In the second part of of our recruiting needs breakdown for both divisions of the MAC, we now turn our focus to the MAC West. Is NIU’s roster built to stand a coaching transition or does another team have the roster composition to have staying power as one of the division’s elites? It’s time to scroll down and find out.
Ball State Cardinals’ Needs: OL, DL, DB
Ball State’s recruiting may have not payed dividends on the field yet but Mike Neu and his staff has put together a roster that has a lot of young depth across a number of positions, particularly on offense. However, the Cards’ are awfully thin on the offensive line (12 players projected to be on the 2020 roster), defensive line (ten players) and the defensive backfield (16 projected). Expect a lot of focus on these positions, which have a high amount of attrition, this year in addition identifying other key recruits in the 2020 class.
Central Michigan Chippewas’ Needs: DL
Despite not having much time to put together the 2019 class, Jim McElwain and company shored up a lot of areas of need for the Chips and has given the program an opportunity to develop a competitive football team one or two years down the road. Despite the success, the roster is light on defensive linemen at 10 projected players on the 2020 team (including four juniors). CMU will certainly have space to go after some quality defensive lineman as well as attract other key recruits for its upcoming recruiting class.
Eastern Michigan Eagles’ Needs: TE, OL, DL, LB
Chris Creighton has solidified EMU as a tough out in the league, but he and his staff will have their work cut out for them as they need to identify key linemen and big skill player targets. The Eagles will have two returning tight ends, 14 offensive linemen, 13 defensive linemen, and seven linebackers coming back in 2020. Eastern Michigan will have to be aggressive on the recruiting trail in order to prevent the program from being ravaged by the injury bug.
Northern Illinois Huskies’ Needs: RB, WR, OL, DL, DB
The Huskies are going through a transition in both the coaching ranks as well as the playing field. The attrition that comes with a new coaching hire has depleted the positions of running back (five players projected on the 2020 roster), receiver (ten players), offensive line (11 players), and defensive back (also 11 players). Time will tell if the Thomas Hammock era will end up being a good one for NIU, but they have to get this next recruiting class right to sustain their success into the future.
Toledo Rockets’ Needs: OL, LB, DB
The Rockets continue to be one of the more consistent programs in the MAC and that is reflected in the depth of their roster. UT just needs to bolster its offensive line (14 players projected on the 2020 roster), linebacker (six players), and defensive back (16 players) rooms. Jason Candle and his staff has a chance to assert itself as the dominant program in the MAC West with a strong recruiting class in 2020, so finding key targets in these positions will be especially crucial this year.
Western Michigan Broncos’ Needs: OL
Injuries got the best of the Broncos in 2018, but Tim Lester and his staff has done an outstanding job of putting together a deep roster. The only areas that WMU needs to focus on are offensive line and defensive backs, as there are 14 projected players for the 2020 roster. WMU will probably fill this need early on in the recruiting process, which gives them ample opportunity to pick up some key targets for the 2020 class.