It’s been a rare year for the MAC, or at least it seems like something out of the ordinary. This year’s MAC championship game features two 11-1 teams in Kent State–ranked 17th in the nation–and Northern Illinois, which is ranked 21st in the country.
Because of their success this season, much more national attention, and it has put some of their players in the spot light. For Kent State, that player is offensive tackle Brian Winters, who is the first Kent State player to accept an invitation to the Senior Bowl since 1998. Winters is NFL Draft Scout’s sixth ranked offensive tackle in the draft, and some are projecting him to go in the top 64 selections.
Kent State has been an absolutely dominant running team, and at 6’6″ 294 pounds, this anchor on the offensive line stands out among the rest. This is a powerful offensive tackle prospect who has been a four year starter and a three-time All-Conference selection.
This is a school in Kent State that has sent some pretty good players to the NFL, including Pro Bowlers and MVPs. Players like Antonio Gates, Josh Cribbs, Julian Edelman, and James Harrison all call Kent State their alma mater.
The Flashes also have one of the most interesting running back prospects in the country. Junior Dri Archer leads the team in rushing and receiving, and is averaging over nine yards per carry. He is very small at the running back position, but will be interesting to keep an eye on regardless.
For Northern Illinois, the charge is led by quarterback Jordan Lynch, who leads the team in passing and rushing with 4,361 total yards of offense and 39 touchdowns. He is going to be tough for the Kent State defense to stop.
As good as both of these teams’ running games are, it will be interesting to see Northern Illinois wide receiver Martel Moore, who is a fast-rising receiver prospect who has eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark already this season with two games left to play. Moore leads the team in catches with 67, yards, and touchdowns with 11. He is a little undersized, but he really has proven to be productive in an offense that does not cater to the receiver position.
Keep an eye on this game tonight for some NFL Draft sleepers, and some players you probably haven’t had much of a chance to watch this season.