If you look at the football program’s record books, you’ll see several names repeated over and over again.
In the top six of career yards passing, passing attempts, passes completed, touchdown passes and total offense, the names Dan LeFevour, Ryan Radcliff, Derrick Vickers and Kent Smith are all found.
From 2000-12, Central Michigan has been consistent behind center, and head coach Dan Enos has said that whoever was named starter would get every chance to keep the title.
That position has been given to Cody Kater, and he has some big shoes to fill.
Derrick Vickers, 2000-03
Under head coach Mike DeBord, things were unstable in the football program.
In Vickers’ time as the starting quarterback, the Chippewas went 12-34, though that was through no fault of Vickers.
In his career, he threw for 5,358 yards (fifth all-time), completed 494 of his 907 passes (fourth all-time) with 34 touchdowns (fifth all-time) and 5,747 yards of total offense (fifth all-time).
And being a four-year starter, one would expect his interception numbers to be high, but in fact, he barely makes the top-10 in interceptions with 23 (tenth all-time).
Kent Smith, 2004-05
2004 was a year of change for the football program.
DeBord was out, former Grand Valley State University head coach Brian Kelly was in, and he needed to replace Vickers.
Kelly, now the head coach at Notre Dame, turned to Kent Smith, who, much like Kater, had two years to replace a longtime starter.
The Chippewas went 10-12 in Smith’s career, but in his senior season, the team had a winning record (6-5, 5-3 MAC) for the first time since 1998.
Smith threw for 5,179 yards (sixth all-time), with 453 passes completed (sixth all-time) in 785 attempts (sixth all-time). Of those completions, he threw for 33 touchdowns (sixth all-time) and accounted for 6,079 yards of total offense (No. 4 all-time).
Dan LeFevour, 2006-09
This four-year span is arguably the greatest in the history of the program, and it was led by Dan LeFevour.
Beginning his career as a backup to Brian Brunner, LeFevour got a chance to shine early when Brunner went down in the first game of the 2006 season at home against Boston College (the first night game under the permanent lights at Kelly/Shorts Stadium).
He took full advantage of his opportunity. LeFevour holds all passing records: 12,905 yards, 1,763 attempts, 1,171 completions, 102 touchdown passes and 15,853 total yards.
In his four years, CMU went 36-17, winning three MAC championships and two bowl games, while leading his team to a Top-25 ranking in his final season.
Ryan Radcliff, 2010-12
Ryan Radcliff had big shoes to fill, and it was a new era for CMU after head coach Dan Enos took over for Butch Jones, who followed in Kelly’s footsteps and took the head coaching gig at Cincinnati.
Radcliff went 6-18 in his first two seasons, much to the chagrin of Central Michigan fans. However, he and his team bounced back as he led CMU to a 7-6 season and back to a bowl game in his senior year.
Some fans might cringe when thinking about Radcliff’s tenure and the drop-off in wins, but he is No. 2 all-time in each of those categories behind LeFevour. He had 9,917 yards passing, 1,349 attempts, 810 completions, 63 touchdowns and 9,747 yards of total offense.
Cody Kater, 2013-present
Two completions in four attempts for 12 yards.