paced Kent State with 1,429 rushing yards and 561 receiving yards last season. (Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
By Martin Rickman
Following on the heels of Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch’s “Lynch for 6” campaign, Kent State running back Dri Archer is getting a Heisman campaign of his own.
Archer led the nation with an average of nine yards per carry and 36.9 yards per kick return last season, and he finished the year with 2,581 all-purpose yards and 23 touchdowns. He'll also assume the role of primary punt returner this season, according to head coach Paul Haynes. Kent State announced in a release on Wednesday that Archer will get a #Dri4Heisman push, with a few extra elements thrown in:
The campaign includes an official Dri4Heisman website, an @Dri4Heisman Twitter page, Facebook page and a digital comic strip, “The Archer,” illustrated by Chuck Ayers of Crankshaft and Funky Winkerbean.
The Funky Winkerbean guy is seriously making a web comic for Kent State’s versatile playmaker. Think about that for a second, and see if you can top it, AJ McCarron.
Last week at MAC media day, SI had a chance to sit down with Archer to talk about his thoughts on the conference, Kent State's 2013 chances and his role in Haynes' offense.
SI: Coach Haynes talks about the idea of an ’80 guy,’ a guy who can take any touch and go 80 yards. You’re that guy for Kent State, but do you think the MAC as a whole is filled with those kinds of players?
Dri Archer: We’re just like everybody else around the country. We just get overlooked because we play in the MAC. There are a bunch of great athletes in our conference. You look up and down the league; we definitely get overlooked.
SI: Does the conference as a whole have a sense of togetherness? Do you root for other teams in the MAC?
DA: I definitely think so. When we’re playing out-of-conference games, we always root for MAC teams. Especially in bowl week, whenever anybody from the MAC plays another team, deep down inside you want them to win. Each and every win helps the conference.
SI: You're the latest in a long line of electric playmakers at Kent. What brought you to the school?
DA: Kent was my only offer, so this was my opportunity to play. I enjoyed the coaching staff and got along with everybody. I knew this was going to be a good experience for me.
SI: One of the unfortunate realities in the MAC is that if your team is successful, you might lose your coach. Does that put the program on the players’ shoulders? Do you build from within?
DA: It’s loyalty to our team, to our players and to our school. Coaches seem to come and go these days, so there’s not a lot of loyalty going around. We have to stick together.
SI: How do you feel about coach Haynes so far?
DA: He’s great. He brings a lot of energy to the program. I really feel like we can go a long way with him.
SI: Kent State is still looking for the answer at quarterback following Spencer Keith's graduation. How can you make the job of the player who lands in that role easier?
DA: We just have to run the ball. We have a strong offensive line and we have two great running backs coming back. We have to do what we do best.
SI: Coach Haynes said you’re returning punts this year. Are you excited?
DA: Of course. Any time I can get the ball in my hands and make a play I’m excited.
SI: What’s the goal for this season?
The same goal as any season: get to the MAC championship and win it.