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The Michigan State Spartans under the most pressure

Updated on May 22, 2016

LT Dennis Finley

When Jack Conklin missed a few games last year, Finley made one start in his stead, before getting injured as well. Now all he has to do is replace a three year starter who was a top 10 pick in the NFL Draft. Finley has the talent, as the no. 21 tackle in the nation coming out of high school, and a three star recruit. At 6'6, he has size, and against Purdue, he showed the requisite athleticism to play LT.

And all he has to do, is to protect whoever starts at QB and block for a host of rushers, while trying to live up to the future of Jack Conklin.

QB Tyler O'Connor

All O'Connor has to do is replace three-year starting QB Connor Cook, who won two Big Ten titles, won the Rose Bowl, and led Michigan State to the 2nd College Football Playoffs. He also must live up to his stature as the quarterback who won his first career start by winning in Columbus. And he'll be doing this while trying to hold off highly rated QBs Damion Terry, Brian Lewarke, and Messiah deWeaver.

And he'll be doing that with a collection of mostly young receivers, with only R.J. Shelton as a returning starter, and only one member of the offensive line returning in the same spot he was in last year.

C Brian Allen

Brian Allen was the starter last year at LG, now he has to replace his older brother Jack Allen, a three year starter, and a two time first team All-American. Jack was also one of the leaders of the Spartans in general,. and the offensive line in particular.

All while trying to continue MSU's recent winning ways. No pressure at all.

WR Monty Madaris

Madaris got lost in the shuffle of the 2012 recruiting class, while Aaron Burbidge and MacGarret Kings, Jr. played, he was red-shirted. Then he got caught in the receiving logjam with Tony Lippett and Keith Mumphrey still there, as well as DeAnthony Arnett and eventually R.J. Shelton. In the last four years, he's been unable to get on the field.

What Madaris brings to the Spartan receiving core is deep speed. Now, with Burbridge and co. in the NFL, he will finally get his chance to shine. But can he do so with Cam Chambers (no. 21 WR in the nation) and Donnie Corley (no. 14) pushing for playing time? And RJ Shelton is still here to compete for targets.

DE Demetrious Cooper

After being a backup the past two years, Cooper finally gets the starting job. But all he has to do is replace another two time All-American, and NFL draftee, in Shilique Calhoun. Cooper is athletic and quick, but can he replace Calhoun's quick pressure? Last year he was second on the team with 6 sacks, but can he reproduce those numbers without Calhoun and the other five people who've either graduated or left the program in the few months?

And much like a few others on this list, there are incoming freshmen looking to take his job. In this case, former 4 star recruits Auston Robertson and Joshua King.

DT Malik McDowell

The pressure on Malik isn't about who he's replacing (he's a returning starter) or who is coming for his job (he's pretty much written in stone). The pressure comes from expectations.

After setting such a high bar as a former 5 star recruit, then as a dominating force as a sophmore, expectations are high for McDowell. Add that MSU plans on moving him all over the defensive line, and he will draw all kinds of attention from opposing offenses, add the pressure mounts to live up to his billing.

And as if expectations weren't high already, Mel Kiper placed him in the top 10 of next year's draft.

Spartan pressure

Which Spartan do you believe is under the most pressure next season?

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