Saturday will be Linebacker Central at Kinnick Stadium. Michigan State has a talented veteran trio in Denicos Allen, Max Bullough and Taiwan Jones. Iowa has three good seniors in Anthony Hitchens, Christian Kirksey and James Morris.
Kirksey and Morris, of course, have enjoyed stellar careers as Spartans.
That is not a misprint. Kirksey earned first-team all-state honors playing for the Hazelwood East Spartans in St. Louis. His team won a state-championship when he was a junior, and he had 163 tackles his senior season.
Morris was a veritable Iowa high school Hall of Famer as a Solon Spartan. He played four years on the varsity. Solon went unbeaten his last three seasons and he was a three-time, first-team all-state player. His teams won three state-titles, obviously, and was state runner-up when he was a freshman. He rushed for 6,646 yards. He scored 110 touchdowns over his last three seasons.
Oh yeah, he also played linebacker. And, he threw seven touchdown passes his senior season.
And Iowa wide receiver Don Shumpert was also a Spartan, one of Kirksey's teammates at Hazelwood East. He also was first-team all-state, and had eight touchdown catches as a senior.
Are there any Hawkeyes on Michigan State's roster? I think not, although the Hamilton (Mich.) Hawkeyes did go 9-2 in 2009.
MSU linebacker Allen is from Hamilton, but the one in Ohio. That Hamilton's nickname is the Big Blue. Iowa cornerback B.J. Lowery is also from Ohio. He played for the Hughes High Big Red in Cincinnati.
Jones played for the Anchor Bay Tars in Fair Haven, Mich., but Jones is from New Baltimore, Mich. Talk about covering the globe. A guy named Taiwan from New Baltimore played for Anchor Bay in Fair Haven.
Bullough was a St. Francis Gladiator in Traverse City, Mich.
Hitchens, meanwhile, was a Clearview Clipper in Lorain, Ohio.
But anyway, lots of Spartans.