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2015 MAC Crootin' Football Draft: Round 1

Four quarterbacks were taken in the first round, which could be good foreshadowing for some MAC offenses.

Student Sports

Welcome one and all to the very first MAC Crootin' Football Draft. We've introduced everything yesterday to say what we're doing, and we're finally ready to present our picks to you round by round, day by day.

So without further ado, the Eagles are on the clock to begin the first round of the draft. Let the role playing commence!


POS- Name (MAC school signed with). Hometown (Previous school). 247Sports: avg score (composite)

1. Eastern Michigan Eagles

CB- Justin Tranquill (WMU signee). Fort Wayne, IN (Carroll HS). 247Sports: 87 (0.8705)

The defense needs fixing. And to my understanding, you're not going to win the MAC with a loogy-at-best pass defense. I knew I could get the best defensive back necessary, so this was a no-brainer for me. I expect Jason Beck to impress in this upcoming sophomore season and there are plenty of defensive backs to pick from in this Draft.

Tranquill is a 3 or 4-star recruit depending who you ask, chose WMU over Cincinnati, Purdue and some MAC schools including EMU. Illinois pulled their offer once he tore his ACL, but he was two and a half months ahead of schedule when we talked to him back in October. He's got the speed, he's got the strength, raw toughness, and he's somebody that would make an instant impact on any MAC roster. -Alex Alvarado

Here's Tranquill's highlight tape courtesy of Hudl:

2. Kent State Golden Flashes

S- Kendrell McFadden (Miami signee). Hollywood, FL (Miramar HS). 247Sports: 85 (0.8914)

My plan for the 1st round was to take the best player available in my opinion. At #2 overall, I zoned in on 2 players, Justin Tranquill and Kendrell McFadden. EMU made my decision a lot easier when he took Tranquill with the 1st overall pick. That left Kendrell McFadden as the best player available by a long shot. McFadden was considered one of the top recruits who did not sign on NSD so that helped make my decision a little easier. Overall, McFadden would significantly help the Golden Flashes in the secondary and immediately be in the mix for a starting role. -Mike Karpinski

3. Miami RedHawks

ATH- Brandon Childress (CMU signee). Baldwin, MI (Baldwin Senior). 247Sports: 85 (0.8500)

My strategy was to hope that Kendrell McFadden dropped down to the 3 spot and pick him up as a replacement for Quentin Rollins, but with Kent State picking him up, I decided to take a player with versatility and the potential for development under the right coach.

Thus, I selected Brandon Childress, a quarterback from Baldwin HS. A two-sport athlete, Childress surprised a lot of pundits when he selected CMU, as CMU wasn't even on the radar for his services. Penn State, Indiana, and Rhode Island all offered to Childress in football, while West Virginia expressed interest but no scholarship. Childress will be playing wide receiver for the Chippewas, but I feel there is a lot of potential for Childress at either QB, WR, or S. I personally would start him at QB because he lit up defenses in high school with a cannon of an arm and instinctual presence that isn't coachable; he reminds me of a tall, skinny Russel Wilson. Of course, he could do just as well at receiver or safety with a redshirt year and some coaching. The kid is a baller with a lot of potential, and I just couldn't let him get away, even if some people see this pick as a potential reach. -James Jimenez

4. UMass Minutemen

DB- Eilar Hardy (BGSU signee). Pickerington, OH (Notre Dame). 247Sports: 93 (0.9142)

UMass is all in for the 2015 season (with Blake Frohnapfel, Tajae Sharpe, plus many more seniors) and that is exactly the reasoning behind this pick. 2015 will be Hardy's only year of eligibility but in a draft of this kind you have to take the best player available. Hardy will bring with him the experience of playing for a national power and will help to shore up a bad to middling secondary for UMass. Anytime you can get a DB of his caliber you have to take him. -Max Moore

5. Akron Zips

S- Deontai Williams (Ohio signee). Jacksonville, FL (Trinity Christian Academy). 247Sports: 87 (0.866)

The first pick for Akron's 2015 Draft Class is Deontai Williams. Williams is an extremely explosive athlete from Jacksonville, and someone that will thrive in Akron's new revamped secondary. I feel that the front 7 can compete with anyone, but the secondary really needs some work. Williams is the kind of safety that you want on your team. -Russ Johnson

Deontai Williams signed with the Ohio Bobcats, but not before flipping his commitment from the Georgia Bulldogs. Check out his highlights courtesy of Hudl:

6. Buffalo Bulls

DT- Kwanii Figueroa (EMU signee). Brooklyn, NY (Paramus Catholic HS). 247Sports: 83 (0.8100)

With Buffalo's first pick I grabbed DT Kwanii Figueroa, who in real life is headed to Ypsilanti. Truth be told there are three of four pieces from the real-life UB recruiting class that I think are great fits for Buffalo and don't want to lose, but I have to take the chance.

Going unit-by-unit the interior defensive line is the biggest area of need for the Bulls, who lose Kristjan Sokoli and Tedroy Lynch from last season and are switching to a one-gap system under the new staff. In real life, Coach Leipold brought in plenty of reinforcements, but none attracted the same attention from so many schools as Figueroa, who had offers from Georgia Tech and Nevada. -Matt Gritzmacher

7. Ball State Cardinals

S- Juantez McRae (Kent St. signee). Baltimore, MD (Franklin HS). 247Sports: 86 (0.8570)

With both of the four-star defensive backs taken, we needed to go to to a three-star to help the secondary survive the loss of Patterson. I also think he'd be able to play with big guys from the start considering that he comes from the metro area of a large city in Baltimore and he helped lead his defense to two straight state titles. His talent should blossom from the start. -Sam Barloga

To read more on McRae, click here. And here's one of his highlight tapes courtesy of Hudl:

8. Ohio Bobcats

QB- James Morgan (BGSU signee). Green Bay, WI (Ashwaubenon HS). 247Sports: 92 (0.8741)

No offense to Ohio's long line of quarterbacks past and present, but Ohio's quarterbacks have always kind of sucked. Last year, the first year post-Tettleton showed just what life for Ohio's QB's has always been. With Morgan, Ohio now has as close to a can't miss prospect at QB as you can get in the MAC. He's got good size, plus accuracy, and the ability to run an up-tempo, spread offense. -Sam Smucker

9. Central Michigan Chippewas

QB- Billy Bahl (Miami signee). Woodstock, IL (Marian Central Catholic HS). 247Sports: 84 (0.8470)

Bahl is arguably the best pro-style QB recruit in the MAC this year, and he had offers from several major programs. He has a high powered arm and a frame that suggests success at the college level. At CMU, he becomes the heir apparent to Cooper Rush, but with Rush only a junior Bahl gets to redshirt his first year and has plenty of time to develop under the tutelage of Morris Watts. After Rush graduates, Bahl will be ready to run Coach Bonamego's offense. -Max Lowe

10. Western Michigan Broncos

WR- Kadeem Goulbourne (WMU signee). Fort Lauderdale, FL (Cypress HS). 247Sports: 82 (0.8302)

Pulling double duty for the draft, I have different aims for these two teams without screwing each other over. I knew that there would be some talented guys go in these first few rounds, but there's also an abundance of guys in all of these signing classes that I'd be happy to take in the later rounds. With this pick, I wanted somebody that could play all 12 games (starts are bonuses, but not necessary as a freshman) and somebody that PJ Fleck could turn into a pro.

Goulbourne was a part of WMU's real life signing class, and I think it was a fantastic addition. He had 21 offers, including Ole MIss, Missouri, Indiana, Syracuse and Marshall. At 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds, he's the perfect size to grow into a threatening X or Z receiver. Corey Davis damn well could reach the NFL and Goulbourne is a much better prospect than what Davis was coming out of high school. The sky is the limit for this guy and is exactly what WMU could use to be 'elite.' -Alex Alvarado

11. Toledo Rockets

QB- Tyree Jackson (Buffalo signee). Muskegon, MI (Mona Shores HS). 247Sports: 83 (0.8248)

While the Rockets do have many other pressing needs to get to, Jackson's value kept him at the top of draft board. His rare combination of arm strength and athleticism is intriguing. He set several records while in high school and we expect nothing less from him here at Toledo. -Russ Johnson

Here's Jackson's highlight tape courtesy of Hudl:

12. Bowling Green Falcons

WR- Spencer Tears (NIU signee). Oak Lawn, IL (H L Richards HS). 247Sports: 85 (0.8622)

Bowling Green's offense won't play slow like they did last year. They got this #FalconFast stuff figured out this year. This offense is predicated on having playmakers at the skill positions. That's why I was happy to find that wide receiver Spencer Tears was still on the board late in the first round.

Tears was rated a 4/3-star recruit by ESPN/Rivals. He was committed to Nebraska at one time and also had offers from Power 5 conference teams, Indiana, Purdue, Syracuse and Louisville. At 6'2" and 175 pounds he has the size and speed to become an immediate threat on offense. -Randy Carpenter

You seriously, seriously, seriously have to check out Tears' highlight tape courtesy of Hudl:

13. Northern Illinois Huskies

DT- Kevin Thurmon (Ball St. signee). Chicago, IL (Mount Carmel HS). 247Sports: 85 (0.8167)

My goal for NIU in the first few rounds was to concentrate on defense, specifically the defensive line. I was able to do just that in selecting explosive pass-rusher Kevin Thurmon. Thurmon is one of my favorite defensive lineman in this MAC recruiting class as he possesses a high motor and never gives up on plays. Thurmon is an ideal fit for this defense and is someone who could contribute right away for the Huskies. -Mike Karpinski


Not going to lie, I'm thoroughly impressed with this first round. Didn't expect four (!!!) quarterbacks to be off the board this soon. Looks like we'll have some great quarterback duels in MAC play once these guys have groomed into their systems during the 2017 and 2018 seasons. Who knows, maybe they'll even lead to a few huge road wins over the P5 schools (spoiler alert: they will. maybe).

Of the 13 picks, two from BGSU's, Miami's and WMU's signing classes were all selected in the first round of this draft. One signee from each of the the Ball State, Buffalo, CMU, EMU, Kent State, NIU and Ohio signing classes were also selected in this round. The results for the second round of the 2015 MAC Crootin' Football Draft will be released tomorrow morning.

Click on the players' names to bring up their respective highlight tapes courtesy of Hudl and other video providers.

Round x Team 1
Eastern Michigan Helmet
Justin Tranquill
kent state helmet
Kendrell McFadden
miami helmet
Brandon Childress
umass helmet
Eilar Hardy
Akron helmets
Deontai Williams
Buffalo Helmet
Kwanii Figueroa
ball state helmet
Juantez McRae
ohio helmet
James Morgan
CMU helmet
Billy Bahl
WMU helmets
Kadeem Goulbourne
Toledo Helmet
Tyree Jackson
Bowling Green helmet 2011
Spencer Tears
Northern Illinois Helmet
Kevin Thurman