What you need to know ...
Eastern Michigan's wide open offense needs to be more
consistent and far more explosive. It has speed and quickness at
the skill positions working behind a big, veteran line with four
starters returning, but there are big question marks at
quarterback and running back. Tyler Jones leads a group of six
quarterback prospects who can all run, while there's a logjam of
small, quick running backs looking to complement the passing
attack. Eric Deslauriers is one of the MAC's best all-around
receivers and should be the star of a good corps.
Passing: Tyler Jones
41-65, 245 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
67carries, 267 yds, 1 TD
Receiving: Eric Deslauriers
75 catches, 874 yds, 8 TD
Star of the offense: Senior WR Eric Deslauriers
Player that has to step up and become a star: Sophomore
QB Tyler Jones
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore RB Dwayne Harrison
Best pro prospect: Deslauriers
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Deslauriers, 2) TE Ken
Bohnet, 3) OG Khalid Walton
Strength of the offense: Offensive line, receiver
Weakness of the offense:
Consistency, running back experience
The situation isn't all that bad considering Matt Bohnet
needs to be replaced. Tyler Jones is an experienced, mobile
quarterback with good running skills and an accurate arm. He'll
have competition with five other players pushing for time. To
run the EMU offense, a quarterback has to be mobile as well as a
good runner, and everyone on the roster can move. Andy Schmitt
is an interesting option with the size to go along with the
The key to the unit: Efficiency. Tyler Jones has to
be as accurate as he was in his limited time last year and
become a steady decision maker.
Quarterback Rating: 5
- Tyler Jones, Soph. - 41-65, 245 yds, 63%, 2 TD, 1 INT,
67 carries, 267 yds, 1 TD
Jones saw plenty of action last season when Matt Bohnet was hurt
highlighted by a 19-of-26 passing day, 107-yard rushing day in
the 24-23 loss to Miami University. He's not a big quarterback,
but he's very mobile with an accurate arm. He has had enough
time in the system to hit the ground running in Bohnet's place.
- Andy Schmitt, RFr.
Schmitt is a big passer and a great runner for his size. At 6-4
and 221 pounds, he's a much bigger option than Tyler Jones with
many of the same rushing skills.
- Dontayo Gage, RFr.
The best runner of the quarterback options, the 5-9 redshirt
freshman adds more off of a speed element than Tyler Jones or
Andy Schmitt. He's not quite the passer the other two prospects
Eastern Michigan is never going to scare
anyone with its running game, but it needs a little bit of pop
to keep the heat off the passing game. The Eagle backs are all
small, quick, darting runners who can make plays happen in the
open field and can catch. Dwayne Harrison will get the first
look, but it'll be tailback by committee with several similar
backs also able to produce. As many as five backs will rotate in
the mix throughout the season.
The key to the unit: Figure out which of the clones
stands out the most and run with him. There will be a good
rotation, but one has to be the main man to revolve the ground
Running Back Rating: 4.5
- Dwayne Harrison, Soph. - 58 carries, 236 yds, 4.1 ypc,
1 TD, 3 catches, 3 yards
Harrison had a decent first season as a true freshman showing
off his quickness and potential getting plenty of work in the
middle of the season before seeing his workload drop down to
next to nothing over the final four games. He has the hands to
be a solid receiver along with the cutting ability to break off
- Tim Conner, Soph. - 45 carries, 137 yds, 3 ypc, 2
TD, 14 catches, 91 yds
Conner saw plenty of work in the middle of the season getting
ten carries against Toledo along with three catches. He's
extremely fast with the straight-line speed to be a top kickoff
- Olufemi Ogundari, RFr.
The quickest back in the mix, the 5-7 back also packs a little
bit of power at 194 pounds. He was a high school quarterback who
was used mostly as a runner.
- Corey Everson, RFr.
Everson came to Eastern Michigan as a running back and switched
over to linebacker. He's a back again as the biggest runner in
the mix with the physical ability to be used as a fullback if
- Pierre Walker, Jr. - 3 carries, 7 yds
Walker was all set to carry the load at the start of last year
before getting hurt in the first game. He was granted a medical
hardship due to the foot problem and gets another year of
eligibility. If 100%, he's the type of quick, do-it-all back who
could start right away.
This should be one of the team's strengths
mainly because of Eric Deslauriers. One of the MAC's top
receivers, Deslauriers has to be more consistent and has to keep
cranking out the occasional double-digit catch day. Travis Lewis
and Trumaine Riley are nice speed receivers with the talent to
thrive when teams are paying attention to Deslauriers. Ken
Bohnet should be a weapon at tight end now that he's back
healthy from a broken hand that limited him last year. There are
plenty of passes to go around in the EMU offense, so everyone
will get some work.
The key to the unit: The corps has to get the ball deep a
little more after only averaging 9.4 yards per catch. There's
speed and talent all over the place, and now they need to be put
in situations where they can make plays.
Receiver Rating: 6.5
- Eric Deslauriers, Sr. - 75 catches, 874 yds, 11.7 ypc, 8 TD
One of the nation's best unknown receivers, the 6-5 senior has
174 career catches and 22 touchdowns with the size to outmuscle
most defensive backs and the speed to get by the mediocre ones.
He was a bit of a disappointment last season until the
final three games when he blew up for 32 catches 386 yards and
four touchdowns. Expect him to be option 1, 2 and 3 in the
- Travis Lewis, Soph. - 33 catches, 331 yds, 10 ypc, 1 TD
A reserve for the basketball team, the 6-2 sophomore brings that
athleticism to inside Z receiver position where he was one of
the team's steadiest producers as a freshman. He's great with
the ball in his hands and needs to be used as more of a
- Trumaine Riley, Sr. - 21 catches, 200 yds, 9.5 ypc
He's only 5-7 and 164 pounds, but he's extremely quick and very
productive as a third receivers. He's a great kick and punt
returner with fantastic open field moves.
- Tight end Ken Bohnet, Jr. - 11 catches, 64 yds, 5.4 ypc
Bohnet started his career as a quarterback before moving to
tight end. he's big at 6-5 and 245 pounds and has the
athleticism to be a key target. Now he needs the ball thrown
more his way after fighting through a broken hand for most of
- John Bonner, Soph. - 3 catches, 77 yds, 25.7 ypc
Bonner will be groomed to be the top deep threat on the X next
year when Eric Deslauriers is gone. He has good size at 6-2 and
204 pounds with good enough speed to be a big play target.
- Jacory Stone, RFr.
Stone isn't as big as Travis Lewis on the inside Z position, but
he's physical and should see plenty of time in the rotation.
- Brian Ceckiewicz, Jr.
Is this the year he'll finally be able to contribute? The 6-3,
209-pound junior has the talent to be a major player at the H
and is a far bigger option than Trumaine Riley. Now he has to
get healthy after having problems with a knee injury. He started
his career as a quarterback, moved to safety, and now is a
- Tight end R.J. Montemayor, Sr. - 2 catches, 9 yds, 1 TD
The former JUCO transfer saw action in just about every
game. He's a smaller, quicker receiver than Ken Bohnet, but
doesn't have the same hands and isn't the same all-around
Four starters return to a line that was great in pass
protection helped by the mobility of the quarterbacks. Now the group has
to use its experience to be more consistent and better in the running
game. One of the four starters, Kevin Minor, will move to a reserve role
with JUCO star Tom Schmeding taking over a tackle job right away. With
Schmeding on the right side, Courtney Ford will move over to the left
side. The guards, Khalid Walton and Chris Thomas, have the experience
and talent to grow into potential All-MAC performers.
The key to the unit: All the returning experience has
to be used to be more physical in the running game. The sophomore guards
of last year have to be top producing juniors.
Offensive Line Rating: 5.5
- OT Courtney Ford, Sr.
Ford bulked up is a big way over the last few years and is now a solid
302 pounds. He came to EMU as a defensive tackle and has become a top
pass blocker. He'll move from the left side to the right side.
- OG Khalid Walton, Jr.
The 320-pound junior has been a rock on the line over the last few
seasons. He's not the most consistent blocker, but he's great for the
running game and he has the experience to grow into an anchor.
- C Desi Mayner, Soph.
The only new starter on the line replacing long-time starter Mike Romeli,
the 284-pound sophomore went from being a high school tight end to an
athletic college guard.
- OG Chris Thomas, Jr.
Thomas has gotten in better and better shape over the last few years and
is now a relatively streamlined 6-4 and 315 pounds. He came back from a
leg injury to be one of the best players on the line and should
eventually be in the hunt for All-MAC honors.
- OT Tom Schmeding, Jr.
The 6-6, 306-pound JUCO transfer is good enough to step in and start
right away at right tackle pushing Courtney Ford over to the right side
and forcing Kevin Minor into a reserve role.
- C Kevin Minor, Sr.
Minor started every game at left tackle last
season and now will be a key tackle reserve while pushing for time
behind Desi Mayner at center. The former tight end is athletic as well as versatile.
- T Jake Bleeker, Soph.
At 6-5 and 317 pounds, Bleeker is one of the team's biggest lineman and
the biggest tackle. He'll be brought along on the right side playing
behind Ton Schmeding