Huge loss for Sparty D-line: Evans and Sweat leave school.

Submitted by Double-D on April 18th, 2016 at 11:09 PM
This is going to hurt Sparty significantly. Evans was a beast in the middle and had All Big Ten potential this year. Sweat had serious upside. They might need Freshman to play on the DL this year after everyone they lost to graduation and their lack of depth. It makes you wonder what they did because Dantonio knows this is going to be costly.…



April 18th, 2016 at 11:16 PM ^

They'll still be pretty good with Mcdowell back there but I feel pretty good with them breaking in a new qb, ol, wrs, dl etc. with the secondary returning everyone but was the weakest part of the team that we can beat them.


April 18th, 2016 at 11:24 PM ^

this season. But one weak link on a d-line can break down your entire defense. Losing Evans was like losing a returning starter. Malik is the only starter coming back and they lost much of their 2 deep. We have all seen the payoff of a nice d- line rotation with fresh legs. This could turn into a serious problem for MSU.


April 19th, 2016 at 12:19 AM ^

Their DL should still be solid.  On one side they'll likely start 4th year Demetrius Cooper, who's been generating buzz for a while but was kind of trapped behind Calhoun's 8 year career.  Damon Knox will probably get a 6th year, since pretending everyone has an incapacitating injury during any redshirt year is now accepted practice.  McDowell is back and remains a good player and a bad college-picker.  The other DE is a bit of a mystery.  5th year Evan Jones seems to be the front runner, but someone like Josh King could steal that job away.  Regardless, a 5th year bastard in Dantonio's system won't be too terrible if it turns out Jones is the best they've got.

But between this and graduation, their depth is pretty well shot.  They have zero junior or senior reserves on the DL. If Knox doesn't get a 6th year or if a starter gets injured, it'll be weird guy time, and pronto.

kevin holt

April 19th, 2016 at 12:27 AM ^

Knox isn't getting a 6th year. I'm starting to think he's there as an extra coach and leader but they don't privately expect it to work. And then that's an extra manufactured bag of chips to put on the ol shoulder. They're even calling him Coach Knox apparently. It's the only thing that makes sense.


April 19th, 2016 at 12:57 AM ^

You wouldn't think so, since Knox was named scout team defensive player of the week during both week 5 and week 10 of his freshman year -- a year in which he ostensibly redshirted for medical reasons.  If they are claiming something else, I have no idea what the hell it could be.

It seems like a straightforward case, but the early optimism out of EL and the overall inability of the NCAA to do anything competently makes me think it's closer to 50/50.

kevin holt

April 19th, 2016 at 1:08 AM ^

Yeah and their fans laugh about us pointing that out. Because they say you could be healthy enough to scout but not play. Which doesn't fit the rule because you must be kept from competition by factors beyond your control. Staying out of games but choosing you're well enough to practice is a choice akin to a voluntary redshirt year.

kevin holt

April 19th, 2016 at 1:06 AM ^

I've read the rulebook on this and there's just very little chance of it. I have no idea why the optimism is so high. Either they're living in a fantasy, trying to pull a fast one, their compliance staff is extremely incompetent, or they're trying to get another leader and coach in the locker room who decided not to try his hand in the draft. I can't figure it out but I'm almost certain the end scenario is not a 6th year for any of the 3 guys. Which yeah since it's the NCAA maybe that's a 50/50 shot.


April 19th, 2016 at 6:27 PM ^

I thought you could have a red-shirt year and then later a medical red-shirt year.  

Ed Davis seems to be a lock to get the extra year after he missed all of last season.  I don't know the story on the other 2 guys and injuries.   But Sparty friend said if they all graduate this spring, they will all get the extra year. 

kevin holt

April 19th, 2016 at 11:07 PM ^

Nope. You have to have missed more than one season due to circumstances beyond your control. More than one, and redshirt doesn't count as beyond control. If you haven't redshirted yet, you could get a medical redshirt to have 4 additional years out of 5 total. If you've spent your redshirt voluntarily and lost only one additional season to injury you can't get 6. It's cut and dry.

kevin holt

April 19th, 2016 at 11:15 PM ^

I'll add this post to clarify. Sorry for formatting, on mobile. Let's say for this discussion that the 3 levels are redshirt, medical redshirt, and 6th year. You can only spend all 5 years if you redshirt at one point, because you have a 5 year period in which to play 4 years. You can only redshirt if you don't play a single snap in a game that season. If you spend your redshirt by playing a snap, but you get hurt for the season before 30% of the season is over, the NCAA allows you to get that redshirt back (medical) because it wouldn't be very fair otherwise. Then you still have 5 years to spend. If somehow you get hurt and miss two seasons (or somehow miss a season for another rare reason, like you're homeless that year or very ill), the NCAA allows, in very rare circumstances, that you can have a 6th year in which to spend your 4 years of playing. If you redshirt for normal reasons but you had a slight injury, that's probably not enough. You have to prove all this by medical documentation from the time you were injured. If Davis received a medical redshirt, he wouldn't be able to play because that's just a redshirt (i.e. a free year within the 5 that doesn't count toward the 4) and his 5 year clock is done. Idk if I forgot anything but that's a very rough outline.


April 19th, 2016 at 12:33 AM ^

Evans was their 2nd best DL and the guy with real size to be a run stuffer. They are going to need Enoch Smith and some Frosh to step up quickly. Regardless it's a big drop off from Evans. Inside guys need help in the rotation or they get worn down late in games and all season long. Their starters should be solid but they are a big ten ruling or an injury away from a fire drill and I still think they lose some games due to fatigue or drop of in talent.

Space Coyote

April 19th, 2016 at 9:01 AM ^

But not without weaknesses and with a lack of depth. Evans came on the scene big time last year. Another DT next to McDowell was huge because it prevented doubles coming his way. Knox is solid if he returns, but this s what returns at DT:

Damon Knox - Undersized (270 lb) 6th year player that is solid but unspectacular. Flashed both ways at times last year.

Raequan Williams - High upside DT with consistency he needs to improve. RS-FR

Gerald Owens - Really high upside but incredibly raw converted RB/FB. Soph.

Cassius Peat - Undersized DT with eventual upside (brother of former Stanford Peat) but a big position move from high school, where he essentially played OLB. 270 lb RS-FR

Kyonta Stallworth - Was a fan of his upsdie coming out (you'll sense a common theme there) but he bounced around from OL to DL. Think he's at the position with higher upside now. 279 lb RS-FR.

Enoch Smith Jr - A guy that used his hands well but had to improve his first few steps to be viable. Has added the necessary weight, but has falled behind on the depth chart. Soph.

At DE, they essentially lost all depth. Sweat was everyone's favorite, but has consistently been in the dog house for them. Jones is a limited upside guy and a stop gap. Behind him, Bowers hasn't shown a ton, and neither have the other back ups to date. The guys they are bringing in have huge upside, but are also incredibly raw. 

MSU's DL last year covered up a lot of weaknesses in other areas and helped the LB play a ton. They won't have that luxary this year, and they won't have the depth to stay on the field and rotate the way they like to, especially on the inside.


April 18th, 2016 at 11:34 PM ^

Beating Sparty won't be an easy chore in E. Lansing where we haven't won since the infamous "little brother" comment.  But, I also believe that without Cook, Conklin, Allen, Burbridge, Calhoun, etc. that we should be the favorite and I like our chances with or without Sweat and Evans. 


I still think their defense will be stout.  McDowell will give us fits IMO, their LB play should still be good, and I'd guess their DBs improve quite a bit from last year to this.  But, their defense should still take a step back from last year and ours should take a step forward.  Their offense should take a big step back and ours should take another step forward.  It's too bad for them because I'd love to beat them with all their bullets in the gun so to speak but it will be what it will be.


April 19th, 2016 at 11:19 AM ^

I hear ya, but 8 years is a long time.  It's easy for us to rationalize, "eh it was just Hoke & RR" as if we didn't think they were good coaches when they were hired and we didn't pay them a ton of money.  They still have taken us to the wood shed there 4 straight times.  They have the right to be proud of that & if we don't like it then we need to prove them wrong.


April 19th, 2016 at 1:33 PM ^

I also believe that without Cook, Conklin, Allen, Burbridge, Calhoun, etc. that we should be the favorite and I like our chances with or without Sweat and Evans.

I wanted to knock them off their goddamn high horse.  Last season was our last chance to do it.  Cook et. al. get to go onto the NFL bragging about having beaten UM when fact of the matter is, they didn't.  Our team EARNED that game.  They played well enough to win by three TDs if not for that awful, despicable officiating crew.  It should never have come down to that final play.  They don't deserve to whine that 2016 is a rebuilding year for them.  We beat the crap out of team they sent to the CFP.

What's worse, I'm REALLY nervous because the one thing I learned last year is that it doesn't matter that UM's the better team now.  We can't even be significantly better; that's not enough.  Harbaugh better be ready to drop 50 on them because we'll probably get half that taken from us.  I've never been more interested in who's going to be officiating in a rivalry game.

Ty Butterfield

April 18th, 2016 at 11:42 PM ^

They will still have a solid D. Every year they have lost players and 2012 was the only real down season they have had in awhile. Screwing up with RR and Hoke gave Mike Dantoni time to build that program. I am sure they have some guys on the juice who are ready to step in.


April 19th, 2016 at 6:31 AM ^

I never needed to be told that refs are fallible, but I never thought they'd blatantly take over a game and dictate the tempo to the clear advantage of one team.  Then last season happened.  Must say that's the first time I'd ever seen a player ejected for having the audacity to be grabbed by an O-lineman and thrown to the ground.

We're gonna need to be ready to beat them by 40 because that's what it'll take to win a squeaker.