Now that that season has come to a close and Bowl season is upon us, the Belt takes a look at the recruiting progress in the MAC and which teams have gotten off to great starts in building strong classes for 2014.
Let me preface by saying that the recruiting season is still very young and that teams welcoming new head coaches (BGSU, EMU, Miami) will now begin to focus on building strong recruiting classes for 2014. That being said, the verbal commitment distribution has been very balanced throughout the MAC from top to bottom with the exception of Eastern Michigan and Miami (OH) who have struggled with early recruiting efforts.
|No. of Verbal Commitments
The recruiting success in the MAC East has been surprisingly balanced with 5 of the 7 teams receiving at least 10 commitments. The most pleasant surprise has been the recruiting success of Charley Molnar. Umass has arguably the top recruiting class (to date) in the MAC East with 17 commitments, 6 of them being nationally ranked. Molnar has addressed the lack of playmakers on this team bringing in J.T. Blyden (West Grove, PA) ranked in the top 150 RB recruits by both ESPN and 247 Sports and Randall West (Lawrenceville, NJ), the #80 ranked QB recruit in the country.
Although both BGSU and Buffalo have successful classes in terms of quantity, there are only 3 ranked recruits combined from either class. BGSU brings in another highly touted QB in 3-star Cody Callaway (Elyria, OH). Buffalo, meanwhile has addressed the departure of Future NFL LB, Khalil Mack by picking up (2) 3-star Linebackers from Cass Tech, MI in Will White and Gary Hosey. Hosey, Originally committed to Eastern Michigan, decommitted last month amongst all the turmoil surrounding the EMU program.
Ohio will be bringing perhaps the best overall athlete in the 2014 MAC recruiting class in RB/WR Robbie Walker (Washington, D.C.). Walker selected Ohio University over both Ball State and Wake Forest and will look to make an immediate impact for the Bobcats.
Both Akron and Kent State highlight their respective 2014 recruiting classes with big time pocket passing QBs. Chandler Kincade (Beaver Falls, PA) committed to the Zips back in June and is rated amongst the top 25 QB recruits in the country. Meanwhile, Kent has picked up a solid 3-star recruit in QB George Bollas (Aurora, OH). Although Miami (OH) has yet to make a big splash in the 2014 class, it has received a commitment from the best RB recruit in the MAC, Paul Moses (Toledo, OH).
|No. of Verbal Commitments
Let's just start by saying that P.J. Fleck is the pride of recruiting in the MAC. Fleck brings in a 2014 class that right now is ranked 43rd in the nation. This, coupled with the commitments of standout WR Lonnie Johnson (Gary, IN) who is ranked as a top 50 WR recruit as well as Chance Stewart, the 6'5" 210lb QB from Strugis, MI who is ranked in the top 20 QB recruits of 2014. Toledo finds their 2014 class loaded with defensive commitments but can ultimately be highlighted by 2 top QB commitments in Travis Smith (Ithaca, MI) and Mike Berry (Beavercreek, OH), both of which are 3-star recruits.
With the recent success of NIU in the MAC, the 2014 class appears rather average. That being said, NIU did address the lack of depth in the receiving core receiving three 3-star commits at the WR position. Interestingly enough, all three of these recruits are from the state of Florida. Ball State has perhaps the most underrated 2014 class in the MAC. I say this because Ball State has received a commitment at every position other than DE. Ball State's class is highlighted by Matthew Johnson, a 3-star dual threat QB recruit from Lafayette, IN.
Both Central and Eastern Michigan have collected a modest 2014 recruiting class to date. Between the two teams, there is only (1) nationally ranked recruit (CMU commit Zachary Oakley; #49QB). Look for CMU's class to bolster up following bowl season. New EMU head coach Chris Creighton will have some work to do as the 2014 class for the Eagles ranks in the bottom 10 in the nation.