Young Michigan State safeties pass first test, eager for more

Michigan State stopped Michigan despite starting true freshmen at both safety spots.
Rick Osentoski/Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Grayson Miller and Khari Willis did not have much time to get acclimated to playing major college football. 

The pair of freshmen were thrown right into the fire, getting their first college starts in front of a hostile crowd of 111,740 people in Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor. 

And it appears the both performed pretty well. 

“I was impressed with how Grayson Miller and Khari Willis played as true freshmen in that environment,” head coach Mark Dantonio said. “They are only going to continue to get more accustomed and feel better – not as much anxiety, and they are very level-headed. They are both very meticulous people, and they are very tough-minded.” 

Miller logged six tackles, including one for loss, while Willis had three stops. 

The son of a former Spartan football player (John), Miller admitted getting into a game of that magnitude did change his profile on campus, telling the school's website, “After the game, you have people calling you and texting you that you haven't talked to in forever, which is great. People are watching from back home, wherever it is. And you have people congratulating you in class and stuff, but as great of a win as it was, it's like you can't quite appreciate it enough because you have to go on to the next week and focus on that.” 

Willis said the tandem already had talked about doing great things together, and they heeded the advice of Dantonio and secondary coach Harlon Barnett about being ready even when it looked like both were going to redshirt this season. 

“You’ve just got to be ready,” Willis said. “I knew that I had a guy like (injured starter) RJ Williamson ahead of me, but that didn’t take away from me working hard. I just wanted to learn. And at this place, it’s really like you are playing in a game every day. You don’t have a choice because you don’t want to look bad.”

(H/T MSU Athletics

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