MT. PLEASANT – As Central Michigan prepares to kick off its 2016 season this week, fifth-year quarterback Cooper Rush is primed to become one of the greatest signal callers in program history.
A three-year starter, Rush currently ranks second or third in four in CMU history for career passing yards (9,354), passes completed (744), touchdown passes (67) and passing attempts (1,183), trailing career leader Dan LeFevour and Ryan Radcliffe.
The fifth-year senior is coming off a career year in 2015 after ranking 14th nationally in passing yards. Rush completed 324-of-489 passes for 3,848 yards and 25 touchdowns over 11 interceptions in leading the Chippewas to a share of a Mid-American Conference West division title.
“There’s an obvious change in his arm strength, and credit to Coach Novak and our strength staff, but also to Cooper for putting in the work,” coach John Bonamego said. “Those things combined with all of the intangibles that he already possesses, his work ethic, his pride, his attention to detail… I’m very proud of what Cooper’s done so far, and I’m excited to coach him this year. We’re looking forward to him having a great senior season."
After redshirting his freshman year, Rush secured the starting role after leading CMU to a come-from-behind win over New Hampshire in the 2013 season opener, and has yet to relinquish the role.
“He’s always been a leader by example and everything, but now he’s more vocal with things, and challenging guys to do things right,” offensive coordinator Morris Watts said. “He’s exactly what we expect of him, every time we come out on the field to practice.”
Rush and the Chippewas open their 2016 season at Kelly/Shorts Stadium on Thursday, hosting Presbyterian (S.C.).
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