EAST LANSING - One day after defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi said Johnny Adams was playing this spring like a "first-team All-Big Ten, Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year" type of performer, Adams was the first player selected during Michigan State's Green-White Game draft, Wednesday at the Skandalaris Center.
Adams, a 5-foot-11, 170-pound junior from Akron, Ohio, was selected by the Green team.
In the Green-White Game draft, seniors are divided up by the coaching staff. From there, the seniors make the draft picks.
Quarterback Kirk Cousins who throws against Adams every day in practice, and safety Trenton Robinson, who plays next to Adams on the wide side of the field, were the main decision-makers for the Green team in selecting Adams.
Most draft picks were consistent with depth chart order, with the exception of one. Sophomore second-stringer Denzel Drone was the first defensive end selected, ahead of first-string junior Tyler Hoover.
"Denzel is having a great spring," said Michigan State head coach [db]Mark Dantonio. "He really has. He is athletic, he is about 250, 255 and runs and plays hard. He has been an athletic player for our defense and you can see that our players respect that."
The other first-string defensive end, William Gholston, was the fourth defensive end selected due to nagging shoulder soreness which kept him out of practice last week.
"William Gholston practiced the first time in about a week and a half yesterday and looked pretty good to me. So he would have been a little higher on my depth chart," Dantonio said with a smile. "I would have taken him a little higher. I would have thought the defensive ends would have gone a lot sooner because they can be game-changers."
Michigan State returns only two starting offensive linemen from last year's 11-2, Big Ten championship team. Only one of them, right guard Chris McDonald, is available to play in the Green-White Game. Starting left guard Joel Foreman is sitting out the spring with an upper body injury.
But McDonald was not the first offensive lineman taken in the Green-White draft. Sophomore Dan France, who was elevated to first-string left tackle last week, was the first o-lineman selected, taken by the Green. The White team was already designated with second-string left tackle, senior Jared McGaha.
Dantonio was asked if he was surprised that McDonald wasn't taken first.
"Yeah a little bit, but they value an offensive tackle (in France)," Dantonio said. "But McDonald moved out and played offensive tackle in the last practice; I don't know if everybody saw that, but he can play offensive tackle as well."
France was followed in the draft by McDonald, then center/guard Blake Treadwell, center Travis Jackson, tackle/guard Zach Hueter,, guard/tackle John Deyo and center/guard Ethan Ruhland and walk-on guard Shawn Kamm.
After the draft, Dantonio spent a few minutes making sure the teams were even from a positional standpoint. The White team had stacked four fullbacks onto its roster. Dantonio moved freshman Niko Palazetti to the Green team. "Niko needs to play, needs to get on the field," Dantonio said.
The Green team had six defensive backs and the White team had four. Dantonio attempted to move Tony Lippett to the White team to even the rosters, and the White team celebrated. The Green team disputed the move, led by Robinson's loud voice. Dantonio relented and allowed Lippett to stay on the Green team and instead moved third-string cornerback Dana Dixon to the White to even things out.
"I have to listen to my players," Dantonio said.
QB Kirk Cousins
RB Edwin Baker RB Larry Caper
FB Niko Palazeti FB Jeff Bobek
TE Dion Sims TE Brian Linthicum
WR Brad Sonntag WR Fred Smith WR Keith Nichol WR Bennie Fowler WR Chris D Rucker WR Kyle Nichol
LT Dan France OG Shawn Kamm C/G Blake Treadwell C/G Ethan Ruhland OT/OG Zach Hueter
DE Will Gholston DE Tyler Hoover
DT Anthony Rashad White DT Micajah Reynolds DT Doug Curtis
MLB TyQuan Hammock OLB Denicos Allen OLB Jeremy Gainer LB Danny Folino
CB/WR Tony Lippett CB Johnny Adams S Mylan Hicks S Trenton Robinson S Jairus Jones
P Kyle Selden K Dan Conroy SN Steve Moore
QB Andrew Maxwell QB Peter Badovinac
RB Le'Veon Bell RB Nick Hill RB Jeremy Langford
FB Todd Anderson FB Adam Setterbo FB Chris Hessell
TE Derek Hoebing TE Garrett Celek TE Andrew Gleichert TE Drew Stevens
WR BJ Cunningham WR Keshawn Martin WR Milton Colbert WR Donald Spencer WR Keith Mumphery
OT/OG Jared McGaha OT/G John Deyo C Travis Jackson OG Chris McDonald OT Michael Dennis OG Arthur Ray
DE Denzel Drone DE Marcus Rush DE Taylor Calero
DT Jerel Worthy DT Blake Pacheco DT Jordan Sanders
MLB Max Bullough OLB Kyler Elsworth OLB Steve Gardiner LB Ty Hamilton
CB Darqueze Dennard CB Mitchell White CB Dana Dixon