Michigan State's 1,000-yard receiver, Tony Lippett, will start at cornerback Saturday against Penn State. The senior is listed No. 1 on the Spartans' depth chart at cornerback this week, according to Joe Rexrode of the Detroit Free Press, who reported Lippett will become the school's first two-way starter since 1968.
The move has been made, in part, to help Lippett's future as a pro, coach Mark Dantonio said earlier this week.
Lippett (6-3, 185 pounds) has been a dominant presence on the offensive side of the ball this year, catching 56 passes for 1,071 yards and 10 touchdowns. He saw some action against Rutgers at cornerback in a non-starting role Saturday and broke up two passes.
In 2011, Lippett started five games at cornerback as a redshirt freshman, but hadn't played cornerback in a game since then until Saturday. UCLA's Myles Jack and Washington's Shaq Thompson have been the most notable two-way players in the country this year, both linebackers at heart who have played impressively at running back when needed. Lippett's move to cornerback expands the two-way novelty to the Big Ten, though it would be a stretch to call it a trend. The notion that excelling on one side of the ball is enough of a challenge for any college player is well-entrenched with plenty of college coaches. But it sure does make for interesting subplots for fans and scouts alike.
Early this season, an NFC scout told College Football 24/7 that Lippett had the look of a No. 1 receiver, an assessment that Lippett certainly has supported with half a dozen 100-yard games this year already.