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Darqueze Dennard honored as Michigan State male athlete of the year

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Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

While Darqueze Dennard continues his transition to the NFL, he was honored this past weekend as the Michigan State Male Athlete of the Year. The 2013 Jim Thorpe Award winner as the top cornerback in the country, Dennard was also a unanimous first team All-American and finalist for the defensive player of the year award.

Despite all of his accomplishments, Dennard still can't believe his Spartans career is over.

"I really don't think it has hit me yet,'' said Dennard, via mlive.com "I'm in Cincinnati, and my teammate and roommate Isaiah (Lewis) and I sit back and talk about it a lot. I can't believe we won't suit up in the green and white any more.

"I'm proud of my whole career, of course winning the Rose Bowl and the Big Ten championship, but I'd have to say I'm most proud of getting my degree."

As for the NFL, Dennard says his transition has been made easier by veterans Terence Newman, Adam Jones and Leon Hall taking him under their wing.

"When I first arrived, going through walk-throughs and lifting weights, they took me under their wing,'' Dennard said. "They're trying to polish me and help me become an NFL-ready corner.''

Dennard totaled 167 tackles and 30 passes defended (10 interceptions, 20 pass break-ups) in 44 career games, including 40 starts, 29 consecutive to close out his career.

Hopefully, he'll have that kind of production at the NFL level with Cincinnati.