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14 days to football: 14 players to replace and the hardest ones to replace

 

J.T. Gray, making a tackle against Kentucky, is one of the players MSU is forced to replace.

J.T. Gray, making a tackle against Kentucky, is one of the players MSU is forced to replace. Photo by: The Dispatch File Photo

 

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Every day from 99 days out (May 25) until kickoff, I'll put up a post telling you how many days until kickoff and breaking down something about the upcoming season related to that number.  

 

Today, since we are 14 days away from kickoff, we take a look at: MSU lost 14 players to graduation or the NFL. Looking at which ones will prove most difficult to live without. 

 

 

 

WR Donald Gray 

 

- This one is pretty easy to explain, no? We all saw what happened to MSU's passing game when he went down for good. Yes there's a lot of talent to choose from here and yes there's a lot of depth, but there's more than that: Gray was excellent in traffic. It's hard to remember what MSU's pass game looked like with him in the fold since it was an early-season thing, but Nick Fitzgerald was clearly confident throwing into traffic if Gray was the one on the receiving end, and not so confident otherwise. Someone in the current receiving corps needs to identify themselves as that guy. 

 

LB Dez Harris 

 

- I think I've made this point elsewhere in the countdown, but this is a loss that will be felt in ways other than statistically. Harris was an excellent middle linebacker in all of the non-physical traits: the leadership, the mentorship, the preparation for the opponent, all of that. MSU really needs Erroll Thompson in that regard. 

 

P Logan Cooke 

 

- This is college football, after all, where the plight of finding solid specialists is well-documented, and this graduation is forcing MSU to find a new punter and kickoff specialist. They have the pieces on the roster to replace both capably, but remember....#CollegeKickers. 

 

The others: 

 

LB Traver Jung, WR Gabe Myles, CB Tolando Cleveland, S J.T. Gray, ATH Kareem Vance Jr., CB Lashard Durr, RB Bennie Braswell III, SN Hunter Bradley, OL Martinas Rankin, TE Jordan Thomas and S Brandon Bryant. 

 

Follow Dispatch sports writer Brett Hudson on Twitter @Brett_Hudson

 

 

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