Today marks our first monthly edition of MAC ‘Crootin Power Rankings. On the 15th of every month, HustleBelt.com will rank each MAC school according to their success -- or lack thereof -- in the form of verbal commitments during the 2015 recruiting cycle (see what we did there?).
Hopefully you've noticed our recent efforts to begin more closely monitoring verbal pledges throughout the Mid-American Conference. You can find all of our online football recruiting coverage here, and even follow our very own Twitter account here, in order to keep tabs on how each MAC team is doing on the recruiting trail.
In order to avoid personal biases, we've created a panel of six writers who will be providing most of the HustleBelt.com recruiting coverage, and gave everyone an equal vote. It's important to note that we've ranked teams based on quality over quantity.
With more than 8 months to go (264 days to be exact) left in the 2015 recruiting calendar, there's still a long way to go until National Signing Day on Wednesday, February 4th. But let's see where teams stack up early, as spring and summer camp season begins.
Without further ado, here are the May Power Rankings:
|No. 1: Western Michigan||LW: N/A||Commits: 11|
|Well, P.J. Fleck and the Western Michigan Broncos are at it once again in 2015. After a historic signing class this past February, Fleck is still riding the wave of momentum on the recruiting trail with a class that includes 7 three-star players out of 11 total verbal commits. The Broncos were a unanimous top pick amongst our voting panel.
Marquee verbals: (LB) Junior McMullen, (S) Jamal Brown, (TE) Caleb Reams, (OL) John Keenoy, (CB) Richie Kittles, (QB) Jon Wassink, and (RB) James Gilbert.
|No. 2: Toledo||LW: N/A||Commits: 7|
|Matt Campbell and staff have done a nice job beefing up their offensive line of the future early on, while also getting their hopeful quarterback of the future behind them in Mitchell Guadagni. The smallest of the four linemen commits is 6-foot-5, 260 lbs. Look for the Rockets to load up on offense in this class.
Marquee verbals: (LB) Tyler Taafe, (OL) Chandler Cotterman, and (QB) Mitchell Guadagni
|No. 3: Miami (OH)||LW: N/A||Commits: 4|
|The old saying, "slow and steady wins the race" looks to be the theme of the Chuck Martin era, at least for recruiting purposes. Miami’s four commits may not seem like much, but East Grand Rapids native Carter Masek was a big get, as well as three massive O-line commits. There are signs of good things to come for what was once a proud program in Oxford. Martin and staff seem to be getting it done early on the recruiting trail.
Marquee verbals: (LB) Carter Masek, (OL) Ian Leever, and (OT) Colton McKivitz
|No. 4: Central Michigan||LW: N/A||Commits: 8|
|Dan Enos always seems to do well in getting early commitments out of the Chips’ home state. This year’s class is already shaping up a bit better than the last couple of recruiting classes, but there’s still some left to be desired in the quality of players CMU could be reeling in. We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that this ranking wasn’t unanimous among our panel of recruiting experts.
Marquee verbals: (DT) Shahid Bellamy and (RB) Romello Ross
|No. 5: Northern Illinois||LW: N/A||Commits: 5|
Northern Illinois continues to recruit fairly well, in terms of getting players that are ideal fits into their system. Perhaps the Huskies are still reaping the benefits of their more recent national exposure, as evidenced by having four verbal commits located outside the Land of Lincoln. Pro-style quarterback Daniel Santacaterina's verbal pledge last night was NIU's first in-state get.
|No. 6: Ball State||LW: N/A||Commits: 3|
|Ball State marks five of six MAC West programs atop our power rankings with three early O-line pledges. There are a lot of unknown’s with this class so far, so for now the Cardinals find themselves here in the middle of the pack kind of by default.
Marquee verbals: (OT) Zac Ricketts
|No. 7: Buffalo||LW: N/A||Commits: 1|
|We haven’t heard much of anything out of the Buffalo Bulls camp, but they’ve gotten one pretty good commitment out of wide receiver Brandon Smiley. Getting an early commitment out of a skill position player is always nice, but the Bulls are lacking a lot of hype on the recruiting trail which is somewhat surprising.
Marquee verbals: (WR) Brandon Smiley
|No. 8: UMass||LW: N/A||Commits: 1|
|UMass had zero total verbal commitments… until MaroonMusket.com kindly informed us earlier today that defensive tackle prospect Diasjon Robinson committed to the Minutemen yesterday. Robinson is a relatively unknown commodity, but could prove to give the UMass program a much needed shot in the arm and help to gain some momentum on the recruiting trail.
Marquee verbals: (DT) Diasjon Robinson
|No. 9: Eastern Michigan||LW: N/A||Commits: 1|
|First year head coach Chris Creighton has been a busy guy on the recruiting trail. We can’t remember the last time EMU was so aggressive with their offers, but it hasn’t quite paid off yet. That being said, the Eagles have good potential to move up in our rankings if they can snag some momentum and get a quality commit or two. Look for EMU to be an increasing factor in MAC recruiting this year.
Marquee verbals: (OL) Rob Pavletich
|No. 10: Ohio||LW: N/A||Commits: 1|
|When a long snapper is your only commit, you’re going to find yourself pretty close to the schools with no verbal commitments. But hey, long snappers count too! The Bobcats need a signature pledge to really get things rolling in Athens. Nothing to see here.
Marquee verbals: (LS) Jake Hale
|No. T-11: Akron||LW: N/A||Commits: 0|
|The Akron Zips have zero total verbal commitments, therefore ultimately landing at the bottom of the barrel tied with Bowling Green and Kent State. It would be unfair for us to rank one higher than the other, so we’ve decided to create a four-way tie for tenth. Who will be the first to break the tie?
Marquee verbals: N/A
|No. T-11: Bowling Green||LW: N/A||Commits: 0|
|First year head coach Dino Babers and the Bowling Green Falcons have zero total verbal commitments, therefore ultimately landing at the bottom of the barrel tied with Akron and Kent State. Look for Babers to recruit players with speed who will compliment his high-tempo spread offense.
Marquee verbals: N/A
|No. T-11: Kent State||LW: N/A||Commits: 0|
|The Kent State Golden Flashes have zero total verbal commitments, therefore ultimately landing at the bottom of the barrel tied with Akron and Bowling Green. Paul Haynes has never had the most aggressive style when recruiting players, so there shouldn't be much cause for concern here for Kent State fans yet.
Marquee verbals: N/A