Central’s Rush, Western’s Terrell find landing spots
Central Michigan football coach John Bonamego was at a baby shower Saturday, not that he participated in any cutesy games. No surprise, he was off in the corner, watching the NFL Draft on his phone.
To his surprise, his star quarterback, Cooper Rush, went undrafted.
Not to his surprise, Rush quickly signed a free-agent deal with the Dallas Cowboys, after also receiving interest from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“Coop still has a lot of upside,” Bonamego said. “I think there was a lot of discussion, I know, late with some teams.”
Rush, of the Lansing area, was a four-year starter at Central, under two different coaches, and set a bundle of program records.
He led CMU to bowl games the last three seasons, and most notably threw seven touchdown passes in a riveting Bahamas bowl against Western Kentucky in 2014.
Rush was one of two state quarterbacks who figured to get a look on Day 3 of the NFL Draft. Western Michigan’s Zach Terrell, despite a Pro Day for the ages, also went undrafted, and signed Saturday night with the Baltimore Ravens.
“He has special written all over him,” said P.J. Fleck, Terrell’s coach at Western Michigan. “Probably a better situation for him, to pick.”
There's a connection with Baltimore, whose starting quarterback, Joe Flacco, is the older brother of Tom Flacco, expected to take over at QB at Western in the fall.
Terrell almost transferred after Fleck got the job four years ago, and Fleck was ready to let him walk. But the two had a heart-to-heart, he stayed, and helped turn the Broncos into a national power this year, going 13-1.
He was overshadowed at times by his top receiving target, Corey Davis, who went No. 5 overall to the Tennessee Titans on Thursday. But he is widely lauded for his intelligence and decision-making, rarely throwing interceptions.
He also won the Campbell Trophy, considered the “Academic Heisman.”
Here’s a roundup of other local players signing as undrafted free agents:
■Kenny Allen, P, Michigan — Ravens
■Collin Buchanan, OL, Southfield (Miami, Ohio) — Saints
■Riley Bullough, LB, Michigan State — Buccaneers
■Donte Cary, S, Grand Valley State — Browns
■Brandon Clemson, OL/DL, Michigan State — Cardinals
■Demetrious Cox, DB, Michigan State — Bengals
■Cole Gardner, OL, Eastern Michigan — Buccaneers
■Matt Godin, DT, Michigan — Texans
■Darian Hicks, DB, Michigan State — Bears
■Kyle Kalis, OL, Michigan — Washington
■Kodi Kieler, OL, Michigan State — Cardinals
■Monty Madaris, WR, Michigan State — Bengals
■Erik Magnuson, OL, Michigan — 49ers
■Tyler O'Connor, QB, Michigan State — Bengals
■DaQuan Pace, DB, Eastern Michigan — Bengals
■Josiah Price, TE, Michigan State — Vikings
■Brady Sheldon, DB, Ferris State — Raiders
■R.J. Shelton, WR, Michigan State — Vikings
■De'Veon Smith, RB, Michigan — Dolphins
■Channing Stribling, CB, Michigan — Browns
■David Talley, OLB, Grand Valley State — Packers, Texans
■Nate Theaker, OL, Wayne State — Cowboys
■Dymonte Thomas, S, Michigan — Broncos
■Kevin Williams, DT, Michigan State — Bengals
■Andrew Wylie, OL, Eastern Michigan — Ravens