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College Football Preview: 12. Michigan State Spartans

12. Michigan State Spartans Returning Starters: 13 Returning Star: DE William Gholston Key Loss: QB Kirk Cousins Player to Watch: QB Andrew Maxwell Yes Kirk Cousins is gone along with B.J. Cunningham, Keshawn Martin and Keith Nichol the top three receivers on 2011's squad. But with the return of junior back Le'Veon Bell and much of last year's stellar defense. Junior Andrew Maxwell is going to take Cousins' place. Maxwell is highly touted thanks to his accurate, strong arm. And he is also a very mobile and agile quarterback. Bell ran 948 yards in limited time and could have one of the best seasons in Michigan State since Javon Ringer. He has speed but also can take on the role of a bruiser. Sophomore Niko Palazeti will start at the fullback position and will head the way for Bell. The receivers aren't experienced at all but have talent and will give Maxwell reliable targets. Junior Bennie Fowler is fast and a good wingspan. Sophomores Keith Mumphrey and Tony Lippett are the other options for Maxwell. Tight end Dion Sims is an effective short range option and is a good blocker. The offensive line is now a lot more exprienced after many started last year. Junior Dan France and senior Fou Fonoti are fantastic tackles and senior Chris McDonald will head the way for Bell. Though the offense is not the best of this Spartans team. The line has one big talent in junior end William Gholston, an All-Big Ten end. Gholston is speedy and has good moves and could become even better in his third year. He is also huge at 6 feet 7 inches and 275 pounds. Sophomore Marcus Rush is back and will likely start at the other side. Though the loss of Jerel Worthy may hurt as much as Cousins. The linebacker core may be one of the best in the Big Ten thanks to the return of junior Denicos Allen and Max Bullough. Allen is a good tackler and a strong pass rusher after having 11 sacks in 2011. Bullough and Chris Norman are sure tacklers. Depth is also no issue for the Spartans linebackers thanks to Kyle Elsworth and sophomore Taiwan Jones. The secondary is also a formidable unit thanks to the return of senior cornerback Johnny Adams. Adams sticks to receivers like their shadow and can hit hard. Junior Darqueze Dennard will probably start on the other side and has talent. Juniors Dana Dixon and Isaiah Lewis are hard-hitting safeties who are also decent coverage men. Special teams is also one of Michigan State's strengths with senior kicker Dan Conroy back and sophomore Max Sadler back. The loss of Keshawn Martin's stings in the return game. Yes Cousins is gone but if Maxwell can have a good year these Spartans should win the Big Ten. Heisman Hopeful: Le'Veon Bell Big Ten Rank: 1st

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