MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – Four members of the Central Michigan football team have been honored for their standout 2013 seasons with All-Mid-American Conference recognition. The teams were assembled following a vote by the conference coaches.
Junior wide receiver Titus Davis was named First Team All-MAC while junior guard Andy Phillips earned second team honors. Linebackers Shamari Benton, a senior, and Justin Cherocci, a junior, were recognized on the conference’s third team.
Davis, who earned second team honors as a sophomore and third team recognition following his freshman season, had his best year statistically in 2013, proving again why he deserves consideration among the nation’s top pass catchers. A preseason Biletnikoff Award nominee, Davis led CMU with 61 receptions and finished second in the MAC with 1,109 receiving yards, providing him with his first career 1,000-yard season. His 18.2 yards per catch average led the conference and ranked third nationally among receivers with 60 or more catches. Davis recorded six 100-yard receiving games in 2013, including totaling a season-high 187 yards in front of national television audience versus Ball State, giving him 11 for his career. The Wheaton, Ill. native also recorded eight receiving touchdowns for the third consecutive year.
Davis holds a prominent place in the CMU record book, appearing in several statistical categories. His 2013 receiving total ranks fifth while his touchdown total is sixth. He also ranks second in career touchdowns (24), sixth in yards (2,720) and 10th in receptions (144).
Phillips has been a mainstay up front for CMU the past two seasons, starting 29 consecutive games at left guard, the second longest streak on the team. The only non-senior voted by his teammates as a captain for the 2013 season, he provided a young offensive line with a veteran presence. Phillips anchored a line that helped the Chippewas average 5.4 yards per play and lent leadership to an offense that featured a freshman quarterback and sophomore running back for much of the season.
Benton, a team captain for the 2013 season, combined with Cherocci to provide the Central Michigan defense with one of the nation’s top tackling tandems. In the past 25 games, they have combined for 490 tackles, an average of nearly 20 tackles per game (19.6).
Benton recorded 100-plus tackles for the second consecutive season, totaling 111, which ranked third in the MAC. Benton also led CMU and ranked seventh in the MAC with 10.5 tackles for loss. He reached double digits in tackles in seven games, including tying a career-high with 14 stops twice. Benton also recorded 2.0 sacks, one interception, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
Cherocci finished the regular season as the MAC’s leading tackler, recording 121, which also ranked 15th nationally. He had double-digit tackle efforts in seven games in 2013, setting a career high with 15 against Toledo. Cherocci also topped the team in sacks with 4.0 and in forced fumbles with two and recorded his first career interception versus Northern Illinois. A nominee for the Burlsworth Trophy, an honor presented to the nation’s top player who began his career as a walk-on, Cherocci, who has 282 career tackles, will enter his senior season on pace to move into the top 10 in the CMU record book.
Central Michigan (6-6, 5-3 MAC) finished the 2013 regular season by winning three straight games to become bowl eligible for the sixth time in eight years. CMU also regained the Michigan MAC Trophy, by virtue of its victories over in-state rivals Western and Eastern Michigan, and earned the program’s most conference wins since its MAC Championship season of 2009.