Tony Lippett comes into this season as a relative unknown outside of the Spartan coaching staff, but he won't be unknown for long.
Tony Lippett comes into this season as a relative unknown outside of the Spartan coaching staff, but he won't be unknown for long.

Prior to this spring, Tony Lippett was best known to Michigan State fans as the player that helped his teammates reign in Denard Robinson, due in large part to Tony’s great job as the scout-team quarterback leading up to the Michigan game. But by the time the spring game rolls around Spartan fans will know him for a whole lot more.

This spring Lippett has been practicing with both the offense and the defense and has caught the eye of coaches on both sides of the ball. Head coach, Mark Dantonio, is looking to get Lippett into 50 plays per game this upcoming season, playing offense, defense, specials teams, and maybe even donning the Sparty costume (well, maybe not that last one).

However, to get to this point Tony had to pay his dues. He redshirted his first season in East Lansing, which was tough at times for a player as talented as Lippett. “I didn’t know everything that came with being redshirted, so there were times that I thought I could help the team,” he said. “But I helped the team in any way I could by playing my position on the scout team.” Something which gained him more fame than most scout team players, when he stepped into the untied shoes of Denard Robinson in the lead-up to the Spartans’ game in Ann Arbor. The idea of pretending to be the Wolverines’ star for a week excited Lippett, a high school quarterback. “I was excited to play quarterback again,” he said, “It gave me an opportunity to make plays and it helped get my team ready for that game.”

But now, with his scout team days behind him, Lippett can help his team on the field, and he’s excited about it. Lippet said that he’s currently more comfortable playing wide receiver, but finds defensive back to be the position he enjoys the most. “I just like covering guys and the competition,” he said. However, that doesn’t mean he’s going to give anything less than his full effort at one of the positions. He explained, “I really just try to do my best no matter where I’m at.” That will be important as Lippett continues to grow into his position as a contributor in every facet of the game.

Lippett has been especially impressive on the defensive side of the ball so far in spring practice. Secondary coach Harlon Barnett said of his newest corner, “Tony is going to be a really good player. He’s a very versatile athlete that will be a two way player here, and a very successful one.” While defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi was excited to have Lippett on his defense, but wished he could see more of him. “We’re excited, but wish we had him to start off with (in spring practice),” he said, “I could see him getting into the two deep without question. Both Denard and Adams are great players, but they’ll be fighting for their lives if Tony is there.”

With all of these pre-season accolades from his coaches it would be easy for Tony Lippett to get an inflated ego, but he isn’t about to let that happen to himself.  "I’m not really paying attention to my press," he said, "I just try to stay away from it and keep getting better.” An attitude like this will be necessary for Tony. Any player as young as he is will have some growing pains in the college game, and if he were to buy into his hype those growing pains could significantly derail his progress. That won’t happen to Lippett who comes to practice very day ready to get better.

But just because he’s a fiend in practice doesn't mean Lippett can’t have some fun with his teammates. He loves to talk smack during practice, especially to the guys on the other side of the ball who he’d been practicing with just a few weeks earlier. “That’s something I do, I just like to keep the sense of humor out there up and keep it competitive at the same time,” he said. However, he continued, “I try my best to back it up with my play, though.” If his performance this spring is any indication, Tony Lippett will be backing up some smack he’ll be talking to Big Ten competition for years to come, and Spartan fans will be loving every second of it.