CHICAGO -- For the second time in the Mark Dantonio era at Michigan State, a Spartan senior captivated a sold-out crowd at the Big Ten Kickoff Luncheon and received a standing ovation.
Speaking as the Big Ten player representative, senior safety and Jackson, Michigan, native Khari Willis took the stage before a crowd of more than 1,300 at the Chicago Marriott Downtown on Tuesday afternoon and delivered an inspirational speech calling on his fellow Big Ten players to make a difference in their communities.
"We can go back to the communities where a kid is dreaming on a Saturday night just like we were a few years ago," Willis said in his speech. "We can go back, and we can give back...We can be an example for the future kids to come.
"So I challenge all of the other student-athletes here today. Go back and make a difference. Let's continue to make our light shine."
Three-time Spartan captain Kirk Cousins delivered the keynote address on behalf of the players in 2011.
"I was honored and I count it as a privilege," remarked Willis following his speech.
"Especially to be at Michigan State during this time and to be able to speak on behalf of my fellow Spartans and Spartan Nation."
The Big Ten Luncheon was held in the middle of Big Ten media days, as Dantonio, Willis, senior running back LJ Scott and junior quarterback Brian Lewerke represented Michigan State at the annual event.