Chris McDonald and Fou Fonoti, two senior offensive linemen, will be looked upon this year as leaders for an offense that is inexperienced in several areas.
McDonald, a human resource major and a Henry Ford II graduate from Sterling Heights, Mich., received offers from Purdue, Duke, and schools is the Mid-American Conference, before signing with Michigan State in May of 2008.
“Coach (Dan) Enos, who is the head coach at Central Michigan, he was my recruiting coach. He was coming in a lot and I just came up here and it was a set-done-deal. I fell in love with the campus, fell in love with the coaches, I knew I wanted to come here.”
After being redshirted in 2008 and getting minimal playing experience in 2009, the 6-foot-5, 298-pound McDonald was able to earn the starting job at right guard going into 2010.
“Coming into spring ball (2010) it was me and Jared McGaha, who is a year older than me,” McDonald said at the Michigan State football media day at Spartan Stadium on Monday, Aug. 6. “We were competing for the spot. And then we ended spring ball and then coming into fall camp I earned my spot and I’ve been playing ever since then.”
McDonald has started every game except one in 2010 since then, and hasn’t had any injuries during his Spartan career. Besides winning the Big Ten and getting to the Rose Bowl this season, McDonald hopes to have a positive impact on the rest of his Spartan teammates.
“After having Joel Foremen leaving, he was a tremendous leader for us, he taught us a lot and I just want our running game to be one of our focuses of our offense and I think it will be,” McDonald said. “My biggest thing is I want to leave and have the younger guys look up to me. I want to go as far as we can.”
“I think this year, there’s a lot of leaders, it’s not just the seniors, there’s a lot of juniors stepping up too. Me, Fou, Andrew Maxwell is a tremendous leader on the offense, Larry Caper is, and then the defense you have Max Bullough, Chris Norman, so we have a lot of leaders.”
After Michigan State, McDonald hopes to mirror what his older brother, Nick, has accomplished on the football field. Nick McDonald played collegiately at Grand Valley State University before signing with the Green Pay Packers in 2010. Nick is now a member of the New England Patriots.
Lined up next to Chris McDonald will be senior right tackle Fou Fonoti, a Long Beach, Calif. native. Fonoti went to Mayfair High School in Lakewood, Calif. before taking the junior college route.
“I was truly blessed and fortunate to start as a true freshman (Cerritos College) and to have options to where I wanted to sign. Michigan State gave me the opportunity and I went ahead and signed that dotted line and here I am today.”
The 6-foot-4, 296-pound criminal justice major was also recruited by Miami, Auburn, Mississippi State, Rutgers, UCLA, Washington, Washington State, and Arizona before choosing Michigan State.
“The first impression was amazing, and then I met Coach D,” Fonoti said. “Knowing he was the head coach, and he was so down to earth, and is a father figure to a lot of us. I know it’s far from home, but God has a plan for everything so I accepted the offer.”
After playing in all 14 games last year, including 11 starts, Fonoti believes that he can be a captain for the Spartans this year.
“It does take time, I gotta continue to work on a lot of things,” Fonoti said. “With me only being out here for a year and a half, there’s a lot of things I still need to learn. I see myself as a sophomore kind of. If God has that plan for me, then that is something that I am willing to take on, and just try to do it all for the team.”
By the end of the football season, more specifically on New Year’s Day, Fonoti hopes to return home to Southern California.
“Last year we were so close of getting to our goal of being in the Rose Bowl,” Fonoti said.
After that Fonoti plans to pursue his career in criminal justice, while keeping in mind a possible future in professional football.
“God willing, if I’m even considered to be drafted then that will be something I look into,” Fonoti said. “The main thing is getting my degree, probably be a probation officer for juvenile delinquents.”