College Football's New Look

There are other LSU signees who should contribute immediately. Think safety Jamal Adams, linebacker Clifton Garrett and possibly defensive tackle Travonte Valentine. But if the Tigers are to extend their streak of consecutive 10-win seasons to five, it will be because the offensive standouts from this talented class not only fill the holes on LSU's roster, but also play like the future stars Tigers fans expect them to become.

"Sometimes guys are afraid of young players coming in and taking their position, but here I don't sense that," LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron said. "I sense guys like the competition and they know we're going to need everybody to win a championship."

EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook wants you to do the math.

"How many five-star guys do we have on our team?" he asks. "Not many. How many four-star guys do we have on our team? Not many. But how many good football players do we have? A lot. They know what they want here in players and know how to develop those players."

Cook is a living, breathing example of what's made Michigan State one of the hottest programs in college football the past few years.

He came to East Lansing in 2011 as a three-star prospect out of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, and he wasn't on everybody's wish list, but he enters the 2014 season as one of the top quarterbacks in the Big Ten after winning MVP honors in both the Big Ten championship game and Rose Bowl last season.

The Spartans have won 11 or more games three of the past four seasons and finished in the top 15 of the polls three times during that stretch. Yet they've never finished in the top 25 nationally of ESPN's recruiting rankings under coach Mark Dantonio, who takes immense pride in the developmental component of Michigan State's program.

"Coach D goes for the guys who are Michigan State-quality guys," Cook said.

All-America defensive end Shilique Calhoun is yet another example. He, too, wasn't highly recruited, but returns for his junior season after registering 14 tackles for loss, including 7.5 sacks, last season.

"There's a reason we call ourselves Spartan Dawgs, because we're all hungry, all hard-nosed, and we're going to come out swinging and never let up," Calhoun said.

So while All-America cornerback Darqueze Dennard, All-Big Ten linebacker Max Bullough and All-Big Ten safety Isaiah Lewis are all gone, the Spartans have proven that they know how to reload, which goes back to what has set this program apart under Dantonio. From running back Jeremy Langford and offensive tackle Jack Conklin on offense to defensive end Marcus Rush, cornerback Trae Waynes and safety Kurtis Drummond on defense, Michigan State just keeps churning out players, and most importantly, teams that can line up and play with anybody.

"The Rose Bowl was a big goal, but the national championship is still out there," Calhoun said.

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