2014 Central Mich Preview: What You Must Know
Central Michigan WR Titus Davis
Central Michigan WR Titus Davis
Posted May 25, 2014

Preview 2014 - What You Need To Know About Central Michigan (Getty Images)

2014 Central Michigan Preview

What You Need To Know...

- 2014 Central Michigan Preview 
2014 Depth Chart & Unit Rankings To Come This Summer

What You Need To Know About The Offense: Offensive coordinator Morris Watts has the pieces, and now they all have to start producing after finishing last year averaging just 341 yards per game. The chance is there to be fantastic, or at least far better, with ten starters from the end of the season returning with the upside to be more explosive. The line is loaded with experience and size, led by all-star guard Andy Phillips, and they should have no problems paving the way for Saylor Lavallii and a ground game that has the potential to flip the switch and be better. With Titus Davis to throw to, true sophomore QB Cooper Rush will start getting the ball deeper, but he has to start cutting down on the interceptions.

What You Need To Know About The Defense: After a strong year in the secondary and a rough one against the run, there's no reason the D can't be among the best in the MAC with a few more plays in the backfield. It would be nice if a dangerous pass rusher emerged early on, but getting production from several spots in Joe Tumpkin's 4-2-5 alignment will be the norm. The secondary is versatile with several good hitters, and LB Justin Cherocci should be among the MAC's top statistical stars, but the front line has to do its job from all four positions. There's size inside and quickness outside, but everyone has to start forcing more difference-making plays.

  1. WR Titus Davis, Sr.
The 6-2, 190-pound deep threat was a big play performer a few years ago averaging 20 yards per catch and doing a great job of hitting home runs. Last season, he turned into a do-it-all receiver leading the team with 61 catches for 1,109 yards and eight scores with 154 yards and two touchdowns against UMass and 184 yards and two scores against New Hampshire. Averaging 18 yards per catch, he's great at using his tremendous speed to stretch the field, but he's dangerous on the inside and makes big things happen on the move. Quick as well as fast, he's used as a punt returner, but he'll be an All-MAC star again as the offense's No. 1 option.

2. LB Justin Cherrocci, Sr.
A tackling machine over the last two seasons, the 6-0, 231-pounder followed up a 132-stop sophomore season with 121 tackles cranking out 11 stops or more in seven games. Great for the middle of the defense, he doesn't miss plays in the open field, but he's at his best when he's able to get in on tackles and help the cause. The former walk-on has limited range and he's not going to make big things happen behind the line, but he's never out of position.

3. OG Andy Phillips, Sr.
All five starters from the end of last year return to the line, and the 6-3, 306-pound senior is the best of the bunch. The All-MAC performer is the team's nastiest run blocker and the one the team works behind for the hard yards. He's a good-sized hitter who's technically sound and gets on the move well. While he's quick enough to handle interior pass rushers, he's at his best when he gets a chance to plow.

4. RB Saylor Lavallii, Jr.
Zurlon Tipton was the team's star and top running back going into last year, but after he went down if became Lavallii's ground game to run in the middle of the season. A talented kick returner in his first year, the 5-9, 213-pounder led the team with 807 yards and five scores, but he saw his workload diminish over the second half of the season. He ripped up Ohio for 184 yards, and tore through Miami University for 151 yards and Toledo for 144, but he only carried the ball 28 times for 49 yards over the final four games after Tipton came back. Now Lavallii will combine with Maurice Shoemaker-Gilmore to handle the ground game.

5. S Kavon Frazier, Jr.
Used as a nickel back and a deep safety, the 6-0, 213-pound junior has great size and excellent hitting ability with the range to come up with big plays on a regular basis. Along with finishing fourth on the team with 67 tackles, he tied for the team lead with three interceptions with five broken up passes. Great against the run, and essentially a third linebacker when needed, he made 11 tackles against Toledo and nine against Northern Illinois.

6. CB Brandon Greer, Jr.
A terrific tackling corner, the 6-1, 203-pound junior has good size and can get physical, making 49 tackles with two picks. Able to work at safety – a more natural position - or either corner spot, he'll get the call on the field side, using his quickness and range to roam a bit. The tools are all there, and with his experience he'll be asked to deal with most of the opposing No. 1 targets.

7. CB Jason Wilson, Sr.
At 6-0 and 174 pounds, Wilson has decent size for a corner, but he could end up at safety if needed. A good veteran who went from being a spot starter to more of a regular, he's a solid open field tackler making 61 stops last season to go along with three picks. One of the faster players in the secondary, he can handle the quicker speed targets.

8. QB Cooper Rush, Soph.
It took a little while, and there were way too many interceptions, but there were glimpses of potential greatness in his true freshman season. He started out roaring with a 326-yard, three score day in his first game against New Hampshire as the main man, and while he became more and more accurate over the course of the season, hitting 71% of his throws against Ohio, he was a pick machine throwing 15 on the year. While he's not a runner, at 6-3 and 216 pounds he has good size and is a pure passer who should put up huge numbers with a good corps around him.

9. NT Leterrius Walton, Sr.
At 6-5 and 300 pounds, the veteran senior has been a key part of the defensive interior for the last few years. Big, strong and quick, he has the potential to be a playmaker in the backfield on the nose, but his main job will be to try improving a leaky run defense that gives up way too much inside. He plays a bit high, but he got in on 34 tackles with a sack and cranked up 9.5 tackles for loss highlighted by a huge performance against Miami University.

10. DE Blake Serpa, Soph.
The 6-3, 255-pound end needs to be more of a factor as a pass rusher after coming up with three sacks and seven tackles for loss on his 30 stops. Great against UMass with nine tackles, he disappeared a bit too often throughout the course of the season. Really quick and with good pop, there's no reason he can't take his game up a few notches and be a true difference-maker for the veteran D.

- 2014 Central Michigan Preview