Michigan State speedster Jalen Nailor broke out last week with two touchdowns against Indiana in the Spartans’ 35-21 win in Bloomington. It’s not hard to see that Nailor is only just getting started.
When he broke free, it was as if the turbo jets turned on and he looked like he would have outrun Usain Bolt.
Jalen Nailor took the handoff from Brian Lewerke on the jet sweep late in Michigan State’s 35-21 win over Indiana last Saturday night in Bloomington with the game still tight and many Spartan fans worried that they were in store for an ugly finish.
By the time Nailor reached the endzone – untouched – Michigan State fans didn’t just let out a sigh of relief, they recognized that another weapon exists in the Spartans’ arsenal.
Nailor is a 6’0″, 187 pound freshman from Las Vegas and he’s already made himself a known commodity among Spartan fans.
After he took the jet sweep and immediately turned himself into a blur, it became reasonable to think that it might not accurate to label him “just” as a wide receiver.
On October 30th, 2004, Michigan State was leading UMAA 20-10 midway through the 4th quarter in Ann Arbor.
Damon Dowdell handed the ball off on a misdirection play to Deandra Cobb and Cobb was gone down the sideline like a cannonball fired out of an extremely powerful cannon that was built precisely for the purposes of hammering the nail into the coffin of the UMAAers that afternoon.
Cobb ran the 40 in about 3.4 seconds, I think.
As he sped down the sideline to extend Michigan State’s lead to 27-10, not only were all Green & Whiters certain of a 34-10 win that evening, everyone was also certain that Deandra Cobb would speed past all defenders and be one of John L Smith quirky weapons.
Braylon Edwards and UMAA had other thoughts that afternoon.
The 27-10 lead evaporated and UMAA went on to beat Michigan State in triple overtime 45-37 and the air was out of the Green & White balloon before it ever even filled up.
Deandra Cobb provided Michigan State fans with some more excitement during his time as a Spartan – but he never seemed to become the explosive weapon he had the potential to become.
It’s reasonable to suggest that Cobb was one of more than a few under-utilized assets during the John L Smith Era.
Coincidentally. Cobb happened to be from the same cozy place where Jalen Nailor is from – cozy and quaint Las Vegas, Nevada.
Nailor showed tremendous burst when he ran away from everyone last Saturday night.
But his first touchdown earlier in the game might have been even more impressive.
Midway through the first quarter of a scoreless tie, Michigan State moved the ball down to the Indiana 16-yard line.
The Spartans were in…………..the red zone.
The troubles the Spartans have had with the inability to pound on short yardage situations in the red zone and get the ball into the endzone were running through every Spartan fan’s mind.
On 2nd and 10, Brian Lewerke found Nailor open inside the 10-yard line.
Nailor calmly corralled the pass and immediately turned upfield where he plowed right over and through Indiana defensive back, A’Shon Riggins – a 6’0″, 188 pound junior – and found the endzone to provide Michigan State with a huge spark.
Nailor has the speed – that’s obvious to anyone with eyes.
But he also has the toughness and the nose for the endzone.
That was apparent on the touchdown where he made A’Shon Riggins wish he was playing flag football.
So, in Jalen Nailor, Michigan State appears to have a weapon.
The Spartan coaching staff certainly suspected this when they recruited him out of Vegas.
And we’ll be keeping a close eye on Nailor as he continues to find ways to contribute to the team.
The sense here is that he’ll be utilized in ways that won’t make us wonder why his runway score late against Indiana was the only time we saw him flash his potential.