Poaching another idea today, this time from colleague David Ubben at the Big 12 blog. I'll be taking a look at several key players going, staying and coming into the program for each Big Ten team.
First up, Michigan State.
Joel Nitchman, C: Nitchman helped anchor the offensive line last year and earned second-team All-Big Ten honors from the league's coaches. He started three seasons for the Spartans and made 31 starts at center. John Stipek impressed the Michigan State staff this spring, he'll have some big shoes to fill.
Trevor Anderson, DE: Although Anderson never quite lived up to the hype he had after transferring from Cincinnati, he still recorded 7.5 tackles for loss and four sacks last season. Anderson earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors in each of his two seasons as a Spartan. He also provided solid leadership in the locker room.
Greg Jones, LB: Jones' decision to return to Michigan State was one of few bright spots in a rough offseason for the program. Put simply, he's one of the nation's best and most accomplished defenders, and he should be even better as a senior. Jones has led Michigan State in tackles in each of his three seasons, recording 154 stops in 2009. He has added weight and looks considerably stronger, but he hasn't lost any speed and still closes extremely well on ball-carriers.
Keshawn Martin, WR: Martin gave the Big Ten a taste of what he could do on special teams last season. He'll make an even bigger impact as a receiver this fall and got a head start with six receptions for 109 yards in the spring game. Martin averaged 22.8 yards per reception last year and has the ability to go the distance any time he touches the ball.
William Gholston, LB: Gholston was the Big Ten's second-highest rated prospect, according to ESPN recruiting, and should make an immediate impact this fall. The ESPNU 150 selection checks in at 6-foot-7 and 250 pounds, but Michigan State fully intends to keep him as a linebacker. Gholston and classmate Max Bullough are part of the reason why Michigan State will use more of the 3-4 alignment this fall.
Isaiah Lewis and Kurtis Drummond,S : It's no secret that Michigan State struggled against the pass in 2009, and the secondary needs all the help it can get this fall. Both Lewis and Drummond both bring some exciting skills to the table and could compete for playing time right away if returning players don't step up.