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September 08, 2010

How happy are these guys' parents?

Five MSU players entered camp as walk-ons and left it with scholarships. Junior defensive end Todd Anderson of Napoleon found out last Wednesday when Mark Dantonio announced it in front of the team.   

    "It was awesome," Anderson said. "Long road, but I feel good now about it. I kind of got the chills. It's what you work for the whole time here ...It was one of the best days of my life, probably."

    Anderson is joined by defensive lineman Johnathan Strayhorn, fullback Nick Bendzuck, kicker Dan Conroy and safety Jesse Johnson in the "former walk-on" category. All will make important contributions this season -- Conroy is the starting place kicker; Anderson is in the rotation at defensive end and is the right end when MSU goes to its "30" defense on third down; Strayhorn is the nose tackle in that package, giving MSU some speed there as Ervin Baldwin did three years ago; Bendzuck is the starting fullback in light of Josh Rouse's neck injury; and Johnson is in his fourth season as a regular on special teams.

    All have paid their dues as well. Anderson is in his fourth season in the program. Bendzuck (Strongsville, Ohio) is in his fourth. Conroy (Wheaton, Ill.) is in his third, Johnson (Durand) is in his fifth, and Strayhorn (Oak Park) is in his fourth. As Jeff McPherson, Travis Key, Brandon Denson and others have displayed in recent years, walk-ons can make a difference in this program.

    Quick links: Forgot to link three questions from Tuesday. Here's much more on Conroy and other notes. And another piece on Brian Hoyer and his success in New England.



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Joe Rexrode
MSU Sports Reporter

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