By Mike and Matt Vahey
Despite not being a “power conference” the MAC has recently churned out top level talent in recent drafts. With Eric Fisher in 2013 and Khalil MACk in 2014, can the MAC conference continue its streak of 1st round talent for the 2015 Draft? We take a look at this year’s top seniors in the MAC conference to see who may take the leap.
1. Titus Davis, WR – Central Michigan Titus Davis is regarded as the most dangerous deep threat in all of the MAC conference. Davis came into last season with uncertainty at the Quarterback position and improved statistically from the prior season where he was already regarded as a threat for the big play. Grabbing almost 20 more passes (43 in 2012 and 61 in 2013) and increasing his yardage (860 in 2012 to 1109 in 2013). After grabbing first team all-conference honors in 2013 Titus primed for another big season with the Chippewa’s. Titus Davis could be following in the footsteps of a former CMU stand out and current Pro-Bowler Antonio Brown. Titus Davis has great speed and is a constant deep threat on every play, as shown by his 8 touchdowns in the past three seasons with multiple plays of 50+ yards. He route running is underrated as well as his physicality, which are intangibles you love in a wide receiver.
2. Trayion Durham, RB – Kent State Could be considered the “thunder” to Dri Archer’s “lightning” last year for Kent State. He led the Golden Flashes last year in rushing with 766 yards and six touchdowns, averaging 4.2 yards per carry. However, Durham was more productive as a sophomore, Finished the year with 1,346 rushing yards on 276 carries and 14 touchdowns on his way to third-team All-MAC honors. At 250 pounds, Durham isn’t your traditional RB. He is tough between the tackles, and looks to run over people, not run around them. With a senior season seeing him as the lead back, Durham is poised for a great year and looks to regain his sophomore year form.
3. D.J. Lynch, LB – Bowling Green Inside linebacker D.J. Lynch was the heart and soul of the 5th ranked Bowling Green defense a year ago. Lynch is the anchor in the middle of this Falcon defense during the 2013 season leading the team in tackles with 85 (five for a loss) and two sacks. Lynch’s ability led to 2nd team All-Conference honors and had a career game back in his home city of Detroit during the MAC championship game against Northern Illinois. Lynch was able to compile 11 tackles against Northern Illinois and help stifle the offense led be Heisman candidate Jordan Lynch and propel BG to a MAC championship victory.
Known as one of the strongest pound-for-pound players on this Falcon team, Lynch brings a physical aspect to this defense that can change the tone of a game with just one hit.Lynch is a do-it –all linebacker who continues to work and improve from season to season and looks to build on a solid 2013 to help elevate his draft status.
4. Tyler Loos, OL – Northern Illinois Tyler Loos may be the best O-lineman in the MAC Conference. In 2013 he started the first 9 games of the season before ending his season short due to injury. Though he played in 9 games, he was still picked 1st-team All-MAC even missing 5 games of the season, and in 2012 he was a 2nd-team All-MAC selection. He is the blind side protector for a team who had Jordan Lynch finish in the top 10 in the Heisman vote and is a consistent force. Loos is the prototypical Left Tackle prospect standing at 6-5 and 302 pounds. Loos is a very physical player who plays with a very apparent mean streak and looks to finish. On film, he is a player who plays to the whistle on a consistent basis and doesn’t take plays off. Has a great ability to anchor on bull rushes and can counter a speed rush with very fluid pass protection footwork.
5. Jahwan Edwards, RB – Ball State Jahwan “Quake” Edwards is an extremely productive Running Back and going into his junior season was already 6th all-time on the career touchdowns list at Ball State. With a total of 39 touchdowns going into his Senior Year, he has the nose for the end zone, and not afraid of contact and will lower his shoulder when necessary. His junior year he went down in production yardage wise (1400 in 2012 and 1100 in 2013) but his touchdown production did not miss a beat, scoring 14 in both 2012 and in 2013. Jahwan works well in a zone scheme who can press the line of scrimmage and has the knack for finding day light. When he is not lowering his shoulder he has the ability to make a defender miss and pick up a few extra yards. He is not your typical back with extreme speed but he is a two time All-Conference back who is looking to make a name for himself this upcoming season.
6. Andre Davis, OG –Buffalo Andre Davis is a thickly built three year starter who will anchor the Bull’s offensive line going into 2014. Davis shows position versatility, as he started his career at Right Tackle in 2011, moved to Left Tackle in 2012, and then to Left Guard in 2013 which is his most natural position. Davis shows good strength in the run and ability to mirror and anchor in pass protection.
Due to his size (6-4, 320) his best fit at the next level will be at guard. Davis was recently named to Phil Steele’s Preseason All-MAC First Team and has the raw power to be a road grader at guard. Davis will have every opportunity to shine this year, and a strong senior season may mean him getting his name called next spring
7. Tyreese Russell, TE – Eastern Michigan In his first full year as the starter at Tight End for Eastern Michigan, Tyreese more than filled the void left by departing Garrett Hoskins. He wound up being a Second-team All-MAC player, putting up good stats (44 Rec, 594 Yards and 3 touchdowns) given some uncertainties at the QB position during the year. Tyreese should be the number 1 tight end prospect coming out of the MAC this season. What makes Tyreese a good Tight End prospect is that given today’s view on the Tight End position, a lot of the players are just bigger receivers. Tyreese is a great blocker at the Tight End position and has now problem mixing it up in the trenches. But when he is running routes, he finds the open holes in the defense and had good hands and deceptive speed as well. He is an overall Tight End prospect who does everything well.
8. Jawon Chisholm, RB – Akron A three year starter, Chisholm stands 6 foot 1, and weighs 206 pounds. He is tough between the tackles, elusive outside the box, and can hold his own in pas protection. The Zips leaned heavily toward Chisholm over his three years, with totals of 587 carries for 2,783 rushing yards and 18 rushing touchdowns. In addition to that, he also has had 77 receptions for 605 yards and 3 touchdowns, showing his promise to be a solid all-purpose back for 2014.
The biggest thing working against Chisholm is that he plays on a team with a poor record. He’s got an NFL body, and though he may lack the breakaway home run speed, he plays with patience and solid body control.
9. Adam Redden, OLB/SAF – Buffalo Redden had a breakout season in 2013, often the second best player on the field (behind Khalil MACk). Redden showed good production, finishing with 65 tackles, with 12.5 being for a loss which was second on the team to Khalil MACk. Redden Garnered 3rd team All-MAC honors despite missing 3 games in 2013.
While he a bit of a tweener (6’1, 202), the UB staff lauds him as a very tough, physical player who has great ball skills. Displays good first-step quickness off the snap and closes with good burst in the short-area. Needs to take on half the blocker’s body better as a pass rusher but can consistently get the corner with speed and demonstrates above average bend down the line. Redden shows a nose for the ball and play making ability, overall Redden flashed some exciting ability as an outside linebacker/safety hybrid last season which could bode well for the Bulls in 2014.
10. Jamaal Bass, LB – Northern Illinois First-team All-MAC selection in 2013, he will be the defensive leader for the Huskies in 2014. His production has been very consistent over the past three years, increasing his tackle totals each year. He has a great burst of speed where he can continually run down wide receivers in the open field. Though he lacks ideal size (5’10, 214 pounds) with his great speed he can really pack a punch when making a tackle. Bass is a good athlete, providing him with a great ability to cover backs out of the backfield in pass coverage as well as having to cover tight ends. Bass also flashed the ability to cover slot receivers on film, a testament to his athletic ability (and tweener size). You will also see him being asked to cover slot receivers very often on film. Jamaal looks to add to a very stellar career and see no reason why this will be any different for the 2014 season.