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Michigan State’s offense won the annual spring game, and coach Mark Dantonio tried to put the Spartans in tough situations.
Chris Solari/DFP

EAST LANSING — The helmets and pads are back on the shelf. The playbooks are being traded for textbooks as finals approach.

Now comes the long wait without football for Michigan State.

The Spartans are in a holding pattern until they resume preseason camp in late July. Their season-opener is Aug. 31 at home against Utah State.

Here is a glimpse of what the projected MSU depth chart looks like heading into the summer and what the Spartans did during last week’s spring scrimmage.

Offense

QB

Starter: Brian Lewerke, jr. (7 of 12, 82 yards, TD)

No. 2: Rocky Lombardi, rs-fr. (10 of 22, 140 yards, TD)

No. 3: Mickey Macius, grad-sr. (1 of 1, 32 yards)

Potential redshirt: Theo Day, fr. (4 of 10, 52 yards, INT)

What we saw: Lewerke showed improved accuracy, which was high on his list of work items this spring. He played just four series, and three passes were dropped in the first series that got the offense off to a stagnant start. His 30-yard touchdown pass to Darrell Stewart Jr. at the end of the first half was a well-placed deep ball, another area Lewerke wanted to work. Lombardi flashed the tools and potential of being at minimum an above-average backup in the short-term and a high-level starter in the future.

RB

Starter: LJ Scott, sr. (6 carries, 23 yards; 1 catch, 3 yards)

No. 2: Connor Heyward, so. (12 carries, 48 yards, TD; 2 catches, 14 yards)

No. 3: La’Darius Jefferson (incoming freshman) OR Elijah Collins (incoming freshman) OR Weston Bridges, rs-fr. (DNP)

Others: Alante Thomas, so. (10 carries, 77 yards, TD, 3 fumbles, 1 lost); Noah Sargent, so. (1 carry, minus-5 yards); Austin Andrews, so. (DNP)

Potential redshirt: Jefferson OR Collins

What we saw: Scott looked like his steady and powerful self in his few attempts. Heyward got a chance to get the bulk of the reps, and the son of former Pitt and NFL standout Craig “Ironhead” Heyward showed a surprising power and toughness running between the tackles to complement his quickness and pass-catching ability out of the backfield. Bridges (knee) is expected back by fall practice, which should allow MSU to give one redshirt and play one incoming rookie.

FB

Starter: Collin Lucas, sr. (2 carries, 3 yards, fumble)

No. 2: Ben Line, sr. (0 carries)

No. 3: Reid Burton, so. (0 carries)

Other: Max Rosenthal, rs-fr. (played tight end)

What we saw: Don’t let the rushing attempts fool you, Lucas remains primarily a blocking back. Coaches trusted him enough to send him out on a third-down pass play  that would have picked up a first down had he not dropped the pass, so don’t rush any Trevon Pendleton comparisons, either.

WR

Starters: Felton Davis III, sr. (DNP); Darrell Stewart Jr., jr. (4 catches, 69 yards, 2 TD); Cody White, so. (2 catches, 25 yards).

Second group:: Cam Chambers, so. (5 catches, 50 yards); Laress Nelson, so. (0 catches); C.J. Hayes, rs-fr. (2 catches, 39 yards)

Others: Jahz Watts, rs-fr. (1 catch, 11 yards); Emmanuel Flowers, rs-fr. (0 catches); Andre Welch, so. (0 catches); Brandon Sowards, sr. (DNP); Julian Major, fr.  (DPN); Javez Alexander, fr.  (0 catches); Nick Krumm, jr. (1 catch, 32 yards) ; Khylin Barton, so. (DNP); Davis Lewandowski, so. (DNP).

Potential redshirt: Alexander; Major; Jalen Nailor (incoming freshman).

What we saw: Stewart and White built a rapport and timing with Lewerke last season, and it carried over into the spring, though Stewart did drop the first two passes of the game. Chambers could be the next receiver to break out, and both he and Hayes have good size and strength to contribute. Walk-on Watts got separation a few times and flashed quickness as he outraced top-rated cornerback Kalon Gervin to the sideline for a first down on his lone catch.

More: Five observations from Michigan State football’s spring game

More: MSU football stock watch: Who’s up, down after spring game

TE

Starter: Matt Sokol, sr. (2 catches, 28 yards) OR Matt Dotson, so. (2 catches, 35 yards).

No. 3: Noah Davis, so. (DNP)

Others: Chase Gianacakos, sr. (0 catches), Trenton Gillison, fr.  (incoming freshman)

What we saw: Both returning starter Sokol and Dotson, who played last year as a true freshman, displayed development as pass catchers and big-bodied targets during the spring game. Gianacakos remains a stout and sizeable blocking option in jumbo, two-tight end packages. Davis revealed after the game via Twitter that he had surgery this week; his recovery time is unknown. Where 4-star recruit Gillison fits could depend on Davis’ health.

OL

Starters: LT Cole Chewins, jr. (DNP); LG David Beedle, sr. (DNP); C Matt Allen, so.; RG Kevin Jarvis, so.; RT Luke Campbell, so.

Second group: LG/C Tyler Higby, jr.; RT Jordan Reid, so.; RT Mustafa Khaleefah, rs-fr.; C Blake Bueter, rs-fr.

Others: T Noah Listermann, jr.; OL Tommy Liesveld, jr.; C Bryce Wilker, jr.; T AJ Arcuri, so.; OL Jack Henrichs, rs-fr.; G Matt Carrick, rs-fr. (DNP); Dimitri Douglas, fr. (DNP).

Potential redshirt: Jacob Isaia (incoming freshman); James Ohonba (incoming freshman).

What we saw: The line appears to be at least seven deep. Reid looked solid filling in at right tackle as Campbell slid to left tackle. Finding a center remains a priority, but Allen played stout and had no exchange mishaps with Lewerke, other than a snap-infraction penalty. Jarvis may have been the standout, driving his man back to create running lanes. Higby, who started half of last season and the spring game at left guard, is a wildcard with his versatility to slide to center or another guard spot. Khaleefah could crack the rotation as the eighth man.

Defense

DE

Starters: Kenny Willekes, jr.; Jacub Panasiuk, so.

Second group: Dillon Alexander, sr.; Justice Alexander, jr.

Others: Drew Beesley, so.; DeAri Todd, rs-fr.; Matt Seybert, jr. (DNP); Jack Camper, rs-fr. (DNP); Parks Gissinger (incoming freshman), Jacob Slade (incoming freshman), Zachary Slade (incoming freshman).

What we saw: Willekes played briefly, but all reports are he has added leadership of the front four to last year’s productivity. Panasiuk, who had a right foot issue that limited him this spring, flashed pressure at times despite the injury. The two Alexanders add veteran depth at a position that is in need of impact play-makers.

DT

Starters: Raequan Williams, jr.; Mike Panasiuk, jr.

Second group: Gerald Owens, sr. (DNP); Naquan Jones, so. (DNP)

Others: Mufi Hill-Hunt, so. (DNP); Dashaun Mallory (incoming freshman).

What we saw: Williams and Panasiuk delivered perhaps the most discussed improvements this spring per their coaches, with both playing significant snaps for a spring game due to a lack of bodies. MSU had to move Beesley and Todd inside for depth in the scrimmage, but Owens and Jones were productive backups last season.

LB

Starters: Joe Bachie, jr. (DNP); Andrew Dowell, sr. (DNP); Tyriq Thompson, jr.

Second group: Antjuan Simmons, so. (DNP), Brandon Randle, so.; Byron Bullough, sr.

Others: Grayson Miller, sr.; Noah Harvey, rs-fr.; Edward Warinner, fr.; Dante Razzano, so.; Mitchell Sokol, rs-fr.; Tanner Hallock, rs-fr.; Brent Mossburg, rs-fr. (played defensive end).

Potential redshirt: Jeslord Boateng (incoming freshman); Chase Kline (incoming freshman).

What we saw: Bachie, Dowell and Simmons will be in the top group this fall after sitting out the spring game. An injury to Bullough during the scrimmage allowed Thompson, who is competing with Randle to replace Chris Frey at Sam linebacker, to fill in at middle linebacker. Warinner also got significant reps and appears on track to follow Bachie and Simmons as first-year contributors. Keep an eye on walk-ons Harvey and Razzano, both of whom got time with the No. 2 group and could earn special teams roles.

CB

Starters: Justin Layne, jr.; Josiah Scott, so. (INT).

Reserves: Tyson Smith, sr.; Josh Butler, jr.

Others: Shakur Brown, rs-fr.; Kalon Gervin fr.; Tre Person, so.; Jiah Norman, rs-fr.

Potential redshirt: Chris Jackson (incoming freshman).

What we saw: Scott had the game’s lone interception and showed impressive closing speed picking off Day’s floating pass to Nelson. Scott also showed a little more aggressiveness as a tackler, and he and Layne remain difficult to throw against. Smith and Butler have veteran knowledge of the press quarters coverage scheme, but coaches like the speed of Brown and the talent of Gervin.

S

Starters: Khari Willis, sr.; David Dowell, jr.

Second group: Xavier Henderson, fr.; Matt Morrissey, sr.

Others: Dominique Long, so.; Corey Pryor, so.; Jack Mandryk, rs-fr.

Potential redshirt: Michael Dowell (incoming freshman); Davion Williams (incoming freshman).

What we saw: Willis continues to be active in run support and tied LB Grayson Miller for the spring game lead with seven tackles, while Morrissey added five while being a key part of nickel packages. Henderson played extensively as the nickel back, which could be a role for the talented true freshman this fall.

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Special teams

K

Starter: Matt Coghlin, so. (1-2 FG, 4-4 XP).

Others: Cole Hahn, rs-fr.; Tyler Hunt, rs-fr.

P

Starter: Jake Hartbarger, sr. (n/a)

Others: Jack McKenna, rs-fr.

LS

Starter: Collin Caflisch, jr.

Reserve: Ryan Armour, so.

KO

Starter: Cole Hahn, rs-fr. OR Tyler Hunt, rs-fr.

Other: Matt Coghlin, so.; Jack McKenna, rs-fr

PR

Starter: Cody White

Others: Laress Nelson; Darrell Stewart Jr.

KR

Starter: Connor Heyward

Others: Cody White; Andre Welch.

What we saw: It is tough to gauge the returns, since they were not live, but White and Heyward got the first shot at both after finishing in those roles last year. Armour spent almost all game as the primary snapper, but Caflisch was in for two PAT kicks for the offense late in the game. Finding a kickoff specialist continues to be a major priority for Mark Dantonio, and the cold wind during the spring game did not help either Hunt or Hahn.

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