Michigan State QB
Hometown: Farmington Hills
2004 Stats: 94-for-151 passing for 1,043 yards, six
touchdowns and three interceptions. 61 carries for 476 yards and
four touchdowns. Two receptions for 22 yards and a touchdown.
The Spartans feature the second-best rushing attack in the Big
Ten (213 yards per game). While Stanton leads the ground game,
Michigan State has three running backs who receive substantial
carries in its one-back formations: freshman Jehuu Caulcrick,
junior Jason Teague and senior DeAndra Cobb. Stanton throws to a
slew of wide receivers who range in size and speed. While 5-foot-10
sophomore Jerramy Scott — originally a running back who was
converted to wide receiver — leads the Spartans with 26 grabs
for 274 yards and a touchdown, 6-foot-6 junior Matt Trannon —
a member of Tom Izzo’s hoops team in the winter — has
hauled in 22 receptions for 287 yards and a touchdown. Agim Shabaj
is Michigan State’s most explosive receiver. The junior has
track speed and last season he burned the Wolverines for a 73-yard
score. Senior tight end Eric Knott leads the Spartans with three
Best 2004 Performance: In Michigan State’s 51-17
drubbing of then-No. 19 Minnesota just two weeks ago, Stanton
accounted for a school-record 410 total yards. He completed
20-of-31 throws to nine different receivers for 308 yards and three
touchdowns and ran for 102 yards on 13 carries.
The Skinny: The multi-talented Stanton possesses
new-age-quarterback skills. The sophomore boasts a pretty live arm
and he also leads Michigan State in rushing yards and rushing
touchdowns. John L. Smith’s spread attack is a perfect fit
for this athletic signal-caller. Stanton seems to be fully
recovered from the torn ACL he suffered during last season’s
17-3 Alamo Bowl loss to Nebraska while playing on the
Spartans’ punt team. A two-year starter at Michigan high
school powerhouse Farmington Hills Harrison, Stanton won
back-to-back state titles in 2000 and 2001. His go-to receiver in
high school — junior Agim Shabaj — remains a steady
target for Stanton at Michigan State.
Year: True freshman
Hometown: Wyomissing, Pa.
2004 Stats: 152-for-250 passing for 1728 yards, 13
touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Two rushing touchdowns.
Mike Hart has taken on the full load at running back. The true
freshman is the focal point of Michigan’s offense and has
carried the ball 187 times for 957 yards and four touchdowns. The
Wolverines have another true freshman, Max Martin, spelling Hart
when necessary. At the beginning of the season, many publications
claimed Michigan had the top receiving corps in America. While the
Wolverines still may have the country’s best wideout unit,
they’ve had trouble getting production from more than one of
their three biggest targets — senior Braylon Edwards, junior
Jason Avant and sophomore Steve Breaston — on the same day.
As Henne has continued to learn the intricacies of the Michigan
offense, junior tight ends Tim Massaquoi and Tyler Ecker have
become more and more involved in the passing game.
Best 2004 Performance: Although Henne did have two
interceptions against Minnesota, the freshman threw for 328 yards
and two touchdowns and led Michigan on an six-play, 87-yard drive
late in the fourth quarter to beat the Golden Gophers 27-24.
The Skinny: Henne fits the mold of the traditional
Michigan drop-back passer. Although he’s more mobile than
John Navarre was, Henne’s definitely most comfortable sitting
in the pocket and slinging balls to his talented receiving corps.
Thus far, the 19-year-old has made some freshman mistakes (as
evidenced by his 10 picks). But, for the most part, he’s
looked mature beyond his years. Besides his masterful two-minute
drill against Minnesota, Henne also brought Michigan back to beat
Purdue last week. Trailing 14-10 late in the third quarter, Henne
went on to pioneer three drives into the Purdue red zone —
two of which generated the field goals Michigan needed to beat the