Matt Sokol - Key Leader, Key Contributor, Key Spartan

Matt Sokol - Key Leader, Key Contributor, Key Spartan

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Matt Sokol - Key Leader, Key Contributor, Key Spartan

MSU’s fifth-year senior is a leader and a key contributor.  Without guys like Matt Sokol, Michigan State simply wouldn’t be the program that it is today.

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Take a look at some of the highlights from Matt Sokol’s first four years in the Michigan State football program, as they’re listed in his bio on the official MSU athletics website:

  • Fifth-year senior returns as the team’s starting tight end in 2018.
  • Three-year letter-winner has played in 39 career games, with 11 starts.
  • Member of the team’s Eagles leadership council.
  • Both of his parents were athletes at West Point.
  • Two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection.
  • Graduated in December 2017 with his bachelor’s degree in economics.

This is the type of guy that has made this program what it has become.

While Sokol isn’t some sort of household name across the world of college football, it’s not like he arrived in East Lansing out of high school begging to be given a shot at “making the team.”

Contrary to a significant element of the narrative about how Michigan State is made up of a bunch of guys that weren’t touted as high school football players, Sokol certainly had a profile prior to choosing to come to Michigan State.

He was rated the #20 tight end in the nation by Scout.com.

PrepStar named him to it’s All-Midwest Team when he was a senior at Adams High School in Rochester, Michigan.

The Detroit News named him the #5 senior in the state of Michigan.

The Detroit Free Press named him the #8 senior in the state of Michigan.

He was on the radar.

But, as is often the case, other programs didn’t see what Michigan State saw in him.

Perhaps Michigan State dug in enough to recognize that a kid who has two parents that are were athletes at and graduates of the United States Military Academy might be a guy who’s going to bring mental discipline, dedication, toughness, and maturity to the program.

Maybe Michigan State sensed that Sokol would be the type of guy that would earn Academic All-Big Ten honors twice and that type of presence would help in countless ways that are intangible.

And maybe Michigan State saw that this was a guy who would work hard and contribute however and wherever he could.

Watch clips of the last few seasons and see how many times Matt Sokol is in on making the plays as a member of the Special Team unit.

Last season, Sokol had five tackles on Special Teams.

And when Sokol makes plays on Special Teams, see if he gets excited about being out there and contributing.

Sokol is primed and ready to step in and be a leader as a starter at tight end and in the locker room.

In 2017, Sokol had 21 receptions (fourth on the team) – and 11 of those catches were good for either a first down or a touchdown.

Not everyone can be the star player, the one in the limelight, the one with all of the microphones in his face at all times.

Any program needs guys who put in the work and know their place in the overall scheme of things.

While they played different positions, I can’t help but think of Gerald Holmes when I think of Matt Sokol.

Holmes didn’t wind up on any big awards lists or national All-Anything rosters.

But would Michigan State have gone 10-3 last season without Gerald Holmes on the field, in the locker room, in teams meetings, and on the team bus?

Would Michigan State have won the Big Ten Championship and reached the College Football Playoff without Gerald Holmes in 2015?

Matt Sokol might not end up on many All-This or All-That lists at the end of the 2018 season.

But I get the sense that Sokol doesn’t care about that.

I get the sense that he might actually prefer to be on the Academic All-Big Ten list.

And I get the sense that Sokol wants to win more than anything else.

I also get the sense that there will be moments throughout the season when Spartan fans will say to themselves, “It’s so good to have Sokol out there – he just always seems to do things that help the team…”

Big Ten Championships aren’t just won by the star quarterback and the other stars on the team.

No Big Ten Championship has ever been won without guys like Matt Sokol doing all of the things that guys like him do on and off the field.

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