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MSU football: 5 defensive players to watch this Spring Game

Defense wins championships. And spring games.

NCAA Football: Indiana at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Alright, we’ve already covered the offensive side of the ball for today’s Spring Game at 5 p.m.

Here’s the five defensive players that interest us the most heading into this April game.

Let’s dive right into it...

Mike Panasiuk

To say that junior Mike Panasiuk is getting some shine this offseason would be a stark understatement.

It looks like Panasiuk is coming hot off his honorable mention Big Ten Team season, which can bring this defensive line to the next level. Not sure how much he’ll get to play during the Spring Game, but he’s certainly worth watching while he is on the field.

Someone with the last name Alexander

With Demetrius Cooper gone, someone needs to step up and be the partner-in-crime opposite of Kenny Willekes at defensive end.

Could it be senior Dillon Alexander, who started two games last year? Or junior Justice Alexander, who coaches seem to be liking this spring?

The Spring Game won’t definitively tell us who will get the starting job, but it will give us a great look into that battle.

NCAA Football: Michigan State at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Randle

Strong-side linebacker Chris Frey has graduated, which leaves a big hole open.

With sophomore Brandon Randle now solely focusing on linebacker, he becomes a strong candidate to take that starting job after playing in 13 games last year as a freshman.

He won’t be alone in his journey to become starter as his main competition is...

Tyriq Thompson

Junior Tyriq Thompson played in 12 games last season, giving him solid experience coming into this linebacker battle. Here’s what co-defensive coordinator Mike Tressel had to say about the battle between Thompson and Randle according to MLive.

“They both bring different qualities to the table,” Tressel said. “Brandon is a little more of a slippery, blitz, bend-the-edge guy. Tyriq is a little bit more of a thumper with more experience and probably a little bit more football knowledge at the linebacker position right now. Those two are the ones competing at that spot as of now. There’s obviously other options.”

Kalon Gervin

The defensive backfield is absolutely STACKED with Josiah Scott, Justin Layne, Khari Willis and David Dowell all returning.

Gervin — an early enrollee true freshman — was the crown gem of this year’s recruiting class. The buzz around East Lansing has been optimistic with Gervin, who would give the Spartans an absolute embarrassment of riches if he can prove himself as a capable player this early in his career.