Michigan State came within one game of reaching the national championship game, but it sure felt a lot farther away in Dallas last week. The Spartans are now faced with the task of replacing a group of veteran leaders while trying to rebound from the 38-0 loss to Alabama in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic.
It’s no doubt the Spartans will have major losses on both the offensive and defensive lines quarterback, and receivers due to graduation. As a result, the question going into next year is can the program continue to keep climbing higher and build on what Coach Mark Dantonio has started in East Lansing.
True, this group of seniors won more games than any class in the history of the program and they will be missed. However, the cupboard is not depleted. Depth was a major strength of this team and a lot of underclassmen got valuable game experience this year due to injuries. Recruiting has also been very good as well. The 2016 recruiting class is highly ranked, so the talent level will be there for the coaching staff to work with. Spring practice will be interesting, especially the battle at quarterback where Tyler O’Connor, a fifth-year senior and Damian Terry, a fourth-year junior will compete for the job Connor Cook held for the last three years. In addition, redshirt freshman Brian Lewerke and freshman Messiah deWeaver will be in the competition as well. Lewerke looked very good on the scout team and deWeaver comes in highly touted.