By NATE SCHNEIDER
The Morning Sun
There was nothing disgruntled about the way Jeremy Gainer left Michigan State.
It was simply about opportunity or lack thereof.
Gainer, a 6-foot-2 and 235-pound defensive end, had a sitdown
meeting with Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio following spring ball and
the two talked about where the senior stood as far as the depth chart
was concerned and his potential playing time during the 2013 season.
Dantonio was honest and forthright, according to Gainer.
“We sat down and he explained what my situation was on the depth
chart and I basically told him that I wanted the opportunity to play,”
Gainer said. “We saw eye-to-eye and he understood where I was coming
from with my decision to transfer after spring ball.”
Gainer already had a connection with Central Michigan head coach
Dan Enos, who had recruited Gainer out of Livonia Clarenceville High
School back when Enos was an assistant with the Spartans.
So it was a no-brainer for Gainer to make the trek to Mt. Pleasant and play his senior season for the Chippewas in 2013.
“I was able to get ‘Coach D’ to contact Coach Enos and they talked
amongst each other,” Gainer said. “It just worked out perfectly.”
Since Gainer graduated from Michigan State while still having a hear of football eligibility, he is able to play immediately.
Gainer’s statistics with the Spartans do not necessarily do him
justice as he was stuck behind a wealth of talent, but when he arrived
at Michigan State in 2009 he was ranked as the No. 15 outside linebacker
recruit in the nation by Rivals. com before eventually sliding to
defensive end last year.
He redshirted his first year at MSU, then made one appearance in 2010
before playing in all 14 games as a sophomore as he recorded 11 tackles
with two forced fumbles. Gainer also was named Academic All-Big Ten.
Last year, Gainer appeared in all 13 contests with action coming
mostly on special teams. He once again was named Academic All-Big Ten.
The addition of Gainer to the CMU roster adds a pass-rushing threat
that was desperately needed as it was one of the primary areas of
concern in 2012, especially over the first two-thirds of the season.
“He’s a very powerful guy,” Enos said of Gainer. “He’s a 6-foot-2
guy, but he has extremely long arms for a guy his size. He has a great
first step and explosive. He plays hard and is a very instinctive, smart
player. I think he is going to be a huge benefit for us this year.”
Gainer had similar thoughts when asked about what his best qualities are as a defensive end.
“I see myself as someone who is aggressive off the edge,” said
Gainer. “Always get a good pass rush, because I understand that is
something we need to do. Collapse the pocket, get some sacks, some
turnovers on the quarterback, that kind of thing. I see myself as
someone that can step in and make that happen.”
One might think that making a transition from one school to another
after spending four years at the previous institution might be
difficult, but for Gainer it seems to be going seamlessly.
“It’s been a quick transition, just because I already knew some of
the coaching staff,” Gainer said. “Coach (George) Ricumstrict, my
position coach, he recruited me to go to Indiana. So I already had that
connection as well. It was basically just a great situation. The guys
here accepted me right off the bat. Knowing that I was a guy coming in
from another school, they were very welcoming and they all just said
that at the end of the day we’re trying to win a MAC championship.”
Coming from the Big Ten Conference, Gainer has clearly gone up
against some top FBS competition in practice and games over the past few
years. But he has the utmost praise for the Central Michigan offensive
line, specifically mentioning 6-foot-8 and 305-pound senior left tackle
Jake Olson who he has gone up against many times during camp.
“Jake is a huge guy,” said Gainer. “People ask me all the time, ‘Do
you think Jake could have played in the Big Ten?’ I always say, ‘Oh
yeah.’ This guy is strong. I actually came up against him one time in
practice and he hit me back a little bit. I told him I was never giving
him my chest again. But he is a really good tackle. He’s a really big
part of this team.”
Gainer is listed alongside sophomore Blake Serpa as a possible
starter at left end, while senior Kenny McClendon along with senior Alex
Smith and sophomore Louis Palmer will rotate in and out on the other
side. True freshman Joe Ostman, who has had a very impressive camp,
could also factor in at defensive end.
NOTES: The starting defensive backs for CMU are junior Jason Wilson
and sophomore Brandon Greer at cornerback, while the safeties are senior
Avery Cunningham along with junior Jarret Chapman and sophomore Kavon
Frazier. Senior Shamari Benton returns as the starting MIKE linebacker,
while junior Justin Cherocci is once again the starting SAM linebacker
in the 4-2-5 defensive setup for the Chippewas.