Three quarterbacks have started for Central Michigan this year.
Junior Cody Kater started the season opener before breaking his collarbone against Michigan. Sophomore Alex Niznak started against New Hampshire before being pulled in favor of redshirt freshman Cooper Rush, who has started since.
Behind Rush sits true freshman Darrien Boone.
Boone has been redshirted this year, but his quarterback coach Morris Watts is expecting good things from him in the future.
“He is a very talented individual,” Watts said. “We saw that when we watched him practice and watched his film from high school. You can learn a lot redshirting, but it’s tough when you’re not running your system to advance. He is learning how to be a quarterback, though. I can see him improving everyday.”
Boone doesn’t mind taking in the system for a year before getting his opportunity on the field.
“Right now, I’m just taking it one day at a time,” Boone said. “I’m doing the scout team or rotating in with the first or second team if they need me. I have to be ready.”
Sitting out a year is nothing new to Boone.
As a high school senior, he transferred from Chicago Fenger Academy, where he earned all-state honors to Hales Franciscan High School.
According to an October 2012 story written by the Chicago-Sun Times, Boone transferred because he was assaulted at gunpoint after leaving an athletic event in October 2011.
Chicago Public Schools officials ruled him ineligible to play his senior season.
Boone was devastated.
“I felt like I was in a drought. I didn’t have a trainer; I was out doing my own thing. I came here lost,” he said. “My head was all scrambled around. Maybe if I played my senior year I would have had a better chance here. (But) I can’t look back; I have to move forward.”
One thing Boone did to improve his chances of learning the system was coming to CMU a semester early.
“It helped me a lot,” Boone said. “Learning the offense, getting closer to coach Watts. It helped me technique-wise. I’m really mobile, but my arm is getting better. Scout team has helped me out a lot. Watts gets on me a lot and gets in my head, but I know it helps in the long run.”
Star wide receiver Defarrel Davis has seen improvements from Boone already this year.
“Over the summer I worked with him a lot,” Davis said. “He started off a little rocky, but that’s just because it’s his first year here. The scout team has helped him out a lot.”
The decision to redshirt comes down to Boone being ready for game action. Head coach Dan Enos doesn’t believe he is there yet.
“I don’t think so, not at this point,” Enos said. “He runs our scout team.”