EAST LANSING, Mich. – Michigan State sixth-year defensive tackles coach Ron Burton and first-year defensive ends coach Chuck Bullough have been named the FootballScoop National Defensive Line Coaches of the Year.
The FootballScoop Coaches of the Year awards, presented by AstroTurf, are the only set of awards that recognize the most outstanding position coaches in college football. The finalists were selected based off of nominations by coaches, athletic directors and athletic department personnel. The prior winners selected this year's winners.
Burton, who also won the award during his first season on MSU's staff in 2013, is the first two-time winner of the FootballScoop Defensive Line Coach of Year, which began in 2008.
Three of Michigan State's four starters on the defensive line earned postseason recognition in 2018, including junior defensive end Kenny Willekes, who was named the Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year and a first-team All-American by The Athletic. Willekes also earned second-team All-America accolades from the Walter Camp Football Foundation, Sporting News, Phil Steele and the Football Writers Association of America after leading the Big Ten with 20.5 tackles for loss along with racking up 8.5 sacks. Willekes also had 78 tackles, most among any defensive lineman in the nation in 2018.
On the interior, juniors Mike Panasiuk and Raequan Williams have started 29 consecutive game alongside each other, dating back to the 2016 season. Williams was a first-team All-Big Ten selection by The Associated Press and finished the year with career bests in tackles (53) and tackles for loss (10.5). Panasiuk picked up second-team All-Big Ten plaudits from Pro Football Focus after collecting a career-high six tackles for loss.
The Spartans finished the season as one of the best defenses in the nation. MSU currently ranks No. 1 in the FBS in rushing defense (77.9 ypg), tied for first in explosive rushes (10+ yards) allowed (2.3 pg), No. 2 in yards per carry (2.58 avg.), No. 2 in opponent red-zone touchdowns (12), No. 9 in scoring defense (17.2 ppg) and No. 10 in total defense (303.2 ypg).
Burton and Bullough will receive their award at the AFCA Convention next week in San Antonio.
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