Almost every year at Michigan State since Mark Dantonio became the head coach in 2007, the Spartans have had three co-captains. However, with yet a lot of change to the roster and a severe lack of experience, the team is opting to go with just two captains.
And it comes as no surprise as to who they are. This season, seniors Brian Allen and Chris Frey will be leading the charge for Michigan State.
— Spartan Football (@MSU_Football) August 24, 2017
The senior linebacker Frey had a breakout season as a junior in 2016 when he racked up a team-high 96 tackles in the team’s 12 games. That comes after logging 42 tackles in 23 games over his first two seasons at MSU. There is no question that he will be the heartbeat of the Spartan defense in 2017 while being a source of leadership for younger players.
His fellow classmate Brian Allen will enter the 2017 season having started 15 consecutive games for the Spartans, the longest active streak on the team. Brian is the latest Allen brother to record a lengthy career at MSU. Older brother Jack Allen was a 2-time All-American and 2-time first-team All-Big Ten member. And younger brother Matt Allen is a redshirt freshman currently slotted behind him on the depth chart.
Both Allen and Frey started as true freshmen back in 2014 and have truly seen it all since then. They were primarily complementary players for the teams that won the Cotton Bowl and appeared in the College Football Playoff. And as it’s been highlighted, they were the biggest and most reliable constants during the 2016 season.
“We can be that nice guy. But at the same time, when it comes down to it, we can crank it up and lay into people when we need to,” Frey said. “We know where this team has been at its high points, and we’ve also been at its low points. We know where we need to be, and we can get the team to that point.”
“I knew that with what went down last year, someone had to get on guys, get going and just turn the page. I kind of took that as a responsibility,” Allen said. “Coming in the way that I got to come in to Michigan State (with) guys who won the Rose Bowl, it shouldn’t be the way that it was for other guys coming in this year. I just want to get back to that type of attitude of teams and get back to hard work. My thing wasn’t really even with the wins and losses. It was getting back to the right mentality and having the right attitude.”
Dantonio talked about how there was “so much clarity” as to who the obvious candidates for captaincy were, but the decision to stick with two was due to the rest being “all sort of shaken up.”
Both Allen and Frey will reside over a 12-player grouping the team refers to as an “Eagle Council.” This is described as a “leadership core” put in place by Dantonio.
LB Joe Bachie, LB Byron Bullough, S Grayson Miller, OL Brian Allen, TE Matt Sokol, DL Raequan Williams
— Souichi D. Terada (@SouichiTerada26) August 24, 2017
Senior running back Gerald Holmes was another prime candidate to be a captain for the Spartans this season. He accompanied both Allen and Frey to Big Ten Media Days last month in Chicago.
Michigan State will kick off the season this coming Saturday, September 2 at home against Bowling Green.