It's never too early to look ahead to the 2012 football season, so I'm breaking down MSU position by position and handing out grades. Keep in mind, 2012 commitments are not factored in unless it's one of the juco December signees already on campus. Entertainment purposes only, no wagering or loud cursing allowed.
• Losses: None.
• Returning experience: Chad Bumphis (Sr.), Michael Carr (Jr.), Arceto Clark (Sr.), Brandon Heavens (Sr.), Robert Johnson (So.), Jameon Lewis (So.), Ricco Sanders (Jr.), Chris Smith (Sr.), Sam Williams (Jr.)
• Redshirts: Devin Fosselman, Kendrick Market, Joe Morrow
• Likely starters: Bumphis, Clark, Smith
• Overall grade: B. This is a tough group to grade. It wasn't as productive last season as I expected it to be, although we saw some really nice things from Clark and Smith. Bumphis has to reach that next level, because Lewis will be gunning for his job in the slot.
• Depth grade: A. So much experience returning here. Lewis needs to get more involved, and Morrow offers the kind of big target MSU has lacked.
• Losses: Marcus Green
• Returning experience: Malcolm Johnson (So.), Brandon Hill (So.)
• Redshirts: Rufus Warren
• Likely starter: Johnson.
• Overall grade: B. Johnson (11 catches, 206 yards, three TDs) displayed his myriad tools last season – great hands, toughness over the middle, good body position when making a catch, etc. That 18.7-ypc average is eye-popping for a tight end – but then, Johnson's a converted receiver. If the coaches so desire, he can become a bigger receiving threat next fall.
• Depth grade: B-minus. We didn't get to see much of Hill last season, but he's a good athlete. And I've heard nice things about Warren. MSU doesn't need a ton of depth at this spot; it's been kind of a bonus position in this offense. Nice if you have it, but it's not been utilized a ton in the pass game.