Pimpleton, Nichols earn individual All-MAC honors, 10 Chippewas make All-MAC teams
After accumulating 1,710 rushing yards, redshirt Freshman Lew Nichols III was one of nearly a dozen Central Michigan football players to earn All Mid-American Conference honors
The MAC released its postseason awards and all-conference teams on Wednesday. Nichols and junior Kalil Pimpleton earned individual honors while 10 players made all-conference teams.
Nichols, the country's leading rusher, was named MAC Offensive Player of the Year while Pimpleton took home Special Teams Player of the Year. A Detroit native, Nichols ran for a Division I-best 1,710 yards in 2021. His single-season total ranks second in CMU history, with only Brian Pruitt's 1,890 yards in 1994 ranking higher. Nichols also scored 15 touchdowns.
Pimpleton returned 12 punts for 243 yards and two touchdowns in 2021. Both punt return scores came in the Chippewas' 42-30 win over Western Michigan, including a program-record 97-yard return late in the first half.
Both Pimpleton and Nichols were named to the All-MAC first team, along with offensive tackles Bernhard Raimann and Luke Goedeke, defensive end Troy Hairston and linebacker Troy Brown. Pimpleton made the first team as both a receiver and punt returner.
Raimann and Goedeke became one of the top offensive tackle duos at the Group of Five level, creating running lanes and paving the way for Nichols' historic season. Both have accepted invites to play in the Reese's Senior Bowl on Feb. 5, 2022.
Hairston finished with a team-high 6.5 sacks, while Brown made 54 tackles, with 4.5 for loss from the linebacker position.
One Chippewa, junior safety Devonni Reed, made the second team. Reed was second on the team in tackles with 73 and had two interceptions, including a pick-six against Louisiana State.
Three Chippewas made third-team honors; wide receivers JaCorey Sullivan and Dallas Dixon and kickoff returner Marion Lukes.
Sullivan began the season as the team's leading receiver but missed two games with injury. He finished with 604 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns. Dixon, meanwhile, enjoyed a breakout year in his first full season as a Chippewa, totaling 696 yards and eight scores.
Lukes, a freshman from Charlestown, Indiana, returned 20 kicks for 464. He scored his first career touchdown in the Chippewas' season finale against Eastern Michigan, returning the opening kickoff of the second half 100 yards.
The Chippewas finished the regular season 8-4 and won their last four.
MAC Individual Award Winners:
Offensive Player of the Year: Lew Nichols, RB, CMU
Defensive Player of the Year: Ali Fayad, DE, Western Michigan
Special Teams Player of the Year: Kalil Pimpleton, PR, CMU
Coach of the Year: Thomas Hammock, Northern Illinois
Freshman of the Year: Jay Ducker, RB, NIU
Vern Smith Leadership Award: Dustin Crum, QB, Kent State