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Two former Michigan State football players named to All-XFL team

Mike Panasiuk and Drew Beesley are making names for themselves.

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© Nick King/Lansing State Journal, Lansing State Journal via Imagn Content Services, LLC

A couple of former Michigan State football defensive linemen have been named to the All-XFL team this week.

On Monday, two former Michigan State football stars received recognition from the XFL. Mike Panasiuk and Drew Beesley each received nods to the All-XFL team following the relaunch of the league this year.

Many of you might recognize both names, as both were part of Michigan State defenses in the past few years. Beesley received recognition for his edge rushing work, but Panasiuk received recognition as a center. You read that right, the burly defensive tackle who helped make running impossible against the Spartans in the late 2010s? He is now an award winning offensive lineman.

Panasiuk was quietly one of the better run-stuffers on the Spartan defensive line. He finished his career with an even 100 tackles, including 18 for loss and six career sacks. and he had the best senior send off, recording a pick-six at Yankee Stadium in the Spartans win over Wake Forest in 2019. Mike played in 51 games, starting 41, for the Spartans. He helped the Spartans finish No. 2 against the rush in 2017 and No. 1 in 2018.

After signing with the Raiders after he went undrafted, Panasiuk went over to Carolina and started working out as both an offensive and defensive lineman. After going undrafted in the XFL Draft, Mike latched on with the St. Louis Battlehawks.

He has bloomed as an offensive lineman, and his play at center this year for the Battlehawks has earned him this recognition. Panasiuk was part of a St. Louis offensive line that gave A.J. McCarron time to throw. McCarron placed second in the league in passing yards, as St. Louis was arguably the best offense in the XFL this year. They were dynamic, as they had wide receiver Hakeem Butler lead the league in touchdown catches, as well as place second in every other statistic. Panasiuk paved the way for running back Brian Hill to place third in the league in rushing yards. With Panaisuk calling out the protections and “Mike” backer, the Battlehawks were in good hands.

Not bad for a player that got passed on by both the NFL and XFL Draft.

Beesley was part of the 2021 Peach Bowl Champion winning Spartans, starting all nine games he was healthy in 2021. He started 17 of his 42 career games as a Spartan. Beesley recorded 76 tackles, 17 of which were for loss, and 10 sacks during his six-year tenure as a Spartan. He saved his best for the Spartans’ Peach Bowl-winning season, where he tied for second on the team in sacks (5.5) and fifth in tackles for loss (5.5) despite missing a few games with injury. He also forced a clutch fumble against Miami during Michigan State’s late scoring flurry against their marquee out-of-conference matchup of the season. When he was fully healthy, Beesley earned honorable mention All-Big Ten in 2020, despite it being a forgettable year for the Spartan defense.

Beesley was drafted in the 10th round of the XFL Draft by San Antonio and went on to record 27 tackles, including 5.5 sacks, this season. He also added a defensive touchdown for the Brahmas. Beesley also added seven tackles for loss on the season.

With the XFL season wrapping up, I think it is only fair that each of these players get a chance to prove themselves on an NFL team. I am sure a team could use a center that knows both sides of the trenches well, or a reliable edge rusher that flashed in big games.

Michigan State Media and Information Management Class of '22. Emmett covers primarily football, recruiting, and basketball for Spartan Shadows. He has also written for Spartan Avenue, Basic Blues, and Hail WV.

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