A redshirt freshman running back from Central Michigan led the nation in rushing yards, but he has gone unnoticed statewide, until now.

With all the in state bickering over the Heisman Trophy nominees and whether or not Aidan Hutchinson of Michigan deserved the nod over Michigan State's Kenneth Walker, one athlete has been ignored despite his monumental feat of rushing for more yards this season than ANY other player in the nation.

Lew Nichols III rushed for 1710 yards and put up over 2000 all-purpose yards in 2021. Nichols was named the Mid American Conference (MAC) Offensive Player of the Year, after being named Freshman of the Year in the CoVid shortened 2020 season.

Nichols is the sixth Chippewa to be named the MAC Offensive Player of the Year and the first since Dan LeFevour in 2009.

But the discussion has been more about the Power Five conference athletes, and the officials at Central thought that was unfair, so to honor Nichols' achievements, CMU is putting up billboards throughout the State of Michigan. The digital billboards should be popping up soon in Grand Rapids, Detroit, Lansing and in the school's home town of Mount Pleasant.

Nichols head coach at CMU, Jim McIlwain, says the MAC schools in Michigan get short shrift because of all of the attention gathered by the Big Ten, which he says is a shame.

"I'll tell you what, this conference, I think, is a little underappreciated, until we get to MACtion (week night games broadcast on ESPN)," McElwain told the Detroit News, "Then, people kind of see it's pretty good. We've got good players."

Central Michigan has more than its fair share, particularly on offense, where the Chippewas ranked 19th in the nation in total yards (450.7), one spot behind Michigan and four behind Western Michigan.

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