Keith, Archer shine in scrimmage

Lance Lysowski

Saturday’s scrimmage proves these are two players to keep an eye on

Kent State’s spring game is coming up this Friday.

Last season, sophomore quarterback Spencer Keith developed chemistry on the field with his fellow classmate, wide receiver Tyshon Goode.

Although Goode missed time this offseason with a concussion, the chemistry with his starting quarterback was still strong as the sophomore caught four passes for 58 yards and a touchdown in an intra-squad scrimmage Saturday at Dix Stadium.

With Kent State’s spring game coming up this Friday, here are a few players to keep an eye on moving forward.

Keith: After starting six games in his freshman campaign, Keith has shown this spring how early playing time vastly improved his game. On Saturday, Keith completed 14-of-24 passes for 143 yards and two touchdowns.

Kent State coach Doug Martin said Keith is making a statement to the rest of the Mid-American Conference with the strides he’s made.

“Spencer is a different type of player now because of the experience he got last year,” Martin said. “And he’s one of the best quarterbacks in the conference now.”

Senior linebacker Cobrani Mixon: Mixon is the anchor of Kent State’s linebacking corps and led the Flashes’ defense with 108 tackles last season. The senior has missed the majority of off-season workouts because of an injury, but his presence on the sidelines is still intact. The senior dressed in full pads for Saturday’s scrimmage despite not being able to play. Mixon is on many people’s Bednarik Trophy Pre-Season watch list for the nation’s best linebacker.

Sophomore running back Dri Archer: The Flashes are in a predicament. Martin has three running backs on his roster who would receive starting consideration, but the starting job is senior running back Eugene Jarvis’ to lose.

Archer impressed in Saturday’s game again, as the sophomore broke tackles at the line of scrimmage on his way to a 65-yard touchdown run. A challenge facing Martin could be how to use Archer in the offense. The sophomore has been given time at punt returner, but the Flashes’ offense could use his game-breaking speed.

Junior cornerback Josh Pleasant: Kent State’s starting corner continues to show shutdown ability in spring practice. During a two-minute drill in Saturday’s scrimmage, the junior intercepted a ball and returned it 59 yards for a touchdown. The secondary is said to be the Flashes’ thinnest position, but the play of Pleasant and his counterpart, junior Norman Wolfe, may put that statement to rest.

Freshman quarterback Cedric McCloud: The most intriguing position battle this offseason has been at the backup quarterback spot. McCloud has displayed arm strength and mobility, but his decision-making has been inconsistent.

Measuring 6-foot-4 and 234 pounds, McCloud has the physical tools to be a competent quarterback at the collegiate level, but neither he nor junior quarterback Giorgio Morgan have taken advantage of the opportunity.

Martin said he is still waiting for a player to take the job in spring practices.

“What’s lacking right now is our backups on offense,” Martin said. “We particularly need someone to step up and take the backup quarterback job.”

Contact sports reporter Lance Lysowski at [email protected].