MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. - For the fourth consecutive year, four Central Michigan football student-athletes have been named to the Academic All-MAC team, the conference office announced on Friday. The Chippewas’ total is the second most in the league.
Redshirt freshman offensive lineman Connor Collins, senior punter Richie Hogan, senior tight end Connor Odykirk and redshirt freshman quarterback Cooper Rush represent CMU on the 2013 academic all-conference team. Hogan earns the recognition for the second consecutive year while Collins, Odykirk and Rush are making their first appearance on the team.
The Academic All-MAC honor recognizes a student-athlete who has excelled in athletics and academics. To qualify, a student-athlete must have at least a 3.20 cumulative grade point average (GPA) and have participated in at least 50 percent of the contests for that particular sport.
The 2013 contingent marks the ninth consecutive year that CMU has placed at least four student-athletes on the Academic All-MAC team and ups the total of honorees under head coach Dan Enos to 16.
In his first season of collegiate action, Collins, a computer science major who possesses a perfect 4.0 grade point average, solidified the Central Michigan offensive line when he entered the line-up in the MAC opener versus Toledo. Starting the final nine games of the season, he helped protect quarterback Cooper Rush as he threw for 2,349 yards and 15 touchdowns, and paved the way for leading rushers Saylor Lavallii (807) and Zurlon Tipton (414).
Hogan, who carries a 3.47 GPA in Health and Fitness (Preventative and Rehabilitative Program), had one of the finest seasons for a punter in CMU program history in 2013. A nominee for the Ray Guy Award, his season average of 43.9 yards per punt ranks second all-time in the Central Michigan record book. Honored as CMU’s Special Team Co-Player of the Year, Hogan ranked No. 2 in the MAC in punting, recording the conference’s second longest punt of the season, a 77-yarder in rainy conditions at Ball State. He placed 17 of his punts inside the 20-yard line while 13 measured 50 yards or longer. Just four of his 51 kicks resulted in touchbacks. Hogan was named MAC West Special Teams Player of the Week on November 25 for his standout effort in CMU’ s 37-0 win over UMass. He forced the Minutemen to start three drives deep in their own territory with kicks downed at the 13-, 2-, and 14-yard lines.
Odykirk, who earned a 3.66 GPA in pursuit of his master’s degree in sport management, had his best season statistically in 2013. Playing in all 12 games with three starts, he set career highs in receptions (11) and receiving yards (148) and tied for second on the team with two touchdowns. A former walk-on at wide receiver, Odykirk was the team’s 2013 recipient of the Unsung Hero Award.
An actuarial science major with a 3.93 grade point average, Rush stepped into the starting quarterback role in week two and never relinquished it, helming the Central Michigan offense for the final 10 games of the season. In his collegiate debut, he became the first CMU freshman quarterback to throw for 300 yards (314) since 2006 when he entered the New Hampshire game in the second quarter and rallied the team to victory. One of his three touchdowns that day was the second longest scoring pass in program history, a 97-yarder to Titus Davis. Rush also tossed three touchdowns passes in a road upset of Ohio and ran 26-yards for his first rushing score of his career at Ball State. For the season, Rush threw for 2,349 yards, ranking fifth in the MAC in passing (213.5 ypg), and 15 touchdowns.
Eleven Chippewas also received Academic All-MAC honorable mention recognition: Joe Bacci, Jarret Chapman, Winslow Chapman, Ron Coluzzi, Kavon Frazier, Mike Kinville, Matt Losiniecki, Kenny McClendon, Joe Ostman, Anthony Rice and A.J. Westendorp.