It’s MAC Week! For those of you diehard football fans out there like us, you know the MAC conference by its more appropriate and exciting #MACtion hashtag on Twitter. If you’ve never been sitting around watching MAC college football on a mid-week night you have no idea what you’re missing. MACtion consistently offers some of the most entertaining, wide open, high flying, and high scoring games you’ll see during the college football season. Here are the guys you don’t yet know who will be making the plays this season in the MAC.
If you missed it yesterday Mike Loyko at NEPD wrote all about the Top Senior MAC Prospects to watch!
DE Freddie Bishop
6’3, 257 lbs.
Bishop is coming off one of his most productive season in quite a while and has really taken advantage of having Paul Hazel opposite him. Bishop uses a good burst and a decent dip and rip move to get pressure from the outside. His 5.5 sacks last year showed that he could effectively get to the QB and WMU coaches are hoping to see that number grow exponentially this year. Bishop is still raw with the rest of his pass rush moves but the basic skills are all there.
SAF Johnnie Simon*
You want to talk about a dynamic playmaker, Simon led WMU is tackles (114), tackles for loss (7), pass breakups (7), and tied for the lead in INT’s (2). He was the Mustangs most fearsome weapon defense making plays all over the field against both the run and pass. Look for Simon to establish himself this year as one of the premier safeties in the nation.
RB Jamal Womble
5’10, 246 lbs.
There was a point in time a few years ago when it felt like North Carolina had cornered the market on power backs. In the end a numbers game saw Womble leave the Tarheels program and emerge at Northern Illinois after a quick stint in JUCO. The Huskies are hoping for a second coming of what Micheal Turner brought them back in the 90’s. Womble should see a decent workload with start QB Chandler Harnish now in the NFL.
CB Rashaan Melvin
6’2, 193 lbs.
We openly admit to have a bias towards bigger CB’s who can run which is why when we saw Melvin in a game we were quite intrigued. Upon further review it Melvin’s ability to make plays on the field and more specifically on the ball that impress us much more than his size. His nine pass breakups and three picks made a player to avoid in the Husky defensive backfield last year.
QB Terrance Owens*
6’4, 180 lbs.
We do want to be clear when we say what we are about to say, Terrance Owens is still an athlete first but man can he throw the football around. Owens led the MAC last year in passing efficiency, completing 72.2% of his passes and showing off an impressive 6:1 TD:INT Ratio (18:3) over the year. He often splits time with Austin Dantin but we hope to see even more Owens in 2012.
WR James Green*
6’3, 200 lbs.
The former four star recruit out of Tallahassee, FL originally signed with Tennessee coming out of High School. After some qualifications issues Green ended up in Toledo where he’s looking to become a big time playmaker on the outside with the loss of Eric Page.
OT Eric Fisher
6’6, 305 lbs.
The big LT for the Chippewa’s Fisher has seen time at RT and RG before finally settling in on the left side. He has good length for the position which helps to hide some of his trouble with footwork issues. As a whole the CMU line allowed only 17 sacks last year and allowed for the offense to average 390 yards per game. Without Fisher being a leader on that line this offense is in trouble.
DE Darryl Stinson
6’5, 266 lbs.
The big DE finally started to show signs of life last year after what has seen like years of waiting for him to explode onto the scene. Stinson has ideal size and power for the DE position in a 43 front and could even shift outside and stand up in a 34 front. We expect his sack and TFL numbers to see a nice bounce this year.
OT Korey Neal
6’3, 316 lbs.
Neal didn’t even play football until he was a junior in HS so his whole career has been under the radar. He’s a monster on an OL that averages over 200 rushing yards per game. Neal is a little bit shorter than ideal so people will be concerned about his arm length but when you turn on his film and watch him work those concerns become less noteworthy.
DT Devin Henderson
6’2, 319 lbs.
Henderson is a massive man who was a well decorated JUCO recruit who signed in 2011. His impact last year was less than many hoped for but coach Ron English still has faith in Henderson who he’ll move inside to DT this year. Look for Henderson to try and use his size and strength to push the pocket and wreak havoc from the inside.
CB Marlon Pollard*
The former UCLA Bruins product has come into Ypsilanti and busted his butt to try and transform this EMU defense. To his credit Pollard did more than most Sophomore CB’s in the NCAA by making 54 tackles, getting his hands on seven passes for breakups and picking one off. If Pollard can continue to be act in the defensive backfield while Henderson causes problems up front the Eagles may just have some hope.
DE Jon Newsome*
6’3, 245 lbs.
He sat out last year as part of a transfer from Ohio State University. Newsome is being counted on to come in and provide almost immediate help in pass rushing situations. Newsome who was a highly heralded recruit coming out of HS has almost unlimited potential and could quickly become the player to watch on the Ball State defense.
DT Brandon Newman
6’6, 303 lbs.
One of the reasons people think Newsome can come in and dominate quickly is because Ball State has added another DL transfer to help take up some room in the middle. Big Brandon Newman was originally a ND recruit who spent four years at the University. He now, thanks the NCAA graduate rule, gets one more year to play football and Ball State fans couldn’t be happier to have the former four star recruit.