Welcome to the inaugural edition of Red Cedar Rumblings, a new weekly feature here at Spartan Tailgate where we open the notebooks and share what we are hearing about Michigan State athletics.
**Farmington (Mich.) Harrison defensive end Mario Ojemudia and receiver Aaron Burbridge were at MSU practice Tuesday. Ojemudia sat in on meetings with the defensive line and told Spartan Tailgate he was impressed with defensive line coach Ted Gill. Both hold offers from MSU and Michigan and attended the Wolverines' spring game Saturday. Ojemudia said he will definitely be at MSU's spring game April 30.
**Redshirt freshman Mylan Hicks has been taking more and more reps with the “ones” and “twos” at the field safety spot. Currently, senior Trenton Robinson is the starter but Hicks is making this battle something to watch. Hicks was recruited to play cornerback but it's looking like the switch to safety may be permanent in base packages. You'll also see Hicks play some corner in the nickel, dime or quarter schemes, as well.
**Sophomore Isaiah Lewis is the hardest hitting defensive back on the roster. We expect Lewis will secure the starting strong safety spot this fall.
**Redshirt sophomore lineman Micajah Reynolds is frustrated with the move back to the defensive line. We hear Reynolds felt he had a great chance to earn a starting spot on the offensive line. Reynolds wants to be a team player but also really wants Dantonio to pick a side - offense or defense - so he can begin taking reps to perfect his craft. If Reynolds had a choice, it would be offense.
**It sounds like Blake Treadwell has met and perhaps exceeded expectations with his play at center. Several sources have said they expect Treadwell to start and that he has done a good job adjusting technique on snaps and grasping the offense. Junior Ethan Ruhland, meanwhile, has been somewhat disappointing with his play at center this spring.
**David Barrent's back injury has been a factor again this spring, which is further halting the sophomore's progression. Barrent missed all of last spring with a back injury, which has been part of the reason for Barrent's inconsistent play on the line. It sounds like Barrent could be another year away from competing for a starting spot, given his health problems and players who have moved ahead on the depth chart like Dan France.
**Nick Hill has been slowed by a high ankle sprain but may be ready to play in the Green-White Game on April 30. He could be an excellent compliment to an already-deep running back corps and a contributor on kick returns. He's as compact as any back can be and makes Edwin Baker look like a fullback. Don't be surprised if he gets some carries this season as a change-of-pace threat. If a defensive lineman is shorter than Tyler Hoover or Gholston, he has no chance of finding Hill between the tackles.
**Kirk Cousins said Arthur Ray's perseverance in battling bone cancer has been an inspiration to every Spartan. When normal football aches and pains make practice uncomfortable, players can look to their left or right and see the smiling face of a survivor of nine surgeries. If anyone can make it all the way back, Ray will. Prediction: At some point before he leaves East Lansing, Ray will throw a block that leads to a touchdown. The resulting celebration will be hard for anyone but the MSU family to understand.
**Keshawn Martin told Spartan Tailgate he was greatly hampered by injuries over the second half of last season and couldn't do much until the Penn State game. That helps explain his ineffectiveness as a kick returner. Though Martin wants to handle those duties again and said he'll be better than ever, he insisted the team is blessed with potential return men. No. 1 on that list? Long-striding wideout Bennie Fowler, who's good enough to prevent teams from kicking away from Martin time after time.
**We have been on this from the start so you know the Spartans are in pursuit of Detroit Southeastern senior forward/center Percy Gibson, who last week asked out of his National Letter of Intent at Dayton after former Michigan State assistant Brian Gregory left the Flyers to take over at Georgia Tech.
But know this: Michigan State is not alone in the chase for Gibson. We learned from a source yesterday that Gibson is up 20 offers already.
Stay tuned …
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