Kenny Willekes is ready for the NFL. In fact, if not for an injury in the dumpster fire that was the Redbox Bowl, he’d be training with a pro team right now.
But, as Willekes says in the latest hype video from DeBeau Digital, everything happens for a reason. The former walk-on is not only returning to the Michigan State Spartans, he’s set to the heart and soul of a defense that should be dominant.
Willekes will start the season as a force coming off the edge for MSU. The defensive end became an All-American after finishing with 78 tackles, 20.5 for a loss and eight of those were sacks. He also forced a fumble, recovered one and recorded his first career interception.
But just as important as the plays he made was the disruption he caused in the opposition’s backfield. In Mark Dantonio’s defense, creating pressure is key. It saves the defensive backs who are often left on islands against receivers and directly leads to turnovers all over the field. For the last two seasons, Willekes has been one of the most important players in that role.
Willekes is coming off of a season where he was one of the most decorated defensive linemen in recent program history. This year, however, he hopes to pair that talent with a new level of leadership.
“Being a leader on this team, we gotta be better than we were last year as a team overall,” Willekes said, according to the Detroit Free Press. “That’s my biggest focus. Me personally, my personal goals, those aren’t really my main goals. My main goal are improving as a team and getting back to the Big Ten championship.”
The Spartans defense returns all but two starters from last year’s team. While Willekes will undoubtedly receive plenty of early focus, his defensive teammates are too talented to throw constant attention at the senior. In his final year with MSU, Willekes should be on a mission to be the next great Spartans defender.