The two coaches exchange calls every few weeks to rave about their senior quarterbacks. The head coach often describes to the assistant how his QB can beat defenses with his arm and his legs; how he's become a folk hero in his community; how at Sunday-morning church services people thank him for setting such a fine example. Central Michigan coach Butch Jones will then note to Florida quarterbacks coach Scot Loeffler, his good friend, that Dan LeFevour has much in common with Tim Tebow. What he doesn't say is this: that statistically speaking, at least, LeFevour has had a much more productive career.
Last Saturday against Akron, LeFevour passed for 197 yards and four touchdowns and ran for 140 yards and two scores in the Chippewas' 48--21 victory. In the first quarter LeFevour completed a five-yard pass to become the seventh quarterback in Mid-American Conference history to throw for 10,000 yards. He already was the MAC's alltime leader in total offense, a record he set in a last-second 29--27 upset of Michigan State on Sept. 12. LeFevour's 12,604 total yards rank 11th in Division I-A history; Tebow has amassed 9,341.
"There are guys who have better arms than me and guys who are faster than me, but I can make plays when I have to," says the 6'3", 238-pound LeFevour, who has completed 65.7% of his passes and averaged 4.5 yards per carry in his career. "It may not always look pretty, but it's something I've always been able to do, going all the way back to high school."
At Benet Academy in Downers Grove, Ill., LeFevour played in a rush-heavy double wing. Because he attempted only a dozen passes a game, he attracted little interest from I-A schools. Even after he sent video to 30 programs, including Notre Dame and every team in the Big Ten, he received scholarship offers only from Central Michigan, Ball State, Eastern Michigan and Eastern Illinois. "I went to football camps and thought I had as much talent as anyone, but looking back I was just raw," says LeFevour, whom some NFL scouts rate as a first- or second-round pick. "I had to learn how to be a quarterback."
October 5, 2009
Shortly after arriving on campus, LeFevour nearly quit the team because of homesickness, then started as a redshirt freshman. Operating out of a spread offense, he has led the Chippewas to two MAC championships. No wonder LeFevour has achieved celebrity status in Mount Pleasant (pop. 26,000). Though he most likely won't receive an invitation to the Heisman Trophy ceremony, that hasn't stopped his school from promoting him. Walk outside of Ford Field in Detroit and you'll see a 30-by-60-foot billboard with LeFevour's likeness and the words RUN. PASS. LEAD.
"Dan has single-handedly raised the expectations of our program," says Jones. "You could say he's our Tim Tebow."
Now on SI.com
Check out Andy Staples's Power Rankings every Tuesday at SI.com/bonus