2009 Spartan Nation Football Profile:Â WR B.J. Cunningham #3
2009 Eligibility:Â Sophomore
EXP:Â 1 Letter
Status:Â Starting Wide Receiver
Strengths:Â I have proclaimed the accolades of B.J. since he came to MSU.Â The Spartan coaches were not willing to mortgage the future, but the temptation was great halfway through the 2007 to burn his redshirt.Â
You saw Cunningham struggle some last season, but you also saw why he is so promising.Â It started in the Cal game when Brian Hoyer didnâ€™t make one of his best throws and B.J. caught the ball behind him on a dead run.Â I was sitting in the press box and turned to one of my colleagues and commented about his future.
One of B.J.â€™s biggest strengths is he has a world of promise and talent and those are two things you canâ€™t teach.Â This off-season he arguably has had the best spring and now summer as anyone.Â He was worked like a beast and is maturing.Â One member of the program told me last week, â€œI will be shocked if Cunningham isnâ€™t getting votes for all Big Ten at the end of the season.â€Â Those words are high praise, especially from the person who gave them to me.
B.J. has every tool in the box to do whatever you need.Â He has speed, he has crisp routes when he is on his game, and, just like the catch at Cal, he has tremendous hands when he is on his game.
Weakness:Â The biggest weakness of Cunningham is himself.Â Last year he struggled with some drops and some poor pass routes when he wasnâ€™t staying engaged.Â I like B.J. and it is my sincere belief that it is a matter of maturity with B.J. and not character.Â Last year he was a follower to some members of his WR group that maybe he shouldnâ€™t have been emulating.Â This off-season he has taken the role of being a leader and not a follower and if that continues into the fall, look out Big Ten!
Final Analysis:Â It is very hard for almost every position other than OL to take a year off and not play.Â I chalk up some of last season to that for Cunningham and I also give the young man a break for being young.Â With that said, B.J. has impressed a lot of people with his efforts and hard work and I fully expect him to shine.Â Cunningham has all of the tools to be great.Â He also appears to have made the personal commitments in the off-season that it takes to have great talent and to possibly get on the road to be a great football player.Â
If Cunningham has had the light switch come on, then the proud heritage of Spartan WR excellence should continue.Â Cunningham is one of the key ingredients to the Spartans having a 10 win or an 8 win season.Â Spartan QBs have to have more than one WR that they can count on to not drop passes.Â If the 2009 Spartans drop balls like the 2008 team, this squad very well could only win 6 games.Â If they have recovered (and I think they have) then the question is eight or ten wins.Â Look for Cunningham to have made significant growth and maturity and have a break out 2009.