After a very injury-riddled career at Michigan State, junior offensive tackle Skyler Burkland announced his early retirement on Tuesday and will forgo his final two years of eligibility for the Spartans.
The 6’7″, 315 lb native of Sunbury, Ohio was one of the top offensive lineman in the country coming out of high school when he arrived in East Lansing in the fall of 2010. It was that year when Burkland took his red shirt year.
The next season started off bright for Burkland, who earned the starting spot as a red shirt freshman in 2011. However, after starting the first three games of the season, Burkland fractured his ankle in the first half of the game against Notre Dame and missed the remainder of the season.
The struggles continued for Burkland the next season as he just couldn’t catch a break, missing the first game of the season against Boise State with a hand injury. However, Burkland recovered from that and made his first start of the season two weeks later against Notre Dame and would go on to start 11 games last season, playing a key role as a blocker in Le’Veon Bell’s monstrous 1793 yard season.
But for Burkland, the recurring injuries must have gotten to be enough, as he officially made the decision to retire from the game on Tuesday due to medical reasons.
“This was a difficult decision for Skyler,” Michigan State head football coach Mark Dantonio said. “We’ll certainly miss him on the football field, but he’ll remain heavily involved in our program and continue to work on earning his degree.”
Burkland has applied for medical disqualification and once paper work is approved, will be allowed to stay on scholarship, all the while not counting towards the NCAA’s 85-man scholarship limit.
Follow Ryan Squanda on twitter @squandaryan