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5 Newcomers to Watch for the Michigan State Spartans in 2018

Mark Dantonio

Mark Dantonio

With both National Signing Days now complete, college football coaches can start putting pieces in place and names on depth charts to get a better idea of what their teams will look like in the upcoming season.

College Football Top 25 Rankings: Michigan State

Mark Dantonio's Michigan State Spartans return the core of their 10-win team from 2017. That said, there will be some new faces in East Lansing this fall that could provide critical depth and possibly play some key roles.

Here are five Michigan State newcomers to watch in 2018.

Kalon Gervin, CB

Gervin was one of the top cornerback recruits nationally in the 2018 class. The four-star out of Detroit has an offer list that is a veritable "who's who" of college football programs. He's a guy who almost never gets beat deep due to his elite speed and is wise beyond his years in terms of fundamentals and technique. It's going to be tough to keep him off the field as a freshman.

Xavier Henderson, ATH

Henderson can play anywhere in the secondary, running back or wide receiver and return kicks. He'll likely make his name on defense for the Spartans, but don't be shocked to see him take a handoff or toss out of the backfield every so often. He'll be a factor in Michigan State's return game as well.

Elijah Collins, RB

Collins is a very versatile back who also fits the mold of the traditional Spartan backs who are strong runners between the tackles. With the departure of Gerald Holmes and Madre London, the depth chart is pretty thin behind LJ Scott. Collins has a very good chance at getting regular snaps all season.

Jalen Nailor, WR

Nailor is a speedster, a prototypical slot receiver and a perfect fit for the Spartan offense. It's not hard to imagine him growing into R.J. Shelton's Swiss Army knife role rather quickly. Nailor gives Mark Dantonio's offense an explosive weapon that opposing teams must account for every time he's on the field.

Jeslord Boateng, LB

Boateng is very strong for his size and should adapt to the college game quickly. What sets him apart, however, is his rare speed for the position. It's not often that you see a linebacker who runs like a receiver, but that's exactly what Boateng is. Look for him to have an immediate role on obvious passing downs, with plays designed for him to rush the passer from basically anywhere on the field.

— Written by J.P. Scott, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. His work has appeared on,, Yahoo!, SBNation and Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @TheJPScott.