EAST LANSING, Mich. – Three Michigan State seniors – linebacker Riley Bullough, tight end Jamal Lyles and wide receiver R.J. Shelton – will showcase their talents in the sixth annual NFLPA Collegiate Bowl on Saturday, Jan. 21. Lyles (National) and Shelton (National) will be matched up against Bullough (American) when the two teams meet at the StubHub Center at 4 p.m. EST in Carson, California; the game will be televised live on FS1.
Bullough garnered All-Big Ten honors for the second year in a row in 2016, as he was a second-team pick by the coaches and a third-team selection by the media in 2015. He was named to the third team this past season.
A team captain, Bullough finished second on the team in tackles for loss (6.5 for 13 yards) and third in tackles (76) despite missing three games (Wisconsin, Indiana, BYU) due to an injury. His 8.4 tackles per game average led the Spartans and tied for eighth best in the Big Ten in the regular season. In addition, Bullough’s 64 tackles (9.1 avg.) in conference play ranked sixth best in the league.
Bullough, a native of Traverse City, Michigan, tallied double-digits in tackles four times in 2016: season-high 14 vs. Michigan (Oct. 29), 12 vs. Northwestern (Oct. 15), 11 each vs. Ohio State (Nov. 19) and Illinois (Nov. 5). He posted a season-high two tackles for loss (7 yards) at Maryland and had at least one tackle for loss in five of the nine games he played in during the 2016 season.
Bullough won a team-best five awards in 2016: Downtown Coaches Club Award (most outstanding senior defensive player), Biggie Munn Award (most inspirational defensive player), Iron Man Award (strength and conditioning), Doug Weaver Oil Can Award (team humorist), and the Captains Award (team captain).
The 6-2, 227-pound Bullough finished his career with 214 tackles, becoming the fourth member of the Bullough family with 200 tackles (uncle Chuck with 391 from 1988-91; father Shane with 311 from 1983-86; brother Max with 299 from 2010-13). He also had 18 tackles for loss (54 yards), 7.5 sacks (37 yards), four interceptions, three fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles in 50 career games, including 23 starts. He had seven career games with double-digit tackles. As a junior, Bullough led the Spartans with a career-high 106 tackles.
Lyles recorded career highs in receptions (12) and receiving yards (145) as a senior in 2016. He tied a career high with three receptions and had a career-high 57 receiving yards at Maryland on Oct. 22, including a season-long 24-yard catch. Lyles also had three catches for 39 yards vs. Northwestern. A converted defensive end, Lyles played both tight end and on the defensive line in the win at No. 18 Notre Dame on Sept. 17. He opened the season with a 12-yard TD grab against Furman.
As a junior on Michigan State’s 2015 Big Ten Championship and College Football Playoff team, Lyles had eight catches for 133 yards, including a 16-yard TD at Nebraska. He was named the Spartan Co-Offensive Lineman of the Week in the win over Central Michigan.
Lyles had five catches for 74 yards as a sophomore in 2014 and five receptions for 58 yards as a redshirt freshman in 2013. Following a redshirt season in 2012, he made the switch from defensive end to tight end during the second week of the 2013 season.
The 6-3, 257-pound product of Southfield, Michigan, had 30 catches for 410 yards (13.7 avg.) and two TDs in 52 career games from 2013-16, including 10 starts.
Named the team MVP in 2016, Shelton led the Spartans in receptions (53), receiving yards (789) and all-purpose yards (1,377), and tied for the team lead in touchdown catches (5), all of which were career highs. During the regular season, he ranked tied for fifth in the Big Ten in receptions (4.4 pg), fifth in all-purpose yards (114.8 ypg), sixth in receiving yards (65.8 ypg) and tied for ninth in TD catches (5). Shelton led the team with 22 plays of 20 yards or more (11 kick return, 10 receptions, one rush), and four of MSU's eight plays of 50-plus yards in 2016 featured Shelton.
The 5-11, 202-pound Shelton caught two 86-yard touchdown passes (at Indiana, vs. Northwestern) from Tyler O’Connor, becoming one of only two players in school history to have two touchdown receptions of 86 yards or longer in the same season (Sherman Lewis, 1963).
Shelton had two 100-yard receiving games in 2016: career-high 190 vs. Northwestern (Oct. 15) and 141 at Indiana on Oct. 1. He had TD grabs of 86 and 59 yards against the Wildcats and finished with a career-high 260 all-purpose yards. The 190 receiving yards against Northwestern were the second-highest single-game total by a Big Ten player during the regular season.
Shelton hauled in at least seven catches in five different games, including a career-high eight for 80 yards in the win at No. 18 Notre Dame on Sept. 17. He also had seven catches vs. Indiana (141 yards), Northwestern (190), Maryland (89) and Illinois (80).
A four-year letterwinner, Shelton finished his career with 116 career catches for 1,471 yards and scored a total of 16 touchdowns (11 receiving, four rushing, one kick return) in 53 career games, including 23 starts. The Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, native ranks among MSU's all-time leaders in kick return yards (second with 1,855), kick returns (second with 80), all-purpose yards (13th with 3,900), receptions (tied for 17th with 116) and touchdown catches (tied for 18th with 11).