Redshirt senior Madre London became the fourth player to transfer from the Michigan State Football program this offseason when he announced over his twitter account that he would seek a new school for his final year of eligibility.
Forever and Always will be a Spartan Dawg. 💯 pic.twitter.com/bfne8yLpaf
— Madre London (@madrelondon) February 9, 2018
In his three seasons at Michigan State, London scored ten total touchdowns, nine on the ground, while racking up 1,124 career yards in 30 games. He chose to leave the Spartan program and become a graduate transfer for his final collegiate season.
London’s decision to leave puts Michigan State’s running back depth in an interesting situation. Add in the graduation of Gerald Holmes and that leaves just two players on the Spartan’s roster with a collegiate carry. Senior LJ Scott who has taken 531 carries since coming to East Lansing and sophomore Connor Heyward who has three career carries. Redshirt Sophomore West Bridges is also on the roster as well as incoming freshmen Elijah Collins out of U-D Jesuit High School and La’Darius Jefferson out of Muskegon High School.
After deciding to return for his senior year, Scott will be the clear-cut starter in the backfield come Michigan State’s first game against Utah State on Aug 31. After him is where it gets “iffy”.
Heyward has shown in the kick return game that he can be a powerful runner with above average vision. Towards the end of the season, he also showed he has the ability to come out of the backfield as a receiver and make plays as evident with his seven yard touchdown against Rutgers in Michigan State’s final regular season game. Going into spring camp he will most likely be the favorite for the backup role.
Bridges is more like Holmes in his running style. Being a smaller guy at 5-11 and 197 lbs, he is not afraid to run in-between the tackles and makes moves on wimpy tacklers or cut it to the outside.
With Jefferson, head coach Mark Dantonio has more flexibility in where to put him. In high school he spent most of his time as the signal-caller for Muskegon. However, he was recruited to Michigan State as an athlete and can play a variety of positions including running back or even as a slot receiver. In my opinion Jefferson is not going to be the set No. 2 or No. 3 back on MSU’s depth chart. He will be a guy used all over the field where he can use his athleticism to beat defenders.
Collins seems like the more likely guy to be in the mix for the backup or third-string roll between him and Jefferson. Coming into Michigan State as a 6-0, 200 lbs running back, he has a body more like London’s. His ability to use his larger frame to be explosive inside the tackles as well as use his 4.5 speed on the outside makes him a potential good compliment to Scott.