Grad transfer, Michigan native Line a ‘thumper’ for MSU

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News
Prescott Line blocks for LJ Scott against Furman.

East Lansing – When you think about what a fullback should look like, there’s a pretty good chance Prescott Line fits the bill.

At 6-foot and 253 pounds, the Oxford native is the perfect size, and with the temperament to knock people into next week, he’s already turning out to be the perfect fit for No. 12 Michigan State as it takes its bye this week before heading to Notre Dame on Sept. 17.

“He is a thumper,” Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said. “He is a big, physical guy. He gets on you and he is 255 pounds, so he is a load. I think he brings another element to our offense.

“I thought he played very, very well in the game (against Furman). He's a football player.”

It was enough to earn Line the start in his first game with the Spartans, something that took a bit longer than it would for most players coming out of high school. Line grew up a Michigan State fan, but he was first offered a scholarship at SMU, so he headed to Texas.

It was a fairly successful three seasons for Line, who even led the Mustangs in rushing in 2013 with 332 yards on 90 carries. But after four years of playing far from home, Line was looking for the opportunity to head home, and the Spartans needed a fullback. It seemed like the perfect fit, and by the summer, Line was on campus as a graduate transfer.

It all became worth it for Line when he ran out of the tunnel at Spartan Stadium before Michigan State’s season-opening victory against Furman.

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“There were a few butterflies running through the stomach,” Line said, “but once you get out on the field and play it kind of goes away and then you’re in a zone. But overall, coming out of the tunnel was a great experience.

“There are double the fans from what there is at SMU. We only had 35,000 a game, so it was definitely a great experience.”

Line said in addition to his immediate family there were about 30 friends from high school in the stands, something that was virtually impossible at SMU considering the closest he came to playing in Michigan during his time with the Mustangs was in Cincinnati.

And now that he’s back near those that mean the most to him, Line is focusing on doing what he can to help the Spartans win games.

“Learning everything at first was kind of tough,” Line said. “But after the first week it started to get pretty easy, a lot of muscle memory. Now they call off a play and it snaps right in your head, so it wasn’t that tough after a while.”

Line’s older brother, Zach Line, also went to SMU and this is his fourth season as a fullback with the Minnesota Vikings.

Senior Delton Williams will also see some time at fullback, but for now Line is the muscle, a bit of a contrast to Williams, whose history is at tailback.

“He provides probably more shock than we’ve had at that position in a few years,” co-offensive coordinator and running backs coach Dave Warner said of Line. “So he’s able to move people. … He’s a guy that we’re excited to see out there because he could give us a little more power than we’ve had at that position.”

Line can even mix in the occasional carry. He got one in the opener, more than Trevon Pendleton got last season, but he’s content to pave the way for the tailbacks, namely sophomore LJ Scott.

“That guy, he hits the hole and makes something out of nothing every time,” Line said. “I love blocking for that guy and I just try to do whatever I can for him.”

Twitter @mattcharboneau