Over the course of the past few weeks, there has been tons of recruiting news within the Mid-American Conference. Our team here at Hustle Belt is going to bring you up to speed with a team-by-team breakdown of each commit.
We will go in alphabetical order, listing out all the commitments, followed by a write up on the players overall and how they fit into their team’s recruiting class.
Akron has been busy on the recruiting trail lately, especially if you recall their lack of commitments at this time last year. By our count, there have been seven verbal commitments for the class of 2017.
Reggie Corner just may be the most talented defensive player of the bunch. He is the son of former Akron great Reggie Corner. Akron has mostly recruited their home state thus far; however, in years past, they have recruited the Sunshine State rather hard, so look for that trend to hold up as we inch closer to Signing Day.
Kobi Booker is another guy who stands out on this list. Despite playing both defensive end and tight end in high school school, Akron is recruiting Booker to play defensive end. On offense, Jemarulin Suggs could develop into a star. The 5-foot-11 180 pound running back is rather explosive and should compete for playing time early in his collegiate career. He chose the Zips over reported offers from EMU and Toledo.
The crown-jewel of this recruiting class, 3-star TE Peyton Hendershot, recently de-committed, which is a bit of a blow to Ball State. However, this class is still looking strong.
They received a huge boost in landing 3-star quarterback Tyler Vander Waal. Vander Wall and 3-star OL Curtis Blackwell headline this recruiting class which is loaded offensively so far.
Defensively, S Brock Burns is someone who could make an immediate impact in the Cardinal’s secondary. He chose the Cardinals over reported offers from Buffalo and WMU.
Bradley Flott is an intriguing prospect out of Alabama as he is listed as an athlete and is capable of playing both wide receiver and defensive back in Muncie. Flott could struggle in man-to-man coverage at the next level, however he would not have to worry about that to much if he lined up at safety. With his height and natural ball skills, he could develop into a top-notch safety in the MAC.
Bowling Green has focused mostly on offense thus far in the recruiting cycle. Their top six rated recruits according to 247Sports are on the offensive side of the ball, which includes two quarterbacks, two wide receivers, a running back, and a tight end.
RB Andrew Clair was severely under-recruited despite holding an Iowa offer. Clair is a P5 talent and a perfect fit in the Falcons’ high octane offense. Look for him to come out of the slot on occasion as the Bowling Green staff will be looking for ways to incorporate Clair’s versatility in a variety of ways.
Ron Freeman and Wayne Parks are high school teammates and will team up at Bowling Green. They make up 40% of the defensive players in this recruiting class so far. At 270 pounds, best of luck to the MAC offensive lineman who will attempt to impede Freeman’s path to the quarterback once he suits up for the Falcons.
Coach Bonamego got off to a hot start this summer on the recruiting trail.
Johnathan Berghorst chose CMU over a reported offer from Illinois. He will be key for the Chippewas to keep this class together.
3-star ATH Brandon Brown is the wild-card of this class so far as he hails from Canada with an impressive tape. It’s hard to compare the competitive level of Canadian football compares to the US product, but Brown is a player who can potentially translate well and has an extremely high ceiling.
This class is line-heavy, with five offensive linemen committed, highlighted by Erik Ditzhazy and Bill Kudeck.
Shortly after the de-commitment of RB Kaiser Carleton, EMU landed someone to take his spot in RB Brenden Knox. Knox reportedly had a Youngstown State offer.
As a junior he ran for 1,713 yards, tallying 18 touchdowns on 241 carries. The Eagles also added Pedrozo to the class who had a reported offer from Ball State. Pedrozo is rather athletic for a lineman and should provide the Eagles with some much needed depth on the offensive line.
Kent State only has one commitment thus far, but the Golden Flashes found a quality gem in Sam Allan.
Allan lines up under center in high school and loves to put people on their behind. Allan absolutely bulldozes over his opponents and will be a weapon in short yardage, goal-line situation.
In any situation where Kent State might need an extra blocker, Allan should be their guy. He also has the ability to play defensive tackle, although my guess is he would be better served playing center. Either way, Allan looks to be a nice under-the-radar find for coach Haynes and his staff.
Peter Nank committed back in April, and (admittedly) slipped through the cracks of our recruiting coverage.
The three-star lineman lists reported offers from Bowling Green, Illinois State, Northern Iowa and South Dakota. Miami stockpiled talent on the offensive line last year, so it is not surprising to see that Nank and Chris Glaser are the only lineman apart of this class so far.
NIU has quietly assembled one of the top recruiting classes in the MAC to date, but then, they do everything quietly.
As usual, they have recruited the state of Illinois extremely well, with six of their current eleven commits residing in the Land of Lincoln.
Most recently, they landed offensive lineman Calvin Dassow out of Wisconsin. NIU has historically raided Wisconsin to find offensive lineman, most recently Vince Hughes and Nathan Veloz.
When we look back on this 2017 recruiting class, WR Dennis Robinson could turn out to be the best player of this group. At 6-foot-5, he is an ideal red-zone target and should be able to help NIU stretch the field.
Although Robinson will not have the opportunity to play with Drew Hare, 2017 QB commit Rodney Hall will have a big-time receiver to throw to upon their arrival in DeKalb.
On a bit of a side note, he won’t be the only Robinson to play wide receiver for NIU, however as they signed 6-foot-3 Jordan Robinson as apart of their 2016 recruiting class. Both reside in the state of Florida as well.
Ohio really loves their quarterbacks, don’t they?
Both of Ohio’s current commitments bring extremely different skill sets to the table. Gage Moloney is better known for his running abilities, while Drew Keszei is a pocket passer.
With Minnesota transfer QB Conner Krizancic recently retiring from football, it makes sense for the Bobcats to take two quarterbacks in this cycle. It will be interesting to see which one of these talented quarterbacks emerges as a contender for the starting gig once they arrive on campus.
Toledo has been one of the most active programs in the nation on the recruiting trail lately.
The Rockets currently have eight commits that hail from the state of Ohio. One under-the-radar prospect who Hustle Belt is high on would be defensive tackle Devonte Dunn. Dunn is explosive off the block and looks to be a Power 5 conference talent. Look for Toledo to add another linebacker or two within the next few months, as well as bolster their running back depth at some point.
Trent Cloud is a big-time pickup for the Rockets as he will compete for playing time immediately. Nick Kovacs and Cloud could turn into a dynamic duo down the line for Toledo.
The Rockets have also been aggressively canvassing Florida, and picked up two commitments from WR Darius Corbett and DB Bentlee Sanders. They currently team up in high school and plan to do so in college as well. Both report impressive offer sheets:
Sanders: Akron, Arizona, Bowling Green, EMU, Marshall, MTSU, South Alabama, USF, Utah State
Corbett: Arizona, Bowling Green, UConn, EMU, Kent State, MTSU, WKU
This recent surge puts them towards the top of the MAC in recruiting yet again. Time will only tell if their success on the recruiting will eventually lead them to their first MAC Championship since 2004.
Surprise! WMU is at the top of recruiting in the MAC once again.
Certainly anything can happen and it is worth noting that the MAC seems to be recruiting extremely well as a whole. Regardless, a class with 18 three-star recruits will put you up top of the charts with breathing room in a conference such as the MAC.
This class only has two defensive backs so far, with KJ Anderson and AJ Thomas committed to the Broncos. That being said, Anderson and Thomas just might be the biggest talents on the list in this class.
Trevor Campbell and David Redding join a loaded offensive lineman class that contains five total lineman. One of our favorite players out of this group is defensive tackle Chris Elmore who has all the tools to step in and play right away in Kalamazoo.
If I had to guess, there’s going to be two or three de-commitments out of this group and potentially more depending on which P5 programs come calling. That’s how talented this group is. As we have seen, this staff is prepared to fill in any spots that open up in a big way.
One situation worth monitoring is the quarterbacks. It will be interesting to see if the Broncos indeed sign two QB’s once NSD actually rolls around. Reyondous Estes told us when he committed that the opportunity to play quarterback (other schools were recruiting him as an athlete) and early playing time were big factors in his decision. 3-star QB Tanner Morgan committed just a few weeks later, but only time will tell if this alters either quarterback’s college plans.
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