Shilique Calhoun returning to MSU

EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan State defensive lineman Shilique Calhoun is returning to the Spartans for his senior season.

Calhoun announced his decision at a news conference Sunday before Michigan State's basketball game against Northwestern.

"I'm going to take my last hoorah, come out and have a great season," he said. "With the talent that we have on this team, I know that we can go far. I want to actually be a part of that team that takes us to the national championship."

Spartans coach Mark Dantonio clearly is pleased to have Calhoun back next season.

"It's a statement for education and a statement for maturity," Dantonio said. "I think that's tremendous."

Calhoun acknowledged that seeing Oregon and Ohio State -- the only two teams that beat the Spartans this season -- play for a national title helped sway his decision.

"As I watch the College Football Playoff play out and I see the two teams that are in the national championship are the two team we lost to, it just shows that we're inches away from being in that game," Calhoun said.

The 6-foot-5, 256-pound Calhoun had eight sacks this season, and the seventh-ranked Spartans are poised to finish in the top 10 for a second consecutive year after beating Baylor in the Cotton Bowl.

Calhoun and quarterback Connor Cook have both decided to return after weighing a jump to the NFL. Michigan State is losing junior defensive back Trae Waynes to the pros.

"I don't think there's any question that our two biggest recruits are Shilique Calhoun and Connor Cook," Dantonio said. "When you have two guys that are basically All-Americans making the decision to return, I think it gives you a great push for 2015."

The Spartans also lost defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi, who took over as Pittsburgh's head coach, but Michigan State now appears to have enough returning talent to be among the favorites in the Big Ten.

Calhoun recently was rated as the No. 20 overall prospect on ESPN NFL draft insider Mel Kiper's latest Big Board.

ESPN.com's Dan Murphy and The Associated Press contributed to this report.