Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell, Titans right tackle Jack Conklin, Patriots quarterback Brian Hoyer and Vikings cornerback Trae Waynes are preparing to play in the divisional round of the NFL Playoffs this weekend (Jan. 13-14).
Position-by-position breakdown of the Spartans entering preseason camp.
Five Spartans selected in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Conklin becomes highest NFL draft pick (No. 8 overall) in the Mark Dantonio era.
2015 First-Team All-American becomes Michigan State's 36th all-time first-round selection, including its 25th since the inception of the common NFL Draft in 1967.
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) - Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio likes his team's resilience. Now it's time to develop a knockout punch. Connor Cook threw three touchdown passes and Nick Hill ran for two scores Saturday, but No. 8 Michigan State still needed a late interception return for a touchdown to hold on 45-31 at Purdue
• 2015 FIRST-TEAM ALL-AMERICAN (SPORTING NEWS, USA TODAY)
• 2015 FIRST-TEAM ALL-BIG TEN (COACHES, MEDIA)
CAREER NOTES: Selected in the first round (No. 8 overall) of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Tennessee Titans . . . became the first Spartan offensive lineman to be picked in the first round since Tony Mandarich in 1989 (No. 2 overall by Green Bay) . . . also became the highest drafted Spartan since wide receiver Charles Rogers (No. 2) in 2003 . . . was MSU’s 36th first-round selection in school history . . . three-year letterwinner was a three-year starter at left tackle . . . started in 38 of his 39 career games (35 at left tackle, three at right tackle) . . . recorded more than 235 career knockdowns . . . former walk-on was awarded a scholarship in January 2013 . . . chose to forgo his senior season to enter the 2016 NFL Draft.
CAREER IN BOWL GAMES: Started three bowl games at left tackle (2014 Rose, 2015 Cotton, 2015 College Football Playoff Semifinal at Cotton Bowl) . . . helped limit Baylor All-America defensive end Shawn Oakman to just three tackles as MSU gained 238 rushing yards on the nation's No. 9 rushing defense in the win over the fourth-ranked Bears in the 2015 Cotton Bowl Classic . . . started at left tackle in MSU's win over No. 5 Stanford in the 2014 Rose Bowl Game.
2015 SEASON (JUNIOR): Named All-American by Sporting News (first team), USA TODAY (first team), Associated Press (second team), CBS Sports (second team), Football Writers Association of America (second team), Walter Camp Football Foundation (second team), Phil Steele (third team) and SI.com (honorable mention) . . . became the first Spartan offensive tackle to be named a first-team All-American since Flozell Adams in 1997 . . . first-team All-Big Ten selection by the coaches and media; was MSU's first All-Big Ten First Team offensive tackle since Sean Poole in 2004 . . . also named first-team All-Big Ten by The Associated Press, Athlon Sports, BTN.com, ESPN.com and Phil Steele . . . recipient of the team’s Outstanding Underclass Lineman Award (offense) . . . played in 12 games (missed Purdue and Rutgers games with a leg injury) . . . had 65.5 knockdowns during the regular season . . . graded out as a winner in eight of his 10 regular-season games . . . helped anchor a Spartan offensive line that rushed for 174 yards on No. 4 Iowa -- the nation's sixth-ranked rushing defense -- in the Big Ten Championship Game . . . was named Spartan Offensive Lineman of the Week a team-best four times (Western Michigan, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio State) . . . had 8.5 knockdowns vs. Penn State as the Nittany Lions were held without a sack for the first time all season . . . named Spartan Offensive Lineman of the Week vs. No. 2 Ohio State as the Spartans rushed for 203 yards and ended the Buckeyes' 23-game winning streak; graded out a winner and had 1.5 knockdowns against OSU . . . selected fourth game captain for Maryland game and had five knockdowns against the Terrapins . . . delivered a winning grade at Nebraska and tallied nine knockdowns, including four dominators . . . named Spartan Co-Offensive Lineman of the Week after posting a winning grade and compiling eight knockdowns vs. Indiana . . . after missing two games, returned to action at Michigan in Week 7 and was named the Spartan Offensive Lineman of the Week after recording 7.5 knockdowns and registering a Big Ten Championship grade . . . did not play against Purdue (Week 5) and Rutgers (Week 6) due to a leg injury . . . saw his streak of 27 consecutive starts at left tackle end in Week 5 as he missed the Purdue game due to a leg injury . . . limited to 23 snaps against Central Michigan and was forced to leave midway through the game with a leg injury . . . led team with 7.5 knockdowns vs. Air Force and graded at a winning level against the Falcons . . . led team with 9.5 knockdowns and posting a winning grade in the win over No. 7 Oregon . . . named MSU's Offensive Lineman of the Week after grading out at a Big Ten Championship level and collecting six knockdowns in the win at Western Michigan . . . named the fourth game captain against the Broncos.
2014 SEASON (SOPHOMORE): Second-team All-Big Ten selection (coaches and media) . . . first-team All-Big Ten pick by BTN.com and second-team pick by Athlon Sports and Phil Steele . . . named a fourth-team All-American by Athlon Sports . . . named to CollegeFootballNews.com All-Sophomore Team . . . led team with 113.5 knockdowns, including nine dominators, and played a team-high 959 snaps . . . only allowed 2.5 sacks all season . . . recipient of MSU's Outstanding Underclass Lineman Award (offense) for the second year in a row . . . helped limit Baylor All-America defensive Shawn Oakman to just three tackles as MSU gained 238 rushing yards on the nation's No. 9 rushing defense in the win over the fourth-ranked Bears in the 2015 Cotton Bowl Classic . . . graded out the highest (83 percent) among Spartan offensive linemen during the regular season . . . named one of 10 semifinalists for the Burlsworth Trophy (awarded to former walk-on) . . . was selected Spartan Offensive Lineman of the Week a team-high four times (vs. Rutgers, Purdue, Wyoming and Jacksonville State) during the regular season . . . had 9.5 knockdowns at Penn State, including two dominators . . . selected Spartan Offensive Lineman of the Week vs. Rutgers after MSU scored 45 points and racked up 520 yards of total offense in the win over the Scarlet Knights . . . graded out the highest among Spartan offensive lineman (92 percent) vs. No. 14 Ohio State while being matched up for most of the game against Big Ten sack leader Joey Bosa; recorded 10.5 knockdowns and helped limit Bosa to just one tackle . . . led team with 15 knockdowns in the win over Michigan . . . led the Spartans with 10 knockdowns at Indiana as MSU rushed for 330 yards . . . named Spartan Offensive Player of the Week after producing a team-best 10 knockdowns at Purdue . . . named Spartan Offensive Lineman of the Week after recording a career-best 15.5 knockdowns vs. Wyoming as MSU rushed for 338 yards and didn't allow a sack . . . posted the highest grade among Spartan offensive lineman at No. 3 Oregon; had five knockdowns, including two dominators, against the Ducks . . . named Spartan Offensive Lineman of the Week after recording nine knockdowns, including two dominators, in the season opener vs. Jacksonville State, as MSU racked up 565 total yards.
2013 SEASON (RED-SHIRT FRESHMAN): Started 13 games (10 at left tackle; three at right tackle) and saw action in all 14 games in his first season . . . named first-team Freshman All-American by Sporting News, CollegeFootballNews.com and the Football Writers Association of America . . . named to ESPN.com Big Ten All-Freshman Team . . . Academic All-Big Ten selection . . . recipient of MSU's Outstanding Underclass Lineman Award (offense) . . . was credited with 55 knockdowns during the regular season . . . recorded a team-high five knockdowns against Minnesota . . . had a season-high eight knockdowns against Illinois . . . collected six knockdowns at Nebraska . . . recorded six knockdowns vs. Purdue . . . had seven knockdowns against Indiana . . . started his first game at left tackle at Iowa . . . started at right tackle the first three games of the season (vs. Western Michigan, South Florida and Youngstown State) . . . also saw action at left tackle in the first four games . . . started in his collegiate debut vs. Western Michigan; played 74 snaps against the Broncos and recorded 5.5 knockdowns . . . was a preferred walk-on for the 2012 season and earned a scholarship in the spring of 2013.
2012 SEASON: Redshirted . . . named Scout Team Offensive Player of the Week vs. Eastern Michigan.
HIGH SCHOOL AND PERSONAL DATA: Three-year starter for his father Darren Conklin at Plainwell (Michigan) High School . . . honorable mention all-state selection by The Associated Press and The Detroit News as a senior . . . earned first-team All-Wolverine Conference and first-team All-Allegan County honors in 2011 . . . Kalamazoo Gazette Division 1-4 first-team all-area selection as a senior . . . two-way starter saw action at right tackle and defensive end in 2011 . . . led the Trojans in tackles with 80 as a senior . . . recorded 12 tackles for loss, including two sacks . . . registered a career-best 11 stops vs. Edwardsburg . . . two-year starter at center for the Trojan basketball team . . . averaged a double-double as a senior (17.1 points and 10.4 rebounds per game) . . . contributed 12.3 points and 7.2 rebounds as a junior . . . also lettered in track (shot put and discus) . . . member of the National Honor Society . . . son of Darren and Jennifer Conklin . . . born Aug. 17, 1994 . . . majoring in interdisciplinary studies in social science -- human capital and society . . . spent 2 and 1/2 weeks in Australia (June-July 2015), participating in MSU's study abroad International Summer Sports Program.