Going into the 2013 season, the Michigan State offense was facing the challenge of replacing their two best players, Le’Veon Bell and Dion Sims, while also trying to figure out who the starting quarterback would be. It’s a much different story going into 2014.
Connor Cook has solidified himself as the starting quarterback, and the only offensive skill player the Spartan’s are losing from last year’s Rose Bowl Champion team is Bennie Fowler. This stability should lead to an improved MSU offense in 2014, but who will be the star of the show? Here are a few possibilities as well as my prediction.
Quarterbacks always get too much credit when a team wins and too much blame when it loses. That probably applies to Connor Cook, but there’s no denying his 2013 performance was impressive. Cook finished the year with 2,755 passing yards, 22 touchdowns and just 6 interceptions. He also completed over 58 percent of his passes. Not too bad for a guy who was the week-one backup.
Cook also has a B1G Championship Game MVP and Rose Bowl MVP to his name, so it’s hard to imagine he isn’t the favorite to be the Spartan’s offensive MVP in 2014. However, there are a few things that could hold him back in 2014. First of which is interceptions. Cook threw just 6 in 2013, but anyone who watched all of Michigan State’s games knew that he could have easily thrown 10-15 if it weren’t for some good fortune.
The other reason Cook might not be the star of the offense is the offense itself. MSU’s offensive scheme is predicated on a power run game, which means it isn’t likely to see Cook put up 400-yard passing performances.
As the quarterback, Cook has a good chance to be the offensive star but don’t count out the other skill players for the Spartans.
Jeremy Langford is my choice for the Spartan’s offensive MVP this past season. He brought stability to the offense with his consistent play, and his speed provided explosiveness that the offense desperately needed.
Langford carried the ball 292 times for 1,422 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2013. He also had a streak of eight straight games with at least 100 yards rushing, something that neither Javon Ringer nor Le’Veon Bell did at MSU.
Langford had played defensive back and wide receiver for Michigan State before settling in at running back last season, so a full year of experience at the position will definitely benefit him going into 2014.
Langford’s explosive speed and the run-heavy scheme that the Spartan’s run will give him the chance to be the MVP of the offense, but the loss of a few key offensive lineman could hurt his chances.
Shelton deserves to be in this conversation because of his athleticism and playmaking ability. He came to MSU last year as a true freshman and contributed right away. He carried the ball 21 times for 153 yards and two scores, most of which came on jet sweeps and toss plays.
Coach Dantonio has come out and said Shelton will be used mostly as a receiver in 2014, and although MSU’s wide receiver depth chart is crowded, Shelton has the potential to stand out.
In 2013 Shelton showed that he is lethal with his hands on the ball in the open field, so if he can fine tune his skills as a receiver, he could wind up as the go-to playmaker on the Spartan’s offense.
The MVP for the Spartan’s offense in 2014 will be Jeremy Langford. Langford burst onto the scene as one of the top running backs in the B1G last year and I think he’ll become one of the best backs in the entire country in 2014.