By Adam Biggers
Assuming he's made a full recovery from last season's foot injury, Bennie Fowler could prove to be a valuable asset at wide receiver for the Michigan State Spartans in 2012.
Fowler, a 6-foot-1, 215-pound soon-to-be junior, only appeared in two games in 2011 for Michigan State (11-3), which lost the Big Ten Championship Game to Wisconsin in December. He had just two catches (an 18- and 2-yard reception) in what could have been his break-out year if not for injury.
In 2010, as a freshman, Fowler proved his big-play ability, along with an ability to be a steady target for then-quarterback Kirk Cousins, who graduated this spring. Though he had just 14 catches and 175 receiving yards, Fowler's production came in chunks, evidenced by a 49-yard touchdown catch in the Spartans' 49-7 2011 Capital One Bowl loss to Alabama and a 24-yard grab in a 31-8 win over Minnesota, a team he had an 18-yard catch against in the 2011 regular season.
While the sample size is quite small, it does suggest that Fowler could maximize his potential as a junior come fall. He'll likely see an increase in action, too, as Keith Nichol, B.J. Cunningham and Keshawn Martin have all moved on from Michigan State.
Fowler returns with Tony Lippett as the Spartans' two most experienced wideouts, furthermore fueling the speculation that he could be a main target in Michigan State's offense.
Considering that Michigan State was second in the Big Ten with 252 yards per game, receivers will get their fair share of chances to make plays. The Spartans had the third-highest scoring offense in the league at 31 points per game, also a good sign for receivers like Fowler—teams that score often do so by way of the air.
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