As the Michigan State Spartans prepare for their season opener next week against Tulsa, they’ll have to do so without a player who was slated to provide depth at defensive end.
Redshirt freshman Zach Slade will likely miss the entire season with a non-disclosed injury. According to head coach Mark Dantonio, “he has a surgery he has to go through.”
“We’re nicked up a little bit. Everybody’s nicked up right now, but we’ll get our guys back,” Dantonio said. “We got a couple guys that might not be back for the first game or so, but our starters will all be there.”
Starting end Kenny Willekes spoke of how Slade’s loss affects the team and what he was looking forward to seeing him bring to the Spartans, but knows that injuries are a part of the game and that whomever Slade’s replacement is will have to step up.
“It definitely hurts us,” Willekes said. “Zach Slade was a player. He was definitely coming along. He was gonna be in the rotation this year. He’s improved his game immensely down to the small details. When he came in, you could see he had talent, you could see he knew how to play. He was a little raw and he really took it upon himself to focus on the small details this camp, and he really improved his game.
“Not having him hurts, but it’s that next-man-up mentality. We’ve got a lot of guys on this football team that are ready to play, ready to compete, so we’re gonna be good.”