February 7, 2013

NSD Quotebook: MSU Coaches on Running Backs

EAST LANSING - In the second of an "In Their Own Words" series of articles profiling Michigan State's 2013 recruiting class on a position-by-position basis, SpartanMag.com provides the straight quotes from Michigan State coaches about the players they signed on National Signing Day.

Today, we profiled the running backs position, with straight quotes from head coach Mark Dantonio and running backs coach Brad Salem on MSU's three running back signees in the 2013 recruiting class.

Flint Carman-Ainsworth's Gerald Holmes (6-1, 205) and Beaver Dam (Wisc.) High School's RJ Shelton were recruited as running backs.

Erie (PA) Cathedral prep's Delton Williams(6-2, 205) was recruited as an athlete, who projects as a potential Star linebacker, strong safety, or tailback.

Williams will begin his Michigan State career at running back.

Holmes is ranked the No. 11 player in Michigan and the No. 45 running back in the Class of 2013 by Rivals.com. Shelton is ranked the No. 4 player in Wisconsin and No. 31 running back. Williams is ranked No.14 in Pennsylvania and No. 40 at athlete.

"I felt like we had a need at running back," Dantonio said. "That's a position that's going to get banged up. We've got some talented players there, but it's going to be a position that's going to get hit on every single play and there's going to be injuries and there's going to be injuries afforded to the people because of their size and speed, things of that nature."

Dantonio expects Holmes, Williams, and Shelton to compete for playing time as true freshmen.

"I think running back is a position you can play as a true freshman," Dantonio said. "You look back at Edwin Baker and Larry Caper played that as true freshmen, and then the next year Le'Veon Bell bounced in there as a true freshman, and they all had over 200 carries I think in their freshman year. I think it's a position that can be played by a freshman, and I think all three of these guys physically are very gifted, and I'm going to include Delton Williams into that mix. They're very gifted.

"With our guys coming back, their opportunities are going to come this spring, but again, it goes back to can you stay healthy these first two weeks and can you pick it up, can you hold onto the ball when you're being hit, and how are you going to handle the tempo of the game, can you catch, can you understand the protections and those type of things.

"But very confident that, again, they have the skill set. The skill set is there, and that's what's exciting about these guys."

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