Just over 530 miles from his hometown of New Orleans, Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders cornerback Jeremy Cutrer is poised to fulfill the high expectations put upon him at the college level.
Cutrer, a rising senior cornerback, was a former four-star prospect from Jewel Sumner High School in New Orleans. As part of the 2013 recruiting class, he was ranked as the #16 ranked safety in the nation and the #6 overall player in Louisiana according to Rivals.
Everything was set for Cutrer to become the next great local Louisiana prospect to star at LSU. Instead, life took a much different direction. Rather than heading to Baton Rouge to play for Les Miles and LSU, the highly-rated prospect instead was forced to go the JUCO route and enroll at Mississippi Gulf Coast for head coach Chad Huff.
After a freshman season that saw him get action on the offensive side of the ball, he headed back to his comfort zone on defense. Cutrer's sophomore season saw him star in the secondary and cash in on a bit of the promise that saw him ranked as one of the nation's best safeties coming out of college. The 6-2 defender was all over the field with 44 tackles, three for loss, one sack, an interception, and nine pass break ups in 2014.
His excellent sophomore season earned him a four-star rating from 247sports and a three-star composite ranking. Cutrer had his sights on returning to Louisiana and playing for the Tigers, even enrolling with the program. Again, life had a different direction for the star defensive back as he was unable to attend the SEC program.
Where one door closes, another door opens and that door just happened to be over 500 miles away in Mufreesboro, Tennessee. MTSU head coach Rich Stockstill and company put on the full court press to land a game changing defensive back to complement their duo of talented safeties.
After meeting with the Blue Raiders coaching staff, Cutrer committed to and signed with the Conference USA program. Immediately, Cutrer was the highest ranked recruit from the 2015 class. The only question regarding Cutrer was whether he had time to learn the defensive system and find his role in the defense.
For those that did not pay attention to MTSU last fall, Cutrer quickly found a spot at cornerback. He started the season opener versus Jackson State, earning a tackle, two pass break ups, and a blocked kick in his first game.
From then on, Cutrer continued to improve throughout the 2015 season. He earned an interception versus Alabama, two interceptions versus Charlotte, and the single biggest play of the 2015 season for MTSU versus Marshall.
With the Blue Raiders leading 27-24 in triple overtime versus Marshall, Cutrer broke through and blocked a 39-yard field goal attempt. The block ended the game, a huge win in a breakthrough season for MTSU.
The rising senior ended the season with 31 tackles, a team-high 16 pass break ups, a sack, a fumble recovery, and a blocked kick. All of that was despite missing two complete games due to an ankle injury. Cutrer was voted in as a Second Team All-CUSA selection last fall.
With MTSU losing the entire linebacker corps and star safety Kevin Byard among others, Cutrer goes from a new addition to a senior leader that must be ready to step up on and off the field. He, along with fellow cornerback Michael Minter, will be expected to help lead an MTSU defense that only has to play solid for the Blue Raiders to excel in 2016.
Not only is this season important for the Blue Raiders as a chance to win the conference, a great season for Cutrer could shoot his name up NFL draft boards. He has the size at 6-2, the ability to cover all different types of players, a knack for laying out receivers, a willingness to step up versus the run game, and a habit of making big plays.
With games versus Vanderbilt, Bowling Green, Louisiana Tech, Western Kentucky, Missouri, and Marshall, Cutrer could easily turn himself into an NFL draftee this fall.