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The Only Debate: Which position group on offense is best for MSU football?

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We state the case. You cast the vote.

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

Let’s have a little Friday debate here as we get to within two weeks of kickoff.

The premise is simple — who is the most talented position group on offense?

We lay out what the picture for each group looks like, and it’s up for you to decide in our very scientific poll at the bottom.

Let’s get into it.

OFFENSIVE LINE

This is, without question, the unit with the most experience. Now, that experience comes from injury misfortune in the last two seasons, including the 2019 season where six different combinations were seen starting games in the trenches. And that also included three true freshmen in JD Duplain, Nick Samac and Devontae Dobbs.

That now-sophomore trio will push for some serious reps as Duplain and Dobbs are likely starters and Samac due to be first guy off the sidelines for the interior line. However, there’s a smattering of more experience with Kevin Jarvis, AJ Arcuri, Luke Campbell, Matt Allen and Blake Bueter all competing for the starting rotation. With senior Jordan Reid opting out, redshirt freshman Spencer Brown has also caught the eye of offensive coordinator Jay Johnson.

There are a lot of familiar names and experience in the trenches, but does that experience also translate to being the best unit?

WIDE RECEIVER

What this wide receiver corps lacks in experience, they make up for it with potential.

The group says goodbye to Cody White and Darrell Stewart Jr. (went pro) as well as Julian Barnett (went to the other side of the ball). That leaves sophomores Tre Mosley and Jalen Nailor as the premier playmakers coming back, as well as seasoned veterans targets Laress Nelson and C.J. Hayes. Still, it’s to be expected Mosley and Nailor (when healthy) to be to the main focus of opposing defenses amongst the returners.

Now, the new guys? The biggest name is former Freshmen All-American and transfer Jayden Reed. Not only will he be electric with his speed in the offense, but also in the return game. Tre’Von Morgan is another guy to perhaps keep an eye on as the 6-foot-7 redshirt freshman could be a prime red zone target.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 27 Pinstripe Bowl - Michigan State v Wake Forest Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

RUNNING BACK

We’ve talked about experience with the offensive line. We’ve talked about talent – albeit inexperienced – with the receivers. How about someone that has both? You know where I’m going with this – Elijah Collins is the most talented and proven guy on this side of the ball.

Coming off of a nearly 1,000 rushing yard season (just 12 yards away) last fall, it’s probably a no-brainer Collins will be the main guy even with this new staff.

Now the other guys? Well, the competition for the No. 2 back will be a season-long one. Connor Heyward is back. Anthony Williams Jr. is coming off a solid freshman campaign. Sophomore Brandon Wright was a guy touted as a wrecking ball that could get more spin. Freshman Jordan Simmons comes in as the No. 32-ranked running back recruit, per Rivals.

QUARTERBACK

Well, well, well…if it isn’t one of the biggest storylines of the offseason.

All signs indicate it will be Rocky Lombardi getting the nod to start the season, but Johnson has stated this is a battle that will be bleeding into the season. So…uhh…that might automatically disqualify them from winning the “best position group” award here.

Perhaps Lombardi could benefit from this new staff as the last two years were wonky-at-best with how the coaching staff handled quarterback rotations and injuries. Behind him is two unproven guys in junior Theo Day and redshirt freshman Peyton Thorne. I would assume each guy will get some run in Week One against Rutgers, but will that be enough to prove to everyone who the alpha is?

TIGHT END

Trenton Gillison had a strong end to his redshirt freshman season last fall, getting an uptick in reps after Matt Dotson went down with an Achilles injury. Will Dotson come back? He’s been seen on film practicing with the team, but obviously Achilles injuries are not something you want to rush back to game speed.

The next men up include Parks Gissinger, Adam Berghorst and Tyler Hunt. Yes, the backup punter Tyler Hunt. There is also true freshman Tommy Guajardo, but his role is undefined as of now. So that’s how things are going on the tight end side of the depth chart here.

Poll

Which position group is the best on the offensive side of the ball?

This poll is closed

  • 13%
    Offensive line
    (18 votes)
  • 26%
    Wide receivers
    (35 votes)
  • 58%
    Running backs
    (79 votes)
  • 1%
    Quarterbacks
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    Tight end
    (0 votes)
134 votes total Vote Now