Four Spartans Selected to Participate at 2014 NFL Scouting Combine
Max Bullough, Darqueze Dennard, Bennie Fowler and Isaiah Lewis attempt to improve their stock for the upcoming NFL Draft.
Feb. 7, 2014
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Four Michigan State seniors - linebacker Max Bullough, cornerback Darqueze Dennard, wide receiver Bennie Fowler and safety Isaiah Lewis - have been selected to participate in the National Football League's 2014 Scouting Combine, scheduled for Feb. 20-25 (Thursday-Tuesday) at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind.
Michigan State has sent 18 participants to the NFL Scouting Combine the last four years and 27 total since head coach Mark Dantonio's arrival.
Bullough, Dennard, Fowler and Lewis were members of the winningest senior class in Michigan State history, winning 42 games the past four seasons. The Spartans defeated fifth-ranked Stanford, 24-20, in the 100th Rose Bowl Game on New Year's Day and closed the season ranked No. 3 in the final Associated Press and USA TODAY Polls with a 13-1 record.
The NFL Scouting Combine (National Invitational Camp) is organized and operated by National Football Scouting, Inc. NFL Network and NFL.com will provide more than 60 hours of live coverage from Lucas Oil Stadium beginning Thursday (Feb. 20). More than 600 NFL personnel, including head coaches, general managers, scouts and medical staff representing all 32 teams, will attend the Scouting Combine and evaluate more than 300 of the nation's top college players eligible for the upcoming 2014 NFL Draft through on-field drills, physical testing, psychological exams, as well as formal and informal interviews.
Live coverage of on-field workouts begins Saturday, Feb. 22 with the offensive linemen, tight ends and kickers, and continues with the running backs, quarterbacks and wide receivers on Sunday, Feb. 23, linebackers and defensive linemen on Monday, Feb. 24, and defensive backs on Tuesday, Feb. 25.
Bullough, a two-time first-team All-Big Ten selection by the league's head coaches, ranked among the team's leaders in tackles (third with 76), quarterback hurries (tied for second with 10) and tackles for loss (third with 9.5) in 2013. He finished the regular season with 218 production points (third). The first-team All-Big Ten selection, who was named one of 20 quarterfinalists for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, earned All-America honors from Phil Steele (second team), Associated Press (third team) and Lindy's (third team), and honorable mention accolades from SI.com.
Bullough represented the West in the 2014 East-West Shrine Game on Jan. 18 in St. Petersburg, Fla.
In his last appearance in Spartan Stadium, Bullough recorded nine tackles, including a 2-yard loss, as Michigan State completed its first-ever 8-0 Big Ten season with a 14-3 victory over Minnesota. He also compiled nine tackles in the win at Nebraska on Nov. 16.
Bullough was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week after recording a season-high 10 tackles in Michigan State's 14-0 win over Purdue, with two resulting in losses including a 7-yard sack that produced a fumble that senior Denicos Allen recovered and returned 45 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter.
Bullough led the Spartans in tackles the previous two seasons (89 as a sophomore in 2011; career-high 111 as a junior in 2012). He was re-elected as team captain and became just the third Spartan to be named a captain at least twice in the Dantonio era (Greg Jones, 2009-10; Kirk Cousins, 2009-11).
The Traverse City, Mich., native recorded 299 career tackles in 53 games, including 40 consecutive starts at middle linebacker. He finished his career ranked 11th in MSU history with 30.5 tackles for loss (103 yards), including 8.0 sacks (51 yards), and 18th in the school record book in tackles (299). Bullough posted double-figure tackles seven times during his career. He also was credited with 11 passes defended (three interceptions, eight pass break-ups) and four forced fumbles.
Bullough became the eighth player in program history to earn multiple Academic All-America honors. The finance major, who posted a 3.56 grade-point average, garnered first-team honors in 2013 after landing on the second team in 2012.
A unanimous first-team All-American at cornerback, Dennard was named the winner of the 2013 Jim Thorpe Award, which is given to the nation's best defensive back. Dennard also was selected recipient of the Jack Tatum Award, presented to college football's best defensive back by The Touchdown Club of Columbus. In addition, he was named one of five finalists for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy (presented to the nation's top defensive player by the Football Writers Association of America).
Dennard was chosen the Tatum-Woodson Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year and earned first-team All-Big Ten honors for the second year in a row in 2013. A unanimous first-team All-Big Ten pick by the coaches, he was named Big Ten Defensive MVP by ESPN.com and CollegeFootballNews.com.
Dennard finished the season ranked fourth on the team with a career-high 62 tackles, including 3.5 for loss (8 yards). He led the team and ranked sixth in the Big Ten with 14 passes defended, and also tied for the team lead with four interception and 10 pass break-ups.
The Dry Branch, Ga., native was one of the main reasons Michigan State finished No. 1 in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision in pass efficiency defense (92.3 rating), No. 2 in total defense (252.2 ypg.) and No. 3 in pass defense (165.6 ypg.).
Dennard was named to ESPN.com's Big Ten All-Bowl Team after helping the Spartan defense limit No. 5 Stanford to its third-lowest offensive output of the season in the 24-20 victory over the Cardinal in the 100th Rose Bowl Game; the Cardinal threw for just 143 yards, their second-lowest total of the season. He also produced three stops, including a 2-yard tackle for loss.
The 5-11, 197-pound Dennard recorded three tackles, two pass break-ups and forced a fumble in Michigan State's 34-24 win over No. 2 Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game. The Spartans limited the Buckeyes to 25 total yards in the fourth quarter, including zero passing yards, as MSU rallied from a 24-20 deficit to claim a BCS berth in the Rose Bowl.
On Senior Day against Minnesota in his last appearance at Spartan Stadium, Dennard tied his career high with nine tackles and also broke up a pass.
He recorded a career-best nine tackles and an interception in MSU's 30-6 victory at Northwestern, as the Spartans claimed the Big Ten Legends Division title for the second time in three seasons. It marked Dennard's personal best fourth interception of the season and 10th of his career. MSU's defense pitched a shutout in the second half against the Wildcats while allowing just seven first downs and 95 total yards.
Dennard produced an impressive all-around effort in the win over No. 23 Michigan, as MSU held the Wolverines out of the end zone for the second consecutive season. He picked off a Devin Gardner pass at the 3-yard line in the fourth quarter, and the Spartans proceeded to march 97 yards on an eight-play touchdown drive to seal the 29-6 victory. Dennard also forced a fumble and collected four tackles against the Wolverines.
He posted seven tackles in Michigan State's 14-0 victory over Purdue, including a half tackle for loss (1 yard). MSU's defense recorded its first shutout since 2011 (44-0 over Florida Atlantic) and its first against a Big Ten opponent since 1999 (34-0 at Northwestern).
Dennard totaled five tackles, a quarterback hurry and a pass break-up in MSU's 42-28 Homecoming win over Indiana, as the Spartans limited IU to season lows in passing offense (259 yards) and total offense (351). The Hoosiers entered the game ranked ninth in the nation in total offense (535.0 ypg.) and 10th in passing offense (346.0 ypg.).
Dennard was selected Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week after recording eight tackles and a career-high two interceptions in MSU's 26-14 win at Iowa. The Spartan defense limited the Hawkeyes to 264 total yards - 183 yards below their season average. In addition, MSU held Iowa to 23 yards rushing (1.4 yards per carry) - 221 yards below its season average. Michigan State shut out the Hawkeyes in the second half, as Iowa managed just six first downs, 6 rushing yards and 104 total yards in the final two quarters. Dennard's second interception at the 5:25 mark in the fourth quarter helped ice the game, and it marked the third multi-interception game of his career (2012 Outback Bowl vs. Georgia, 2012 vs. Nebraska).
Dennard started three years at cornerback for the Spartans. He collected 167 tackles and 30 passes defended (20 pass break-ups, 10 interceptions) in 44 career games, including 40 starts (29 consecutive to close out career). Dennard finished his career ranked tied for 11th in MSU history with 10 interceptions.
Fowler led the Spartans with a career-high 622 receiving yards and six touchdown receptions as a senior in 2013. He ranked third on the team with 36 catches, and was second on the team with 10 receptions of 20-plus yards. Twenty-six of his 36 catches (72 percent) resulted in either a first down or a touchdown. He also ranked third on the team in all-purpose yards (642; 49.4 ypg.) and scoring (36; 2.6 ppg.).
The 6-1, 212-pound Fowler led the team with 97 receiving yards on just two catches in the 100th Rose Bowl Game against fifth-ranked Stanford. His 37-yard reception late in the second quarter to the Cardinal 3-yard line set up the Spartans' second touchdown of the game, and on the second play from scrimmage in the third quarter, he broke several tackles and raced 60 yards to the Stanford 15-yard line, which set up Michael Geiger's 31-yard field goal that tied the game at 17 in MSU's eventual 24-20 victory.
Fowler had two catches for 99 yards at Northwestern, including an 87-yard TD reception from Connor Cook in the second quarter that tied for the fourth-longest reception in MSU history.
He led the team with six catches for 75 yards, including a 14-yard touchdown reception, in the win over No. 23 Michigan at Spartan Stadium Nov. 2. Fowler had two catches for 40 yards at Illinois, including an acrobatic 29-yard TD reception from Connor Cook in the closing seconds of the first half.
The Bloomfield, Mich., native hauled in a career-high nine catches for 92 yards, including a 37-yard TD from Cook, in the Big Ten opener at Iowa.
As a junior, Fowler led the team in receiving yards (524) and touchdown receptions (4), and ranked second in receiving yards (524).
A four-year letterwinner, Fowler had 93 receptions for 1,341 yards (14.4 avg.) in 44 career games, including 15 starts. He closed his career tied for 16th in MSU history with 11 touchdown receptions.
Fowler caught two passes for 19 yards for the North team in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., on Jan 25.
Lewis, who started 40 of 53 career games, was a first-team All-Big Ten selection by the league's head coaches in 2013. He started 12 of 13 games and finished sixth on the team in tackles (58 total: 29 solos, 29 assists) and production points (147 during the regular season). He ranked second on the team in passes defended (10 total: two interceptions and eight pass break-ups) and pass break-ups (eight).
The Indianapolis native previously auditioned in front of scouts at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., on Jan. 25.
The 5-foot-10, 208-pound Lewis closed out his Spartan career with four stops, including a half tackle for loss, in Michigan State's 24-20 victory over fifth-ranked Stanford in the 100th Rose Bowl Game.
Lewis produced a career-best 13 tackles (nine solos, four assists) and a pass break-up in MSU's 34-24 win over second-ranked Ohio State in the 2013 Big Ten Championship Game. He also accounted for a career-high 31 production points against the Buckeyes.
In his final appearance in Spartan Stadium, Lewis registered six tackles and a pass break-up as Michigan State completed its first-ever 8-0 Big Ten season with a 14-3 victory over Minnesota.
He recorded an interception in back-to-back games against Purdue and at Illinois. Lewis made seven stops in MSU's 21-6 victory over South Florida.
As a junior, he ranked second on the team with a career-high 80 tackles (41 solos, 39 assists).
His career totals include 227 tackles, eight interceptions and 26 passes defended (18 pass break-ups) in 53 games, including 40 starting assignments. Lewis ranks 10th in MSU history with 158 career interception return yards. He posted double-figure tackles four times during his career, and also was credited with five tackles for loss (9 yards).
NFL SCOUTING COMBINE - MSU PARTICIPANTS UNDER COACH DANTONIO
2008 (4) - RB Jehuu Caulcrick, TE Kellen Davis, WR Devin Thomas, S Nehemiah Warrick
2009 (3) - QB Brian Hoyer, RB Javon Ringer, S Otis Wiley
2010 (2) - PK Brett Swenson, WR Blair White
2011 (4) - WR Mark Dell, TE Charlie Gantt, LB Greg Jones, CB Chris L. Rucker
2012 (6) - RB Edwin Baker, QB Kirk Cousins, WR B.J. Cunningham, WR Keshawn Martin, S Trenton Robinson, DT Jerel Worthy
2013 (4) - CB Johnny Adams, RB Le'Veon Bell, DE William Gholston, TE Dion Sims
2014 (4) - LB Max Bullough, CB Darqueze Dennard, WR Bennie Fowler, S Isaiah Lewis