RB Javon Ringer

2007 Statistics

Coach: Mark Dantonio
7-6, 1 year
2007 Record: 7-6
UAB WON 55-18
at Notre Dame WON 31-14
at Wisconsin LOST 34-37
at Ohio State LOST 17-24
at Iowa LOST 27-34 (2OT)
at Purdue WON 48-31
Boston College LOST 21-24

2007 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2008 Outlook

Mediocrity. That's been the Spartan profile since the new millennium. The difference between last year's 7-6 mark and their 38-45 record from the prior six years was the closeness of each of the six losses - none was by more than seven points, a competitive fact that hasn't been true here since 1989. That's the result of Head Coach Mark Dantonio and the lift he's given the future of the pigskin proceedings. The tough home win against powerhouse Penn State vaulted State to its first bowl birth since 2003. For his first year, with a new starter at QB and a struggling running game, Dantonio achieved more than most expected.

Expect no sophomore slump. Hoyer looks more honed than ever after studying under Drew Stanton and then staring for a year in the new system. The challenge will be on the line, but last year also looked like the Spartan bigmen might have issues, and the rebound of the running game proves why worries this time around should be lessened. Finding a second (and third) runner to split time with Second Team All-Big Ten RB Javon Ringer is another challenge, but a by-committee approach looks like it can work. This has the potential to be a special offensive unit, especially if the fullbacks stay in the mix for carries.

The defense turns over seven major cogs. The shifts at linebacker will be the keys to making this year's stoppers better than what was seen last year. Eric Gordon and Greg Jones were forced to fill in due to injuries, and what they did as true freshmen was impressive, if not promising. Jones led the team in tackles. Otis Wiley and Kendell Davis-Clark join Brandon Long and Justin Kershaw as the senior leaders, providing a nice mix of broken-in underclassmen and lead-by-example veterans. The line should improve, too. The turnover will show at first, but by October, the Spartan stoppers will be back to being a top Big Ten defense.

The defensive progress will be tested right away during the trip to Berkeley. That should be a high scoring affair MSU can win if the OL is ready. The next six games after that make for a type of siesta, a time when State could be winning weekly but has to keep from lulling itself to sleep with the five toughest conference foes about to hit. It's a set up for a streaky result. Dantonio will be tested to keep any momentum from the early results going into the challenging stages.

Inconsistencies during the last two campaigns prior to Dantonio's arrival were the bane of John Smith's efforts (went 1-6 and then 1-8 in the latter halves of his swansongs). A reflection of the growth seen in all areas, Dantonio went 3-3 against the cream of the conference crop during the end of last year's schedule. It's a new day in East Lansing, and anyone still banking on mediocrity will be sadly disappointed.

Projected 2008 record: 7-5
DB Otis Wiley
QB - 4 DL - 3
RB - 4 LB - 3.5
WR - 3 DB - 3.5
OL - 3 ..
2007 Statistical Rankings
Total Off:
Sacks Allow:
Total Def:

Passing: Brian Hoyer, 223-376-11, 2725 yds., 20 TD

Rushing: Javon Ringer, 245 att., 1447 yds., 6 TD

Receiving: Javon Ringer, 35 rec., 295 yds., 0 TD

Scoring: Brett Swenson, 15-22 FG, 53-54 PAT, 98 pts.

Punting: Aaron Bates, 69 punts, 39.7 avg.

Kicking: Brett Swenson, 15-22 FG, 53-54 PAT, 98 pts.

Tackles: Greg Jones, 78 tot., 40 solo

Sacks: Greg Jones, 4.5 sacks

Interceptions: Otis Wiley, 4 for 77 yds., 1 TD

Kickoff Returns: A.J. Jimmerson, 5 ret., 18.2 avg., 0 TD

Punt Returns: Mark Dell, 2 ret., 1.5 avg., 0 TD


OFFENSE: Devin Pritchett-FB, Jehuu Caulcrick-RB, Kellen Davis-TE, Pete Clifford-OT, Kenny Shane-OG, John Masters-C, Mike Gyetvai-OG, Devin Thomas-WR (NFL)
DEFENSE: Jonal Saint-Dic-DE, Ogemdi Nwagbuo-NT, Ervin Baldwin-DE, SirDarean Adams-SLB, Kaleb Thornhill-MLB, Nehemiah Warrick-SS, Travis Key-FS

Given last year's new starter under center, what was established in coordinator Don Treadwell's first season was impressive. Logically, he reestablished the running game to help 'shoe-in' then-junior Brian Hoyer. Formerly, Drew Stanton helped the ground attack with his own foot production, but Hoyer just scrambles out of harms way; Hoyer doesn't have running plays designed for him. Hoyer is placed in the pocket in this attack, using his rocket arm to throw 20 TDs and just 11 INTs in his first year as the starter after being Stanton's understudy for two years. Spring revealed even more maturity and leadership exuding from the senior. His backups both seem to have a firm grasp after orientating themselves last year as true freshmen. Nick Foles saw action in the opener with UAB, and he is substantially larger than classmate Kirk Cousins to differentiate between the two pro-style hurlers. One of the two will have to be fostered as the next in line if Coach Dantonio wants to stay 'in front of the eight-ball' for 2009. The summer should be critical for the future positioning because the backup this year is almost 100% sure of being the next Spartan QB.

The best news this off-season was finding out Javon Ringer would come back for his senior year (could have been an NFL pick). Not so tall, Ringer uses his 200lbs as a weapon to hurt tacklers. This Dayton product isn't sluggish by any means, using 4.35-(second 40) speed to earn 1,447 rushing yards last year. Ringer had a knee problem in '06 that sidelined him four games, so proving his cuts and footwork still had sting was a big step, let alone finishing fourth in the Big Ten for rushing and second on Michigan State for receptions with 35. Shoulder troubles had him out this spring, but he is expected back at full strength by summer. A.J. Jimmerson is the exact same sized back with the same game-breaking speed, and with over 250 of last year's carries going to RBs besides Ringer, Jimmerson'll get his chances. Andre Anderson offers a change of pace as a scat-back who needs to turn upfield this year after netting only 11 total yards on his nine touches in '07. Anderson was still having the same tendencies this spring (one carry was 97 yards that he bounced outside, otherwise he had one yard on 13 carries), but they must like him if he's still being given reps with the 1s. Ringer told Anderson to keep the ball inside during his absence... hmmm, good advice. Hawken doesn't seem to be the same kind of back that Jehuu Caulcrick was, so the 220 carries the fullback got won't likely 'stay in the family', but go to TBs Jimmerson and Anderson. Senior ex-LB and former walk-on Jeff McPhearson is the same kind of productive back as Caulcrick, so we'll just see how often the FBs get the rock.

TEs Charlie Gantt and Garrett Celek won't provide the offense Kellen Davis did (32 catches). Gantt has the will but not the pedigree, while Celek has the speed but not the hands. No tight ends in this year's incoming class means something has to give or the subtle distractions provided by this special position won't be the same (though the running dimensions will be bolstered). The other snarlers are an interesting mix. Deon Curry is a solid downfield blocker, the reason he's seen underneath so often. Mark Dell was last year's four-star prize, and they plugged him in right away. The reserves are adequate but unproven - Rucker is a deadly sprinter in pads (Chris D, that is; Chris L. is another totally different guy who is also being used in the corps), while Cunningham has the jumping ability to be a standout deep threat. Fred Smith is this year's four-star catch, and speedy Keshawn Martin will join him to push all for reps. The secret weapon could be Otis Wiley; a WR in prep, this Flint phenom was seen all spring on offense doing creative things.

The real issue this year looks like the line. If the spring game's paltry ground attack says anything, it's either that the run defense is stellar, or that the OL needs bolstering. Senior Roland Martin is the stalwart at right guard, starting 22 times after coming into East Lansing as the No.2 prospect so many years ago. Joel Nitchman seems to be still a bit slow after his knee troubles last year, but when moving well, he is a decent center (and a great long snapper). Brendan Moss was used at TE to prove his mobility for pulling situations. Jesse Miller is the longest tenured Spartan bigman, so he's seen it all from the knife-through-butter 2005 campaign to the dismal follow-up in '06 when the running game sputtered for 129 yards per game. Rocco Cironi has flown up the depth chart for the start at the vaunted left tackle spot. J'Michael Deane has great promise (footwork), while Mikes Schmeding and Bacon are experienced backups in case any starters falter.

The prognosis can be good if the sacks (allow about 2.3 per game for the past three years) disappear as the ground production remains. Otherwise, alot of talent will be wasted as the RBs deal with drawn in safeties and Hoyer has troubles when the WRs take time that isn't there to get open.


QB Brian Hoyer


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Brian Hoyer-Sr (6-2, 212) Nick Foles-Fr (6-5, 243)
Kirk Cousins-Fr (6-3, 197)
FB Andrew Hawken-Jr (6-2, 238) Jeff McPherson-Sr (6-1, 245)
RB Javon Ringer-Sr (5-9, 200) A.J. Jimmerson-Jr (5-10, 202)
Andre Anderson-Fr (5-9, 188)
WR Mark Dell-So (6-2, 185) David Williams-So (5-9, 176)
WR Deon Curry-Sr (6-1, 208) B.J. Cunningham-Fr (6-2, 205)
Chris D. Rucker-Fr (5-10, 172)
TE Charlie Gantt-So (6-4, 256) Garrett Celek-Fr (6-5, 230)
OT Rocco Cironi-Jr (6-6, 305) J'Michael Deane-So (6-5, 291)
OG Roland Martin-Sr (6-5, 325) Jared McGaha-Fr (6-6, 290)
C Joel Nitchman-Jr (6-3, 300) Mike Bacon-Sr (6-4, 298)
OG Brendon Moss-Jr (6-6, 292) Joel Foreman-Fr (6-3, 299)
OT Jesse Miller-Sr (6-6, 320) Mike Schmeding-Jr (6-8, 320)
K Brett Swenson-Jr (5-8, 160) Todd Boleski-Sr (6-6, 212) (KO)



The strides made on this side of scrimmage featured both good and hard-to-swallow results, but needed experiences nonetheless. It was Pat Narduzzi's first season here. Injuries played a big part in the formula of players that were used, but the results showed that Narduzzi has a good grasp on the talent he has to work with and that he knows just how to orchestrate the components here to build on the successes. There's lots of turnover; always a part of college athletics, getting new bodies when the system is only two years old can actually mean vast improvements since any confusion that did occur due to players being used to the old way is now gone. Anyone left has now had that extra year, and it will show.

The most turnover happens on the DL. Losing two ends who created 33 TFLs - one of whom also created eight fumbles to lead the country - will assuredly be missed, but such is not irreplaceable. Brandon Long was a LB with respectable speed, but as a rush end and down lineman, he will explode his senior year after starting twice last year as the main end reserve. Now Long is in charge of the youth movement around/behind him. Trevor Anderson transferred from Cincy when Dantonio came here; accordingly, he sat out last year and is pretty eager to get it on. 6'7 Tyler Hoover is rather quick for his lurching size, and after enrolling early, he has flown up the depth chart. Dwayne Holmes switched from TE/FB last year, but without knowing many fundamentals of DL play, Holmes has learned much this past year to apply this time around. The tackles have Kershaw to build around, and even after putting on some muscle weight this off-season, the senior ex-DE is still able to disrupt with great agility. Wilson was another typical story - forced into action as a true freshman, Cincinnati product Oren will be better for the lumps he took. Recruiting classmate Ryan Wheat has made huge strides, and since he was redshirted, he's good to go for four years of major contributions. Three years of big things will be coming from Antonio Jeremiah; slimmed down and somewhat experienced after five games last year, 'Tone' has been the center of much attention and is rumored to be in line to start next to Kershaw if he keeps advancing at his current rate. You can see we have the DL rated somewhat low, but it is not a glass-half-empty attitude, just one where we want to see assistant (DL) coach Gill produce results with the new alignment before we believe the current post-spring hype.

Like Jeremiah and Wilson, the LB corps was full of true freshmen who were in over their collective heads at times. The promise they showed at other times is the future of the defense. How bad is it when one of those true freshmen, Greg Jones, led both the team and all Big Ten freshmen in tackles, and was fourth for team TFLs as just a part-time starter? Jones has proven to be the leader of the corps at this point and, along with classmate Eric Gordon, the top LBs are now evident after spring confirmed last year's results. Gordon finished fifth on the team in tackles, but he'll be the first to admit that as a true frosh, he was barely in touch with where he needed to be, let alone what was transpiring before the snap. He and Freshman All-American Jones are playing at another speed now. The third freshman (redshirted) thrust into action a bit too early was Jon Misch. No knock on the Detroit-area product, just to say that Misch will also be more for it this time around. Adam Decker is vying for the MIKE start, but he's only penciled in at this juncture since junior ex-safety Brandon Denson could prove to be the coaches' choice for the third LB, and since Denson's an outside guy, Jones would move in at MIKE to make it work. Decker - who missed the season with a lower body injury and then won the starting spot during bowl practices - is the best LB at recognizing the play and reacting, but since he isn't amongst the four fastest, you get different skill sets whether Denson or Decker is in. Ryan Allison has received rave reviews since switching from split end, but his special teams play gave it away that he's a better fit here at LB. And Josh Rouse gets lost in the shuffle, but he's the incumbent reserve who’s been there with solid play since his true freshman year. The difference in a healthy, experienced corps versus one where green faces are scrambling half of the time will really make this defense better.

The secondary is now led by senior Otis Wiley. Flint couldn't be any happier with their native son's team leading four INTs; the "Pick Six" against Ohio State was one of the two lone TDs that day last October. Coaches feel Wiley works better in traffic, so he is being moved from field/free safety to boundary/strong safety. Dantonio wants more leadership from his seniors, namely Wiley, and Wiley will respond. Jeanrette is ahead of ex-WR Dan Fortener for the start next to Wiley, and their competition will assure the new starter earns the spot. Ex-QB Marcus Hyde is a worthy choice who is ready in case of injury, so this area is good. So is the outside coverage. Kendell Davis-Clark was 2004's state champ in the 100 and 200; now a senior (he possibly has one more year if he works toward his degree), Davis-Clark started at boundary corner, but will have to stay sharp to hold of Chris L. Rucker's charge that earned him four starts as a true frosh. But like so many true freshmen, Rucker was forced to learn a tough lesson when he was in for Ross Weaver during the bowl loss to Boston College and gave up a big TD in the fourth. Weaver was still out this spring to explain his 'demotion' on the depth chart, but the shoulder surgery will pay off come fall for this burner. Regardless of individual stats, last yea's DBs gave up 22 passing TDs and only took 11 INTs. When the INTs outnumber the TDs, you'll know the DBs have taken a corner toward improving as a unit.

This can be a great stopping unit if they just come together under Narduzzi's smart plan, and the replacements all seem to get what he's teaching much more (than last year's crew) so that this year has the potential to be special on defense.


DT Justin Kershaw


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Brandon Long-Sr (6-4, 240) Tyler Hoover-Fr (6-7, 275)
DT Justin Kershaw-Sr (6-5, 278) Kevin Pickelman-Fr (6-3, 245)
NT Oren Wilson-So (6-3, 292) Antonio Jeremiah-So (6-5, 315)
Ryan Wheat-Fr (6-5, 310)
DE Trevor Anderson-Jr (6-2, 255) Dwayne Holmes-Sr (6-0, 283)
SLB Greg Jones-So (6-1, 222) Jon Misch-So (6-2, 210)
MLB Adam Decker-Jr (6-2, 233) Josh Rouse-Jr (6-3, 235)
WLB Eric Gordon-So (6-0, 220) Brandon Denson-Jr (5-11, 216)
CB Kendell Davis-Clark-Sr (5-11, 204) Chris L. Rucker-So (6-2, 194)
CB Ashton Henderson-Jr (5-11, 184) Ross Weaver-Jr (6-1, 203)
SS Otis Wiley-Sr (6-2, 210) Marcus Hyde-So (6-0, 206)
FS Roderick Jenrette-Jr (6-1, 200) Dan Fortener-Jr (6-1, 197)
P Aaron Bates-So (6-0, 190) Matt Haughey-Sr (5-9, 170)




The punting game needs help. The net results are consistent with Aaron Bates's controlled kicks, but the net results need to be better with their controlled approach. Brett Swenson has issues from outside of the 40-yard barrier - he was 3-for-7 from 40+, with a long of 46 yards and two were blocked. This could be the opening for kickoff specialist Todd Boleski, a 6'6 functional place kicker who can chase ball carriers down as well as he can get distance on his tries. Dantonio has been sold on incoming frosh Johnny Adams getting a look at PR; DB Davis-Clark, along with RBs Ashton Leggett and Andre Anderson, are the guys mentioned for KR. "We will experiment," Dantonio pledges.