(Editor's Note: This is the third installment of positional previews.
Previous: The Breakdown: Quarterbacks; The Breakdown: Running Backs)
Big Man on Campus: Bennie Fowler
Fowler has a couple highlights in his relatively young career: a special teams touchdown off a blocked punt against Wisconsin, and a touchdown reception against Alabama -- the long score for the Spartans in the 2011 Capital One Bowl.
Hopefully, Fowler has a whole lot more highlights to come.
Bennie Fowler scored a special teams touchdown against Wisconsin last year, and will need to find ways to the end zone this season at wide receiver.
In a group of unproven wide receivers, Fowler has the most experience -- which really isn't saying much. With 16 catches under his belt and three years in the system, he leads the players MSU will turn to this fall to replace the production of B.J. Cunningham, Keshawn Martin and Keith Nichol. Good luck.
What Fowler does bring is a hybrid of Cunningham and Martin. He has the size of Cunningham (6-foot-1, 218 pounds), but has been used similarly to Martin in reverses and wide receiver sweeps.
Fowler has been hampered by injuries but, when healthy, has shown speed and the ability to get the edge when the ball is in his hands. That type of playmaking ability would be very welcome come August.
Possibly the biggest thing Fowler brings to the table is a good understanding of quarterback Andrew Maxwell, which will serve both well as they move into prominent starting roles this season.
**More after the jump**
The next best thing: Tony Lippett and DeAnthony Arnett
Lippett saw the field plenty last season, just on the defensive side of the ball. He has four career receptions for 44 yards, but with a lanky 6-2, 189-pound frame, he should be a downfield threat for Michigan State this season.
Arnett might be the most talented of the wide receivers and when he received clearance from the NCAA to play right away, it was a boost for Spartans fans and the team alike.
The talented Saginaw native had 24 catches for 242 yards and two touchdowns in his freshman season at Tennessee -- best the production of Fowler. It is hard to envision a way in which Arnett does not see considerable time on the field this fall ... assuming he gets the playbook down.
The rest: Jeremy Langford, Andre Sims Jr., Keith Mumphery
These three are burners -- particularly Langford, who likely will see time at running back as well. Sims drew rave reviews through the spring and was the first wide receiver drafted for the spring game, while Mumphery is expected to do some big things.
Those two had big showings in the spring game, as Sims led the White team to the win with three catches for 22 yards and a touchdown and Mumphery had two catches for 68 yards. Langford and Sims fill the slot receiver spot and Mumphery is built more like a flanker and plays more like it, so expect once August roll around that they will settle in to some more defined roles.
Others include John Jakubik and Juwan Caesar.
Incoming: Aaron Burbridge, Monty Madaris, Macgarrett Kings and Kyle Kerrick
It is really bulky to put four YouTube cilps in this story, but these four are so talented, it left me with no option.
Fans still are awaiting to find out whether Burbridge will actually make it to campus, rumors have swirled about his academic standing, so time will tell. No use dwelling on the uncertain, though, because what is certain is the talent Burbridge brings. Just watch this, and note the grab at the 30-second mark.
Madaris is rumored to be the most polished of the incoming receivers -- in terms of his ability to block as well as catch the ball.
Kings is Keshawn Martin. There is no other way to put it. He is a stud on special teams and the way he will be utilized in the offense. Kings is that player that you really want to get the ball to because something special can happen when he gets it.
Kerrick was the lone early enrollee from the 2012 class, and that extra spring on campus cannot be underestimated in the impact it has on his playing time early in his career. He had a nice showing in the spring game, though the stats were not huge (two catches, 23 yards). He ran nice routes and showed a pretty impressive skill set in that game.
Needless to say, if you watched even one of those highlights, the future is bright at the wide receiver position in East Lansing.
Storyline: Really, who is it going to be?
In writing this preview, I started with Lippett as the Big Man on Campus, then went to Sims, then to Fowler. It could be any of them, or it could be someone else -- Burbridge or Madaris could contribute right away.
Who is going to be the go-to guy for Maxwell and the MSU offense? It is pure speculation until the Boise State game, but my best stab says Fowler -- if healthy. If not, it could be anyone.
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