Throughout this football season, we at SpartanMag.com will offer our insights into which Spartans we believe are the hottest players on the Michigan State football team. It's a fine line, ranking players from week to week, and we encourage readers to head over to the Underground Bunker board to offer up their own opinion. Where does your Hot 11 rank?
Ryan played inspired football Saturday night. He was arguably the best lineman, offensive or defensive, in the game. His two sacks paced the Spartan defense and he demanded extra attention from the Notre Dame offensive line on a regular basis. Ryan is quietly playing himself into an NFL future at defense tackle. Though he has yet to get the recognition from the media he deserves, Big Ten coaches are realizing that Ryan is a force to be reckoned with.
Caulcrick was a driving force on the field. From his opening carry when he ran over ND safety Tom Zbykowski to his touchdown run in the driving rain, he was a load to bring down. Caulcrick finished the game averaging 14 yards per carry. The biggest point of contention for many Spartan fans is: Why did he only carry the ball 8 times? Don't be surprised if Caulcrick's role expands in coming weeks. A motivated Caulcrick could be the difference MSU needs when it faces off with U-M and OSU.
Baldwin continues to make progress. Last week we stated he is giving Michigan State its best pass rush play since 2004. It may not be long before he is giving MSU its best DE play since that year. Baldwin's interception return for a touchdown was one of the best plays we have seen by a Spartan defensive end in a long time. The fact that Baldwin is still only scratching the surface of his potential should make for a bright future. A full offseason under strength and conditioning coach Ken Mannie should pay big dividends.