Maxwell, a former Midland High star who was set to take the reins of the Spartans offense, was viewed a suitable replacement for graduating senior Kirk Cousins. And Maxwell is. And although he's injured and facing a recovery process, he could still lead the Spartans to a successful season in 2012.
Keith Nichol, a former Spartans quarterback and wide receiver, says Michigan State fans shouldn't worry about Maxwell's readiness -- Maxwell is more than ready, says the NFL Draft hopeful. But with Connor Cook set to see all of the snaps Saturday in Michigan State's Spring Game, some Spartans fans wondered if he was capable of handling duties.
And Cook is, says Nichol, who views both Maxwell and Cook as "capable" starting signal-callers.
"They are two different guys, but in a lot of ways, they're similar," Nichol said. "They're extremely capable and talented and willing to do what it takes to be successful."
Although Maxwell is more experienced with the offense, Cook could capitalize and earn the starting role at Michigan State. Nichol doesn't like to see Maxwell down. But that's football, and the show must go on.
"(Cook is) only one step away from being the man," Nichol said. "This is a very big time for him, and his family, too. He's matured through this process. The snaps and reps he's getting now are going to be more valuable than anything he's gotten to this point. I think he's going to turn some heads."
Nichol says it's a bit different seeing Cook, a player whose locker was next to his, in this position. Everyone at Michigan State figured Maxwell would be the leader going into the Spring Game. And had it not been for an unfortunate injury, he would have been.
"When he gets healthy, he'll be ready to go," Nichol said. "I feel bad for him."
Having Cook step in will benefit the Spartans in the future, says Nichol. With two high-character, high-quality guys heading the program's offense, Michigan State's quarterback future looks bright.
With coach Mark Dantonio at the helm, the Spartans shouldn't ever be short on talent, especially at the skill positions, says Nichol.
"I'm excited for (Maxwell and Cook)," Nichol said. "I think they're both tremendous people. ... It's been fun to see how they've matured. I'm excited for the both of them."
Adam Biggers has followed NCAA football for over 20 years, specifically the Michigan State Spartans. He can be found on Twitter @AdamBiggers81.