Michigan State cornerback Justin Layne will forgo his senior season in East Lansing and enter the NFL Draft, he announced Friday night.
This is bad news for Michigan State fans hoping to see him in green and white for another season, but the Spartan faithful will be happy to see Layne live out his dream, and to send another defensive back to the NFL.
Layne — who was recruited as a four-star wide receiver out of Cleveland — emerged as a shutdown cornerback for MSU. He made the transition from wide receiver to cornerback during his freshman season, but has played both spots in 2018.
Layne has ideal size and length for NFL teams at 6-foot-3, and is a top-10 player at his position in the 2019 draft according to ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper. He had a very good senior season with 72 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks and one interception. He also recorded 15 pass breakups, which was tied for the most in Big Ten.
Clearly one of the best coverage cornerbacks in the conference, take a glimpse at some of his advanced statistics, courtesy of Pro Football Focus. All of this was without his running mate Josiah Scott playing opposite of him for the majority of the season.
Michigan State's Justin Layne allowed just 0.74 yards for EVERY snap he spent in coverage this season pic.twitter.com/HpYBGjs2gr— PFF College (@PFF_College) December 14, 2018
Throughout his career, Layne recorded 130 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 0.5 stats, three interceptions, 24 pass breakups, one forced fumble and one defensive touchdown. He recorded just one catch in his career, which came against Purdue this season. Layne played in 31 games as a Spartan.
Layne did not indicate whether or not he would play in the Red Box Bowl on Dec. 31 against Oregon.
Good luck, Justin, you’ll make a great pro. Go Green!