Make no mistake, Josiah Scott is a star. The Michigan State cornerback sparkled as a freshman and the 5-foot-10 playmaker from Hamilton, Ohio was expected to be a huge piece of the stingy Spartans defense this year.

He still will be, but an apparent knee injury will keep him out for a while, probably at least the first four weeks of the season.

That hurts, but not as badly as you might think. Secondary is an area where the Spartans have recruited well lately, and there’s plenty of talent there. It’s just young and untested, for the most part, but there is no shortage of confidence.

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With Scott out, the others are ready to go.

“We were already competing. Everybody was competing,” junior cornerback Josh Butler said. “You just have to step up to play well. Everybody in the room can play. You just have to go out there in practice and in camp.”

Others will step up just like Scott did a year ago, earning the starting job at corner and playing so well all year that ESPN named him to their Freshman All-America team.

To replace him that first month, three players are showing up well in practices and all will likely contribute. All three of them — Butler, redshirt freshman Shakur Brown and sophomore Tre Person — have plenty of talent.

The Spartans defense dominated Saturday’s scrimmage, according to defensive coordinator Mike Tressel, and the DBs were a big part of that, he said. Tressel praised Butler and Brown and said all three, including Person, could wind up starting. All will have an impact at some point.

“The young corners who are forced to step up are doing a very good job,” Tressel said.

Butler, a 6-foot senior from Mesquite, Texas, has the most experience and has taken most of the first-team reps after Scott’s injury.  He got some playing time a year ago as a backup.

“I just felt like (last year) I got a lot of playing time and I was able to get a feel for the different teams and everything going on,” Butler said. “This year I feel like I’m very prepared to step up, get a lot of playing time and get the starting position.”

No one likes to see a teammate go down, and they all are hoping Scott has a speedy recovery. Still, there’s work to be done in his absence. Next man up and all.

“The mentality never changed for me,” Person said. “I just come by to compete every day, because you never know when your name is going to be called.”

The No.11-ranked Spartans open their season next Friday, at home against Utah State.