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Newsbits: Football News and Teleconference Quotes

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Catching up on the beginning of the 2015 football off-season

We'll miss you Trae
We'll miss you Trae
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

As I am sure you guys have noticed, stories have been a little slower here at The Only Colors, with the holidays, finals weeks and a search for a new manager we are going through some transition. As you may (or may not) know I typically stick to hockey around here since it is the only sports I played competitively (18 years), coached and watch with a scouts' eye. However, I want to step up here and get involved more so I decided to occasionally drop in with some football posts and news as we transition from the 2014 season to a 2015 off-season and look ahead to next season. Trust me you want me to stay away from basketball analysis (seeing as I rarely catch a game) but hopefully these pieces will be able to satisfy that football craving you have year round!

Trae Waynes declares for the NFL draft

Junior cornerback Trae Waynes announced Monday that he will not be returning to Michigan State next season and will be entering the NFL draft. Waynes is ranked 23rd by ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper and the latest SB Nation mock draft had Waynes projected to the Pittsburgh Steelers at 22. Losing Waynes is certainly a blow to the MSU secondary, but probably something that both the staff and fans have been preparing for. On an academic note, Waynes has just three classes left to complete his degree, according to coach Mark Dantonio, and will likely complete those online or over a future summer. Waynes has already left the state for California to train for the upcoming NFL combine and pro days.

Connor Cook back, Shilique Calhoun Undecided

During his teleconference wrapping up the 2015 Cotton Bowl Classic, coach Dantonio took some time to talk about his three junior players with early draft entry potential. As previously mentioned Trae Waynes has already declared and has left for California to do pre-draft preparations. Connor Cook is coming back as previously mentioned leading up to the game prompting coach Dantonio to say this:

Very excited, extremely excited that Connor Cook is coming back for his senior year. We have a quarterback who's a record-setting quarterback, who's been the MVP of the Rose Bowl, the Big Ten Championship Game as a sophomore and has had a very productive year this year as well. Second team all-conference guy coming back to lead your football team is a huge, huge lift for our football team. I think that that will pay dividends for him and pay dividends for this football team as well.

The other junior player that is a flight risk of course, is standout defensive lineman Shilique Calhoun. Calhoun has not made his decision yet on whether to enter the draft and is utilizing the information the Spartan staff has gathered for him. January 15,2015 is the day to declare for the draft.

Staff Developments

In the lead up to the Cotton Bowl Harlon Barnett and Mike Tressel were promoted to co-defensive coordinators. This has led to a need to hire at least one more coach on staff for next season, which prompted Dantonio to say this:

I think it's important that every staff has checks and balances within it. I'm sort of the checks and balances within the secondary. You know, so we'll probably hire a front seven guy, the way it looks like, and we'll make that decision earlier rather than later. That's my opinion. And when we're sure and we've had all the Ts crossed and Is dotted, then we'll announce that. But obviously Michigan State's a great place and it's a great destination and we can attract some outstanding quality coaches.

There has been no news of other staff changes, either leaving to join Pat Narduzzi at Pittsburgh or otherwise but that will be something to monitor.

Harbaugh

Coach Dantonio of course was asked about how competing with Michigan will change now that Jim Harbaugh has arrived in Ann Arbor. While giving Harbaugh his due I think we can all agree this was a pretty coach D answer here:

Nobody hires bad coaches. There are no bad coaches out there. Very, very good coaches coach in this conference, including Coach Hoke and Coach Rodriguez, so it's a challenge. Inevitably the top players play on the field. Coach Harbaugh is an excellent coach. He's got a tremendous track record, we all understand that. It will be the next challenge for us. But we compete against Michigan regardless of who's there on a daily basis, we understand that here.

Plenty to monitor as the Spartans head into the draft, pro days, combine, signing day and spring practices so I hope to stop by and keep you posted on all the news.