Cooper Rush emerged from seemingly nowhere to throw for 493 yards and 7 TD's in the wild and wacky Bahamas Bowl last year, including that fantastic Hail Mary play that has been nominated for an ESPY. It was the culmination of a lot of natural development on Rush's part throughout the 2014 season.
Since taking over for Cody Kater and bringing the Chips back from a deficit at home vs. FCS foe New Hampshire in 2013, Rush has settled in as QB for the Chippewas, developing under the watch of Morris Watts, whose balanced approach to the offense helped take pressure off of Rush until he could fully handle the offense, and handle the offense he has. Since Rush has taken over in week 2 of 2013, he has 5,506 passing yards, 42 passing touchdowns, and a 60.1% passing completion rating, with an adjusted QBR of 61.1 and a 149.5 QB Rating in 2014.
Cooper Rush had quite the season last year, showing confidence (perhaps a little too much confidence at times,) in his arm, but it worked out for the better more often than not. Rush had multi-TD games in 9 of the 13 matchups the Chippewas were in. After week 5, Rush never passed for less than 218 yards, turning in multiple big performances, including a 269-yard, 2 TD performance against Northern Illinois, and a 291-yard, 2 TD, 77% completion rating performance at Toledo.
The interesting thing to see is just how good Rush will do this season, considering that his security blanket Titus Davis is gone to the NFL, and he will have unproven (though potentially brilliant) Devon Spalding behind him at running back instead of the angrily explosive Thomas Rawls. However, Jesse Kroll, a reliable option, will be there to help him out, and there are plenty of speedsters to fill in as secondary options.
Rush reminds me of Brett Favre on the field; a gunslinger with utmost confidence in his ability, with a knack for throwing untimely interceptions. Rush has a good arm and frame (6'3", 220 lbs.,) has played in the same system for two years now, and is a wildly intelligent individual (he has a 3.91 GPA as an actuarial sciences major.) Rush should thrive in an up-tempo offense if Watts and Bonamego trusts him to handle the keys to the Ferrari, which he very well has the potential to do. Rush already owns three top-10 all-time spots on CMU's passing records, ranking 3rd in TD passes, 5th in passing yards, and 7th in complete passes, as a redshirt sophomore, so there is plenty of potential for Rush to grow.
Time will tell if he can mold into what first-year head coach John Bonamego needs him to be. Rush will certainly be a prospect to watch at the quarterback position this season.