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Keep your enemies close: Central Michigan Chippewas

The best players for CMU are two young players looking to make a name for themselves.

Clemson v Virginia Tech Photo by Michael Shroyer/Getty Images

Who are the best players on the team Wisconsin is playing in any given week? We aim to find out and give you mini scouting reports on them so you can sound smart talking to your friends by saying “well, actually...” and then whatever smart thing we tell you. You’re welcome in advance for being the go-to friend in your group for Central Michigan football knowledge.

Central Michigan isn’t what one might call a good football team. However, they still ARE a football team and one that the Badgers will play on the first weekend of September this year.

The Chips have a new head coach (Jim McElwain) and a new star wide receiver (see below) that will hopefully lead them to winning more than one game this year.

Best Offensive Player: WR Kalil Pimpleton, sophomore, No. 88

The diminutive Pimpleton, who stands 5’9” and only weighs 160 pounds, was a three-star recruit coming out of high school in Muskegon, Michigan. He committed to Virginia Tech but didn’t play much as a freshman, appearing in five games and totaling one rush for four yards. He decided to return home to Michigan and he appears to be much happier according to this profile of him.

Pimpleton redshirted last year while sitting out due to NCAA transfer rules so he still has three years of eligibility left in Mt. Pleasant. An exciting player with the ball in hands, Pimpleton will get far more opportunities with CMU than he would have if he stayed in Blacksburg. SB Nation’s MAC Blog, Hustle Belt, had this to say about his high school career:

Pimpleton was a finalist for MLive’s Player of the Year in his senior season after producing over 2,800 career total yards and 43 career total touchdowns between three positions for the Big Red. He also returned three punts for touchdowns in 11 attempts in his senior year.

The Chippewas lost their top two receivers from an admittedly subpar passing attack, so Pimpleton’s speed and ability will be a welcome sight. Phil Steele has Pimpleton on his all-MAC third team.

NCAA Football: UNLV at Central Michigan Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Best Player Defense: DT LaQuan Johnson, redshirt freshman, No. 98

Johnson played in four games last year for CMU, thus retaining his redshirt eligibility, and I have to imagine Chips fans are salivating at what he might be able to do given a full season on the field. The native of Flint, Michigan started three of the four games he played in and recorded 15 tackles (eight solo), 4.5 tackles for loss and two sacks.

The first-team all-state selection by the Associated Press and the Detroit Free Press racked up 184 tackles, 22 sacks and scored five touchdowns during his two years of high school football. The defensive line is not a strength for Central Michigan heading into the season but a marked improvement from Johnson could turn that around.