The Central Michigan Chippewas enter the 2024 season fresh off their first Mid-American Conference Championship in school history. The Chippewas don’t have a lot of questions heading into the season, as they return all but six players from last year's team. The biggest question mark is on the offensive line, where three starters from last year have moved on. However, coach NASCARlson77 is confident that there won’t be much fall off from last year's production. “We lost some proven players on the line this off-season, but we like the talent that is replacing them. It also helps to have a proven veteran QB in the backfield who can help to ease that transition.”
Chippewa fans got their first look at the 2024 Chippewa team during the annual Maroon and Gold game. This year’s spring game utilized a first team offense vs. the first team defense and second team offense vs second team defense format. Given the attrition on the offensive line, the coaching staff had to be pleased with the performance as they graded out high against their defensive counterparts giving up only one sack on 52 pass attempts from Byron Suggs. In the end, some 4th quarter heroics from the talented Senior signal caller allowed the Maroon team to escape with a 21-20 victory. Since becoming a starter, Suggs has demonstrated his ability to throw the ball and the coaching staff gave him the green light. Suggs clearly enjoyed the exhibition, “It’s always fun to get back on the field and play. Coach told me to go out there and sling it so that’s what we did. We have a lot of threats on this offense so it’s fun to get the ball into their hands.” Chippewa fans should rejoice that Suggs opted to return for his final season. His ability should put them in the heat of the MAC race and make them a favorite in the West Division.
Let’s take a look at who stood out in this year’s Maroon vs Gold game.
WR Joseph Aikman (Senior)
9 catches, 98 yards
No surprise here as Aikman is Suggs favorite target. The two have an unreal chemistry which resulted in Aikman hauling in 91 catches for 1,312 yards and 9 TD’s. These two are best friends off the field and should be tough to stop again this season.
RB Onaje Coleman (Freshman)
19 carries, 89 yards 1 TD
The Chippewa staff was very impressed with Coleman in spring ball and he capped it off with a strong performance in the spring game. With Daveed Huff back, Coleman will almost certainly redshirt, but he took advantage of the opportunity to show what he can do.
WR DaeSean Daniels (Freshman)
5 catches, 53 yards, 1 TD
DaeSean Daniels is a player that people around the team have been excited to see get on the field. He’s small in stature, but is a gifted athlete. With Aikman and Peppers in front of him, Daniels should figure in as a third option and has a chance to be a difference maker. Daniels will also likely see action as the return man on special teams
DE Jacob Gardner-Ware (Freshman)
4 tackles, 1 TFL
Gardner-Ware was the highest rated recruit to sign with the Chippewas last season. The staff has said the plan is for him to redshirt, but the talented defensive end shows a lot of promise for the future.