The position by position preview resumes and presses on with a look at the wide receivers and tight ends.
The good news for the pass catchers is that the only loss is Dion Sims who decided to turn pro after his junior season, that’s also bad news because he was the only reliable and consistent pass catcher on the team in 2012. 2013, however, should and hopefully will prove differently.
The returning receiving corps is a very young and talented group led by Senior Bennie Fowler, Junior Keith Mumphery and Sophomore Aaron Burbridge. Bennie Fowler came into the 2013 season coming off an injury that held him out for most of the 2012 season. Although Fowler was the most experienced receiver on the team, he didn’t play like it; granted the rest of the receivers didn’t play good either to begin the season. The wide receivers made life tough for the offense as they would drop passes more times than I can remember, run the wrong routes, and struggle to find consistency.
For the most part the offense had to rely on its workhorse at running back and the steady hands of Dion Sims at tight end. Dion quickly became a favorite target for quarterback Andrew Maxwell, especially on third and short situations. As the season went on, Keith Mumphery and Aaron Burbridge emerged as the featured receivers and became more consistent. Aaron Burbridge is going to be a stud receiver for the Spartans for years to come and Mumphery should be the same. Burbridge was a highly touted recruit coming out of Farmington Hills Harrison and burst onto the scene as a true Freshman. Mumphery on the other hand had to wait his turn and got it during the 2012 season. Mumphery wasn’t as highly touted as Burbridge was coming out of high school in Georgia.
Although the 2012 season stats for Burbridge may not look and seem star worthy, its what he did against Indiana in his first collegiate start that cemented his name as a future star in my book. Burbridge had a career high( obviously) in receptions (8) and receiving yards (134). Mumphery also had a good season in 2012 posting 42 receptions, 515 yards and 1 touchdown.
2013 Season Outlook
Heading into the 2013 season there is no where to go but up for the receivers for Michigan State. Most of the returning receivers have a seasons worth of experience under their belts. The returning wide receivers are talented and fairly young: Bennie Fowler, Keith Mumphery, Tony Lippett, Aaron Burbridge, DeAnthony Arnett, Macgarrett Kings, Andre Sims Jr. and Monty Madaris.
Macgarrett Kings, out of Florida, saw playing time sparingly throughout the season and I bet Coach Dantanio wishes he would have redshirted him last season. Kings reminds me a lot of former Michigan State receiver Keshawn Martin. Kings has speed and the ability to make the defender miss, I would like to see Coach D use him for punt returns this season. Kings should see a lot more playing time this upcoming season primarily in the slot.
DeAnthony Arnett was a highly sought after recruit out of Saginaw, Michigan. Arnett originally committed to play at the University of Tennessee and had a good season with the Vols as a true freshman accumulating 24 catches for 242 yards and 2 touchdowns. However after his freshman season with the Volunteers, Arnett decided to transfer to a school closer to home so that he could be closer to his ailing father. He garnered interest from Michigan but ultimately chose the Spartans. Going into his sophomore season and his first with Michigan State expectations were high with Arnett. Many believed that he would come in and be an instant starter and contributor, but that didn’t happen. Arnett only had 3 receptions last season and I expect that number to go up dramatically this upcoming season.
Tony Lippett came into Michigan State out of Detroit as an “athlete” who could play on both sides of the ball. Lippett did play some cornerback during the 2011 season but was moved permanently to the offensive side of the ball before the 2012 season. Lippett is a tall, lanky receiver who has good speed. He did struggle last season with dropping the ball, as did the rest of the receiving corps, but did show improvement later in the season. Lippett had a nice season in 2012 amounting 36 receptions for 392 yards and 2 touchdowns. I think Lippett will primarily be a slot receiver this upcoming season.
Monty Madaris was redshirted last season. Andre Sims Jr. is a redshirt sophomore out of Georgia who mostly saw time returning punts. Both of these receivers should see the field more this season.
The tight end position will be a big question mark heading into the 2013 season for the Spartans. Losing Dion Sims to the draft was a big blow to the offense, but the Spartans have capable tight ends in the fold. Returning to the Spartans at tight end are Andrew Gleichert, Paul Lang, Evan Jones, Derek Hoebing, and redshirt freshman Josiah Price.
Andrew Gleichert came into the 2012 season as the back up tight end to Dion Sims, but a season ending injury derailed that. He will be the featured tight end along with Paul Lang for the 2013 season.
This is what I think the depth chart should look like for the first game.
Bennie Fowler Keith Mumphery Aaron Burbridge
Tony Lippett DeAnthony Arnett Macgarrett Kings
Monty Madaris Andre Sims Jr.
Fowler- 55 receptions, 620 yds 6 Tds
Mumphery- 60 receptions, 660 yds, 6 Tds
Burbridge- 75 receptions, 800 yds, 9 Tds
Lippett- 30 receptions, 400 yds, 2 tds
Arnett- 30 receptions 370 yds, 3 Tds
Kings- 25 receptions, 300 yds, 1 Td 6 Rush Attmpts, 40 yds, 1 Td
Madaris- 10 receptions 70 yds,
Sims Jr.- 10 receptions 60 yds.
Gleichert- 40 receptions, 200 yds, 3 Tds
Lang- 30 receptions, 150 yds, 2 Tds
If the Spartans want to have a successful season in 2013, the receivers have got to be a lot better than they were in 2012.
SEE RELATED STORIES: