School standout, has been putting himself in this position since last spring after enrolling early. He impressed the staff then, and picked up where he left off in preseason camp.
He’s listed as the backup to fifth-year senior Monty Madaris.
“He’s such a raw talent,” quarterback Tyler O’Connor said. “He can go up and get the ball. If I think I’ve overthrown it or put it too high, he goes up and gets it. So it’s like, ‘I can do that again.’ I can throw it 10 feet up there or aim for the bottom of the goal post and he can go up and get it.”
The Spartans hope to get him the ball often, much like they will with senior R.J. Shelton.
“He is just a very athletic person,” O’Connor said. “It’s the same thing with R.J. We want to get the ball to him in space because just when you think he is about to get tackled, he’ll squeak out of something and make something that looks like nothing and turn it into 8 or 10 yards. He is very explosive.”
Whether fellow freshmen Cam Chambers, Justin Layne or Trishton Jackson follow Corley is something that will take time to figure out.
“It’s tough because when you look at freshmen, you want to make sure they are going to play a lot of time this fall, a lot of snaps,” Dantonio said. “So if you’re going to put a guy in there for one or two plays and not play him the rest of the year, I don’t think that’s good. So we have to make a determination as we move forward.
“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.”
Another spot to watch is on the defensive line. Tackle Mike Panasiuk has played his way into the rotation while ends Josh King and Auston Robertson are knocking on the door.
“I think Panasiuk has put himself in a position where he will play Friday night,” Dantonio said. “(The) other guys, do we redshirt them, do we not? We may have to wait and see.”
Michigan State officials still are waiting on word from the NCAA on whether linebacker Ed Davis will be granted a sixth season of eligibility.
Davis completed his final class toward graduation a little more than a week ago and is preparing as if he’ll play at some point this season. He missed all of 2015 after injuring his knee in preseason camp.
“Waiting on the paperwork and he’ll continue to progress because he isn’t allowed to practice,” Dantonio said. “He’s progressing in terms of getting his knee right and just getting back into shape. We’ll see where that’s at here. We should know something very soon.”
... Junior Damion Terry was listed as the No. 2 quarterback on the depth chart, while redshirt freshman Brian Lewerke is No. 3. There’s a chance one or both could play Friday, but there is no set plan at this point.