2024 MAC CB Rankings: Who Takes the Baton From Quinyon Mitchell?

    Toledo's Quinyon Mitchell locked down the conference's best WRs over the last two years. With him off to the NFL, who leads the 2024 MAC CB Rankings?

    Quinyon Mitchell was the conference’s top CB the last two years, but as the 2024 MAC CB Rankings show, plenty of talented corners are returning this season. Who sits on the throne, and who challenges for the CB1 spot?

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    MAC 2024 CB Rankings

    10) Darrian Lewis and Paul Lewis III, Akron Zips

    Akron has a pair of Lewises (unrelated) set to start in 2024. First up is Darrian Lewis, who has manned the first-team slot spot the last two years. Not only is he athletic enough to cover two-way go’s, but he is a plus run defender, crashing from the inside and chasing down ball carriers.

    Meanwhile, Paul Lewis III, a three-year starter transferring from Cornell, stands 6’2″ and uses his length to great effect (17 pass deflections since 2022).

    9) Jashon Prophete, Northern Illinois Huskies

    Jashon Prophete’s rise to prominence with the Huskies wasn’t easy. He redshirted in 2020, played primarily safety in 2021 as a backup, missed the first five games of 2022 due to injury, then burst onto the scene as a slot defender in 2023. Despite having sparse experience, he was sticky in coverage, recording eight pass deflections.

    With another offseason to hone his craft, Prophete should snatch his first career INT and vie for all-conference honors in 2024, especially after upping his swag by changing his jersey number from 24 to 1.

    8) Torrie Cox Jr., Ohio Bobcats

    Despite being listed at 5’8″ and 172 pounds, Torrie Cox Jr. starts on the outside for the Bobcats. He entered the transfer portal after the season and withdrew in January, which is massive for Ohio’s defense.

    MORE: Could More Teams Join UMass in the MAC?

    Cox’s father was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the sixth round of the 2003 NFL Draft and played for the team from 2003-2009. As you’d expect from the son of a professional athlete, Cox is detail-orientated, patient, and knows how to maximize his size.

    7) Da’Raun McKinney, Central Michigan Chippewas

    Following two impressive seasons at South Dakota, Da’Raun McKinney decided to up the ante, transferring to CMU in 2023. He started six of the final seven games, logging 39 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, and four PBUs.

    McKinney’s dense 5’10” and 200-pound frame makes him an add-on in the running game and allows him to wrap up, limiting yards after the catch.

    6) Javaughn Byrd, Northern Illinois Huskies

    A three-year starter, Javaughn Byrd enters his true senior season off of his best campaign yet. He snatched three INTs (only three of his career) and five more PBUs, just one less than the two previous seasons combined. His explosive lower half allows him to instantly close space, and his long arms narrow passing windows.

    5) Donte Kent, Central Michigan Chippewas

    Central Michigan had six players receive significant snaps at corner last season, but one constant was Donte Kent. Primarily an outside corner, the Chippewas moved Kent to a hybrid role after a rough three games to open the season, splitting his time between the slot and the boundary.

    It worked, as Kent didn’t allow a touchdown or a 25+ yard reception in his last seven games of the season, leading to second-team All-MAC recognition. He hasn’t had an interception since 2021, but with 37 pass deflections across the last three years, Kent clearly has a knack for making a play on the ball.

    4) Raion Strader, Miami RedHawks

    As a true freshman, Raion Strader registered 57 total tackles, one INT, and 12 PBUs. He was tested early and often, but offenses got worse looking his way. Of course, Strader wasn’t perfect, allowing his fair share of catches. Yet, he rarely lost downfield and wrapped up quickly after the catch, restricting YAC.

    With his lateral spryness, Strader can slip blocks in run defense and keep WRs in front of him. He’s also a constant communicator and clearly sees the game at a different speed than many of those around him.

    3) Charles McCartherens, Buffalo Bulls

    Another true freshman CB, Charles McCartherens balled out in 2023, nabbing three picks, three more PBUs, and a forced fumble. But even more jaw-dropping was the fact that he didn’t concede a TD or a 20+ yard reception after his first start in Week 3.

    He’s light, weighing in at 160 pounds on the school’s roster, but McCartherens is a fluid mover who routinely plays through the hands at the catch point. With another season of shutting down WRs under his belt, McCartherens should receive Power Five attention.

    2) Bilhal Kone, Western Michigan Broncos

    Bilhal Kone’s career path has been inspiring to watch. He started out at Iowa Central Community College, reeling in three INTs and 10 PBUs in two seasons. He then transferred to Indiana State, breaking up six passes in eight games before a season-ending injury.

    Western Michigan offered him another opportunity to move up a level, and Kone cashed in their bet. He played his way into the first-team lineup, and in only a handful of starts, he produced eight breakups and one pick.

    Kone won’t wow with top speed or change of direction, but his size (6’2″, 190), length, experience, and constant drive to improve vault him to the top of the 2024 MAC CB Rankings.

    1) Jordan Oladokun, Bowling Green Falcons

    Kone is at the top of the mountain, but Jordan Oladokun is in the clouds. He flashed his potential in 2022 with eight PBUs, but 2023 was his national debut. With four INTs (including one against Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy) and six PBUs, Oladokun shut down opponents opposite Jalen Husky, who transferred to Maryland this offseason.

    KEEP READING: 2024 MAC EDGE Rankings

    In fact, outside of games against Eastern Illinois, Akron, and Ohio, Oladokun practically forfeited nothing for the rest of the year. Now, you can’t simply throw out those contests, as he was beaten several times, but corner is a volatile position.

    If he can maintain form without Husky and Davon Ferguson (who is onto the NFL Draft), Oladokun will cement his place as CB1 in the conference.

    2024 MAC CB Rankings | 11-20

    11) Amariyun Knighten and Jacob Finley, Northern Illinois  
    12) Devonte Golden-Nelson and Joey Hunter, Akron
    13) Daiquan White and Keylen Gulley, Eastern Michigan
    14) Jayden Oliver and Caleb Offord, Buffalo
    15) Dallas Branch, Kent State
    16) Thailand Baldwin and Ed Rhambo, Ball State
    17) Jermarian Jackson, Akron
    18) Damarian McNulty, Eastern Michigan
    19) Eddie Whipple, Buffalo
    20) Ezekiel Blake, Toledo

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