November 20, 2008

Seniors make final stand

Tuesday's 42-14 loss to Northern Illinois, much like the entire season, did not pan out the way Kent State's 13 outgoing seniors would have hoped.

Having played their final home game, and with just one game left to play, one thing is for certain, they did their best to lay the groundwork for a winning program at Kent State.

Especially quarterback Julian Edelman.

The California native became, according to most coaches in the Mid-American Conference, the toughest player to game plan against.

On the year, Edelman has passed for 1, 706 yards and rushed for 1,203, combining for 25 touchdowns.

His final college game against the Bulls next Saturday may not be his last. There has been a lot of talk of Edelman getting a shot in the NFL next fall.

The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cleveland Browns are the latest NFL teams to send representatives to scout Edelman.

Following the loss to the Huskies, Martin commented on what Edelman brought to the team.

"There are two things in my mind that I'm trying to get our football team to learn that separates an average football player from a great football player; Julian Edelman being a great football player," Martin said. "No. 1 is they care, and nobody cares more than that guy. No. 2 is consistency. They show up and play the same, week after week after week and there's not a coach that we play who hasn't told me that Julian Edelman's the best football player in the Mid-American Conference."

After Edelman, there's the big left tackle Augustus Parrish.

The 6-foot-5 inch, 305-pound Parrish has started 33 of the Flashes' 35 games the past three seasons.

"He's really played well and he's developed into a player that's going to have a chance to play at the next level," Martin said. "He's given a lot to this program, he's another young man that cares a lot."

Edelman's favorite receiving target, Shawn Bayes, started the season off hot, but cooled off as of late.

On the season Bayes has 35 catches for 617 yards and five touchdowns. His most memorable catch of the season is the short pass he turned into an 82-yard touchdown against Ohio.

Despite declining statistics in the Flashes' final four games, Bayes remained the quiet leader of the wide receiving corps.

On defense Martin praised defensive captains, cornerback Rico Murray and linebacker Derek Burrell.

"Burrell's had two of the best years of any linebacker here in a long, long time," Martin said.

In the past two seasons, Burrell compiled 221 tackles while Murray added 142 more.

Cedrick Maxwell drew praise from Martin because of the senior linebacker's toughness, a trait that the coach said many of the Flashes' possess.

"You can't give any more than Cedrick Maxwell gave," Martin said. "The guy was playing on a broken leg the last three weeks, his shin bone is still broken and after games he's been in tears he was hurting so bad. He's a warrior."

Other Kent State seniors that played in their last home game include defensive ends David Filippi and Darrius Carter, offensive linemen Damian Matuschek, Travis McGraw and Prishod Koonce, and wide receivers Coleman Lynn and Stevon Moss.

Some seniors did not get the playing time others did, but that doesn't mean their presence on the team wasn't felt.

"Each senior has their own story. Some of them haven't played as much as they would have liked, like the role players, and some due to injuries," Martin said. "Sports is unique in the way that everybody kind of develops their own story. They'll all be missed but they've all contributed something here and they laid down a foundation that we can build on if we just continue to fight the fight."

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