The streak continues.
Not that it was in any doubt, but for the 52nd year in a row, a Michigan State Spartans football player was drafted in the NFL Draft as the Pittsburgh Steelers selected corner Justin Layne in the third round.
Layne, a Cleveland native, was a two-year starter for the Spartans at corner. He also spent some of his freshman year as a wide receiver.
Despite only recording one interception in 2018, Layne was a lock-down corner for the Spartans. He was an second-team All-Conference player last season. Layne declared for the NFL Draft following the end of the regular season, passing on the chance to play at the Red Box Bowl.
Like seemingly every good defensive back, Layne is starting his NFL career with a chip on his shoulder. The MSU star slid out of the second round and watched his hometown Cleveland Browns draft a different corner instead.
Justin Layne grew up in Cleveland in a family of Browns fans. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Conflict? Well ... not really. pic.twitter.com/ioNt4gwPlM— Chris Solari (@chrissolari) April 27, 2019
In Pittsburgh, Layne will be teaming up with former rival Devin Bush, who the Steelers drafted in the first round. But when asked about what it would be like to play with the former Michigan linebacker, Layne was nothing but complimentary.
When Layne decided to forgo the Spartans’ bowl game this past season, he left some raw feelings with head coach Mark Dantonio, who said he was “disappointed” in decision. However, after getting drafted, Dantonio was nothing but complimentary to the corner.
Mark Dantonio on Justin Layne pic.twitter.com/vryWVZEsYC— Matt Charboneau (@mattcharboneau) April 27, 2019
After a turbulent 2018 season, the Steelers are looking to return to form and the playoffs. Despite a massively different roster from a star-perspective, including losing former Spartan Le’Veon Bell, Layne was welcomed by one of the few returning Steelers stars.