It just keeps getting harder and harder to think of possibly parting ways with such incredible talent…
Despite their lackluster 6-6 record on the year, the Michigan State Spartans proved they were anything but devoid of talent with the announcement on Monday that five of the Spartans’ players, including star running back Le’Veon Bell, have been named to the All-Big Ten first team.
Joining Bell on for the honors are senior cornerback Johnny Adams, junior cornerback Darqueze Dennard, junior linebacker Max Bullough, and sophomore punter Mike Sadler.
Not-entirely surprising is the absence of junior defensive end William Gholston, who has not quite had the year he had hoped for, especially at a time when impressing NFL scouts was so clearly paramount. Gholston was named by the media as a second-team pick, as was junior tight end Dion Sims, who was selected for the second-team by the media, as well as the coaches.
Bell was selected-unanimously by the coaches and media alike for the first team and is thought to be heavily-weighing his options for forgoing his senior season at MSU in an effort to get the jump in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Bell leads the nation in carries with 350 for 1,648 yards and comes in at third for rushing yards per game with 137.3. In addition, he ranks 15th in all purpose yards per game with 155.5. The numbers he has produced this year alone mark Bell among the top ten single-season totals in Michigan State history.
“Le’Veon Bell finished the regular season as the Big Ten’s leading rusher,” Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said. “He was a workhorse throughout the season and he finished strong. Le’Veon provided consistent production, and over the last three games, he really showed what he could do once he got to the second level of the defense.”
Max Bullough, who hails from a long line of Spartan alumni, is a semifinalist for the Butkus Award and leads the team in both tackles (102) and tackles for loss (12 for 44 yards). Dantonio, who is a defensive coach by pedigree, knows the values of having someone as talented as Bullough on his team, despite their final regular season record.
“I can’t say enough about Max Bullough,” Dantonio said. “He’s a great team leader, and he thoroughly prepares for every game. Max is a tough, downhill player, who consistently performs at a high level. He’s great in pass coverage too.”
It comes as no surprise either to see cornerback Johnny Adam’s name once-again on the All-Big Ten first team’s list. After his two-interception effort in the regular season-finale against Minnesota, it seemed an obvious choice for the voters to make. This is his second year on the first team and marks the first time since John Miller (1987-88) that a Michigan State defensive back has been named to the first team in back-to-back seasons.
“Johnny Adams is a three-time All-Big Ten selection and that speaks volumes,” Dantonio said. “We constantly put him on an island and he responded to the challenge. He’s an active player with big-play capability.”
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