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2022 MAC Football Positional Previews: Eastern Michigan Eagles offensive skill positions

An EMU quarterback from previous years.
Kenneth Bailey

So we have come to another football season in Ypsilanti. For this we will start with a run down of the offensive skill positions. To that effect, we will start with the quarterback. With the graduation of Ben Bryant and Preston Hutchinson, Eastern Michigan found itself without an experienced quarterback. That didn’t last too long as they picked up Taylor Powell.


COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 18 Troy at Southern Miss Photo by Bobby McDuffie/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Taylor Powell started his college career with Missouri. In his freshman year, he ran the scout offense very well, showing promise, before becoming the backup to current Seattle Seahawks QB Drew Lock in his sophomore season. He saw action in 6 games and went 6-of-14 for 134 yards, tossing one touchdown. In his redshirt sophomore season, he went 29-of-62 for one touchdown and two interceptions in six games.

He sat out in 2020 and transferred to Troy for the 2021 season, playing in six games before getting injured during the South Carolina game, finishing the season 125-of-189 for 1,251 yards with seven touchdowns.

After him on the depth chart is a lot of uncertainty.

Junior quarterback Brooks Blount, a transfer from Division III DuPage, appears to be in the mix at QB2. In his only season at DuPage, he was 96-of-162 for 1,172 yards, throwing for 11 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Behind him is Sophomore Austin Smith. He played for one play against Texas State where he threw for 16 yards. Freshman quarterbacks Jeremiah Salem and Cam’ron McCoy are also listed on the roster, but might not see a lot of time initially. Based on experience alone, I would expect Taylor Powell to start.

Wide receiver and tight end

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 09 Ohio at Eastern Michigan Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

At wide receiver, Eastern Michigan is pretty well stacked. Returning from last year is Hassan Beydoun, Dylan Drummond, Dennis Smith, I’Shawn Stewart and Dylan Summers, which makes up the vast majority of their returning production.

I expect to see Hassan Beydoun with the lions’ share of catches as he had over 1000 yards last year. Dylan Drummond was a pretty close second with 700 yards. Chris Creighton likes to distribute the ball amongst the receivers, so I would expect the others to make impacts as well.

Tight end Gunnar Oakes returns to the roster as well, after picking up 272 yards and three touchdowns. Aaron Jackson should get some reps at backup end as well, with both expected to see a lot of time, as the Creighton offense likes to use the tight end in the offense quite a bit.

Running backs

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 12 NIU at Eastern Michigan Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The run game has been a traditional weak point on the Eastern Michigan offense.

For instance, last year, they averaged 118 yards per game on the ground. It seems like higher powered offenses have better run games, and in some games, the lack of a rush took EMU out of games they could have had a chance in.

All told, Eastern Michigan does return two experienced running backs in the form of Darius Boone Jr. and Samson Evans. Darius Boone Jr. ran for 474 yards and Evans ran for 328 yards. Eastern Michigan got some transfer help in the form of Sebastian Toland from Northern Michigan. Last year, he ran for 268 yards for the Wildcats.

Also part of the run game will be the quarterback, which is something we’re not sure Powell quite possesses at the moment. It could be a situation where a backup QB with more mobility spells Powell to become a de-facto Wildcat in Creighton’s offense modified option offense. The dual-threat nature of a QB is key to making the rest of the attack work, so whoever becomes the signal-caller will need to keep that option in mind.