Higby Has The Edge At Center - OLine Shows Its Depth

Higby Has The Edge At Center - OLine Shows Its Depth

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Higby Has The Edge At Center - OLine Shows Its Depth

Mark Dantonio makes the first significant announcement in Fall camp regarding depth and position status – Tyler Higby is on control at center and has the edge over freshman Matt Allen.

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As if on cue, Mark Dantonio demonstrated the way in which Michigan State has valuable depth on the offensive line in announcing that Tyler Higby has established himself as the leading candidate – at this point in Fall camp – to replace NFLer Brian Allen at center.

After months of discussion about the overall skill of Brian Lewerke, the commitment of LJ Scott, and the athleticism of Felton Davis, Fall camp is showing how everything really starts with the big boys up front.

The offensive line has plenty of depth, versatility, experience, and strength – but the question regarding who replaces former captain and current Los Angeles Ram Brain Allen has been one of the few areas on the team where there is uncertainty.

Today, after practice, Dantonio let it be known that fourth-year junior Tyler Higby has the edge in the middle.

Dantonio was quick to say that Matt Allen will play – and it’s a safe bet that Matt Allen will end up anchoring the Spartan offensive line for years to come.

But for right now, credit Dantonio and offensive line coach Mark Staten for acknowledging that the veteran Higby is the guy who seems to be most comfortable, most capable, and properly experienced to start things out as the anchor to the line.

Since Matt Allen’s last name is Allen, it’s easy to suspect that the competitiveness in his DNA will keep him working towards the goal of anchoring that line.

But perhaps this might give Allen a chance to take a deep breath and learn, get acclimated with everything, maybe find out how to get from the dorm to Grand River, and ease his way into things rather than forcing too much too soon.

It’s a great example of how the depth of the line will pay off all season.

Read more about the announcement in Matt Wenzel’s report from MLive.com here –

Tyler Higby takes over as Michigan State’s No. 1 center

Michigan State's Tyler Higby (70) tries to keep defensive lineman Raequan Williams (99) from the backfield during their 2017 spring football game at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, on Saturday, April 1, 2017.
By Matt Wenzel

EAST LANSING – Michigan State opened fall practice needing to replace just one starter on offense from last season.

Following the first scrimmage of camp on Friday, there’s now a leader for the spot.

Redshirt junior Tyler Higby has the edge over redshirt sophomore Matt Allen as the starting center.

“Right now, Tyler is the No. 1 center, I think, but Matt’s going to play,” Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said before practice on Tuesday. “He’s a young player and he continues to improve and he’s very capable. We’ll see how it all shakes out. That’s probably a situation as we go forward, two or three scrimmages in.”

Higby is in line to replace Brian Allen, who was selected by the Los Angeles Rams in the fourth round of the NFL draft. His younger brother, Matt Allen, is attempting to become the third in the family to start at center for the Spartans, following Brian and Jack Allen.

Michigan State redshirt junior starting quarterback Brian Lewerke said the transition to Higby delivering him snaps with the No. 1 offense has gone well. The two are also comfortable with each other off the field.

“We’re getting a feel for each other,” Lewerke said Tuesday. “Obviously, he’s my roommate and I’ve been roommates with him for four years, so I know him very well.

“We have our arguments a lot and that will be interesting with him being a center,” Lewerke added with a smile, “but it will be fun.”

Higby has 13 starts in 23 career games for the Spartans and an edge over Matt Allen in experience. He started the first seven games at left guard last year before being replaced by David Beedle, who returned from a knee injury and switched from right guard to left guard while true freshman Kevin Jarvis took over his old spot. Matt Allen took a redshirt as a true freshman and played just 48 snaps in 11 games last year. Higby took snaps at left guard, left tackle and center this spring while expanding his overall knowledge of the offense.

“Playing center in the spring helped a lot so I feel a lot more comfortable with that,” Higby said last week. “Between Matt and I, it’s been good. We’ve been helping each other learn and try to grow and from rep to rep just trying to help each other out with mistakes that we make and good things that we do.”

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