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Friday MSU football notebook: Hartbarger, Sowards earn 6th year; Bridges moves to WR

Let’s recap the week in MSU football news

NCAA Football: Michigan State at Arizona State Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Jake Hartbarger and Brandon Sowards were each granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA, becoming the second and third players under Mark Dantonio to receive such news. The other player was Ed Davis in the season that is never to be spoken of (whispers: 2016).

In his four years at MSU, Hartbarger has been crucial to the Spartans by averaging 42.1 yards per punt. Before his knee was obliterated last year at Arizona State, he was averaging 48.8 yards on six attempts. And, let’s face it, we all now know how important that punting position is after last season.

Sowards production saw 18 catches for 201 yards last season as his return to MSU will add to the wide receiver depth which, again, is really deemed important after last season. And believe me, I get it – he wasn’t necessarily fun to watch as a punt returner. I’m sure I gave the children sitting around me at Spartan Stadium new words to bring back to the playground on some weekends. But if I was a betting man (which I am) I would put money on Jalen Nailor taking over the punt returning duties this year.

Weston Bridges moves to WR

The wide receiver corps is getting another player as junior Weston Bridges moves to that group from running back. It’s been a tough for the Akron-based player as he’s sustained two ACL injuries in the last three years, but hopefully this position change will give him a boost.

A week after the NFL Draft

Now that the draft dust has settled, there’s some buzz (for better or for worse) around a few MSU players. The Pittsburgh Steelers still have yet to sign Justin Layne and the Indianapolis Colts haven’t signed Khari Willis yet, but I doubt there’s anything to be worried about on that front.

Felton Davis apparently made a great catch in Kansas City’s camp, which is just another day for him.

LJ Scott was reported to be a UDFA signing for the Baltimore Ravens, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. He was just a minicamp tryout that didn’t get signed. I have zero idea if Scott has any regrets, but I’m wondering if ruining a shot at a fifth year of eligibility just to play in the coveted RedBox Bowl was the right idea.

Lewerke finding mentorship in Cousins

Back in the days of Kirk Cousins playing for the green and white, Drew Stanton reached out to him as a mentor during a tough time.

It’s no secret that Brian Lewerke could use some sort of mentor...and now that’s exactly what he has in Cousins. The Free Press has a great piece on it from Chris Solari which is worth a read right here.