We learned from the MSU media on Saturday that senior defensive end Ryan Brown will miss the Belk Bowl. Brown opted to have surgery to repair a stress fracture he's played with for several weeks, according to Steve Robertson's show on Bulldog Sports Radio.
With an NFL future in mind, it was the right move. Brown needs to be at full strength to start preparing for opportunities with NFL teams. Even if he doesn't get drafted, you can bet he'll land on a roster somewhere.
The question now becomes who will start in place of Brown and log the majority of snaps opposite of AJ Jefferson.
Johnathan Calvin and Will Coleman were the first defensive ends off the bench all season but played sparingly. It's a good opportunity for those guys to get a full game under their belt before taking over starting duties next year.
I think you'll see Calvin get the start. I would also peg him the favorite to be the future starter. He's shorter and not as rangy as Ryan Brown at 6-foot-3, 263 pounds. But Calvin offers a good mix as both a run stopper and pass rusher, and he showed as much when he received playing time off the bench this year.
The former JUCO transfer finished the regular season with 26 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. He also added three quarterback hurries (probably more, you saw how meaningless that stat was this season).
He'll have a chance to continue that success against North Carolina State in the Belk Bowl. The Wolfpack has had its share of struggles on the offensive line allowing 34 sacks. And that comes in a scheme that favors more running plays than passing.
As for Coleman -- who also transferred from junior college but redshirted his first season at MSU -- he placed his name on the stat sheet as well with 12 tackles, 2.5 for loss, and 2 QB hurries.
Coleman's size is closer to that of Brown. He's 6-foot-5, 250 pounds and more of a pass-rush specialist than a run stopper. While I would give Calvin the edge to start in the bowl game and next season, don't count Coleman out. David Turner may favor him because his style complements Jefferson on the other side.
Assuming Fletcher Adams -- a four-star defensive end recruit in the same 2015 class as Calvin -- ends up playing at tackle and I think he will, the Belk Bowl will be a mini preview of what MSU's defensive end rotation will look like in 2016.