Michigan State defensive end Shilique Calhoun said Tuesday that he "definitely" is going to return for his junior season.
Calhoun (6-foot-4, 250 pounds) is a third-year sophomore who is draft-eligible. He was tied for second in the Big Ten with 7.5 sacks this season, and Michigan State senior cornerback Darqueze Dennard said last week at a media event previewing the College Football Awards show that Calhoun should have double-digit sacks next season.
"I'm committed to coming back, definitely," Calhoun told reporters at Michigan State's Rose Bowl media day.
Michigan State leads the nation in total defense, but the Spartans have six senior starters on that side of the ball. Calhoun's decision gives coaches an important up-front guy to build next season's defense around.
Calhoun was a second-team All-America selection by The Associated Press and joked to reporters that he wouldn't leave until he was a first-teamer, saying, "I may have to redshirt a couple years. Don't be surprised if you see me eight years down the road."
Calhoun is a big-time athlete with good speed off the edge. He also had 14 tackles for loss, 18 quarterback hurries and two forced fumbles this season. He took over the starting job vacated when William Gholston left early for the NFL. As talented as Gholston is, he never had a season as good as Calhoun had this season. Gholston had 10 sacks and 30 tackles for loss in his career.
Calhoun faces a tough test in the Jan. 1 Rose Bowl against Stanford offensive tackles Andrus Peat and Cameron Fleming. Stanford has allowed just 15 sacks in 13 games.