PFN’s All-MAC team honors ahead of the 2022 college football season

The All-MAC team honors offer up the best of the best from the Middle American Conference ahead of the 2022 college football season.

Before we blink, our preseason All-MAC team members will delight the field in mid-week MACtion that warms the hearts and excites the spirits. Until then, we award the projected top individual and team honors this preseason. Ahead of the 2022 college football season, Pro Football Network is proud to debut our All-Conference honors for each of the 10 conferences and the FBS Independents.

Detailing out our projected top players, units, and teams ahead of the action, PFN’s team of draft evaluators and national college football analysts looked at who they each thought would be the conference’s best in 2022. The results are in, and here is the cream of the crop heading into the fall.

Follow along with all of our All-Conference Awards this preseason: AAC | ACC | B1G | Big 12 | Conference USA | Mountain West | Pac-12 | SEC | Sun Belt | FBS Independent

Preseason All-MAC football team honors for 2022

It’s important to note that these are awards and honors from Pro Football Network for each individual’s expected prowess on the field this season. This is in no way a projection of their NFL draft status nor a report on the specific conference awards awarded this preseason. These honors are from Pro Football Network, as judged by our team of college football analysts and draft evaluators projecting their success on the field in 2022.

  • MAC Player of the Year
    Darren Anders, LB, Bowling Green
  • MAC Offensive Player of the Year
    Lew Nichols III, Central Michigan
  • MAC Defensive Player of the Year
    Darren Anders, LB, Bowling Green
  • MAC Newcomer of the Year
    Shocky Jacques-Louis, WR, Akron

Bowling Green’s Darren Anders is a do-it-all linebacker with one of the better athletic profiles that no one is talking about nationwide. Anders racked up 124 tackles, including three sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss last year. He played up against his competition last season as well, recording 14 tackles against Tennessee and returning an interception for a touchdown (in the rain) against South Alabama. Anders does everything a three-down linebacker should and does it at an elite level.

On offense, Central Michigan RB Lew Nichols III dominated the competition last year. He led the country with 1,848 rushing yards and 341 total carries. Taking the term “bell cow” to a new level, Nichols earned the team’s MVP award and was selected as an All-American by us at PFN. He’s back to put his rare display of vision, balance, speed, and strength on display once again for the Chips.

Shocky Jacques-Louis took the opposite path to get to Akron than a former Zips receiver. As Konata Mumpfield headed to Pittsburgh this offseason, Jacques-Louis left Pittsburgh for Akron after playing in 45 career games for the Panthers with 27 starts. That kind of experience will pay massive dividends for new starter DJ Irons in Akron.

Offensive All-MAC team and player honors

  • MAC QB of the Year
    Dequan Finn, Toledo
  • MAC RB of the Year
    Lew Nichols III, Central Michigan
  • MAC WR of the Year
    Trayvon Rudolph, Northern Illinois | Dante Cephas, Kent State
  • MAC TE of the Year
    Christian Sims, Bowling Green
  • MAC Offensive Line of the Year
    Northern Illinois Huskies
  • MAC Offensive Lineman of the Year
    Marques Cox, OT, Northern Illinois

Nichols is the star returning to the conference, but Dequan Finn has emerged in his own right. Finn was fourth in passing efficiency last season but completed 18 touchdowns against just two interceptions. He has the ability to take games over for the Rockets as he did against Eastern Michigan when he threw for 461 yards. Michigan’s former Mr. Football is set for big things in Toledo.

Dante Cephas earns the honor of top receiver after Trayvon Rudolph’s season-ending injury. Rudolph was our original award recipient but will unfortunately miss the season. Cephas also crossed the 1,000-yard mark last season, leading the team with 82 receptions, 1,240 yards, and nine touchdowns. He’s a big-bodied receiver with deceptive speed, nay, game-changing speed.

Marques Cox anchors the top returning offensive line in the conference as the Northern Illinois Huskies pace the MAC. Cox has NFL draft hopes for a good reason as he’s a stalwart left tackle. With another season under Rocky Lombardi and this offensive line that returns four of five starters, the future is bright under head coach Thomas Hammock.

Defensive All-MAC team and player honors

  • MAC Defensive Line of the Year
    Buffalo Bulls
  • MAC DL of the Year
    Desjuan Johnson, EDGE, Toledo
  • MAC LB of the Year
    Darren Anders, Bowling Green
  • MAC Secondary of the Year
    Kent State Golden Flashes
  • MAC CB of the Year
    Davon Ferguson, Bowling Green
  • MAC S of the Year
    Dean Clark, Kent State

The Buffalo Bulls continue to churn out top-notch defensive line talent, and this year is no different. The Bulls have terrific depth along the line, both on the inside and outside. Daymond Williams and George Wolo anchor the middle while Max Michel and C.J. Bazile will look to continue Buffalo’s nationally-known EDGE prowess over the past decade.

Desjuan Johnson is one of the top Group of Five pass rushers and earns the right to be called the top EDGE returning to the MAC this season. Anders earns the spot at linebacker, but Davon Ferguson also showcased enough last season to be given the top cornerback award.

The Kent State Golden Flashes have the conference’s top returning secondary, as Dean Clark calls the shots and commands the attention in the middle. Clark leads a unit that includes fellow safety Nico Bolden and cornerback Montre Miller. It’s a stacked unit with plenty of depth at each position.

Special teams All-MAC team and player honors

  • MAC K of the Year
    John Richardson, Northern Illinois
  • MAC P of the Year
    Luke Elzinga, Central Michigan
  • MAC Specialist of the Year
    Devin Maddox, PR/KR, Toledo
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