Like many other prospects that WMU head coach P.J. Fleck has reeled in over the last 12-18 months, Oak Park linebacker Junior McMullen was a relatively unknown commodity until just a few short months ago.
Fleck and the Broncos were the first to offer McMullen a scholarship back in February. Shortly thereafter, McMullen decided to become the MAC's first commit, giving his verbal pledge to Western Michigan on March 17th.
"I didn't even know they were recruiting me at the time. It happened on Valentine's Day when I was leaving my last class during the last hour of the day," McMullen recalled.
"I was on my way to the gym and my football coach showed me his phone, and it was a text from coach Fleck. He asked my coach if he could send me down to the office right now. That's when they offered me."
McMullen currently plays outside linebacker for Oak Park, but is best suited to play the "mike" linebacker position at the college level due to his size and strength. McMullen has already taken several unofficial visits to Western Michigan already, but has plans to make another trip to Kalamazoo, Michigan this upcoming Saturday, May 3rd.
"Western Michigan has showed a lot of interest in me," McMullen told Hustle Belt. "When I went up there and met the players and the coaching staff, and saw the facilities and the campus ... and then when I saw them practice for the first time, that was when I was sold. Coach Fleck runs a real nice practice.
"Coach Fleck isn't the kind of coach that you get every day. He's a really special guy to me," said McMullen. "I just like his personality, I like his style, his energy, and he's real straight forward. He's a real good guy. I've really grown to like Coach Fleck a lot."
"From what I see, Coach Fleck is changing WMU. I really feel like that there's going to be a big turnaround there. I don't think it's going to be the same at Western Michigan."
McMullen's recruitment has exploded in recent weeks, after earning Linebacker MVP at the Chicago NFTC two weekends ago. As a result of his performance, McMullen says he's been contacted by Cincinnati, Michigan, Michigan State, and Minnesota recently.
McMullen currently holds offers from Central Michigan, Miami (OH), Toledo, and is also garnering interest from the likes of Indiana, Northern Illinois, and Syracuse. McMullen says he believes he's close to an offer from Cincinnati and Michigan State in particular.
In addition to hearing from several other schools, McMullen also has high school teammate and CMU verbal commit Shahid Bellamy in his ear. The two have already developed a bit of a friendly rivalry in the hallways of Oak Park High School.
"Shahid and I are really close. He's my close, close friend. We joke about it at school a lot. Shahid and I go back and forth, but we're just enjoying the moment and taking everything in one day at a time."
"[Bellamy] really wants me to come to CMU with him, and I'm trying to push for him to get a WMU offer. I keep telling him that if he comes to Western Michigan and meets the coaches and takes in the experience, he'll fall in love with it."
"I do want to play with my teammate, but then again I'm not playing anywhere where I don't feel comfortable. At Central Michigan, I don't feel comfortable. I want to play where I feel comfortable. Western Michigan is a place where I feel very comfortable."
Despite Bellamy's playful badgering, recent offers, and increasing interest, McMullen says he remains firmly committed to the Broncos.
"I've been telling coaches that I won't be able to [visit] because I am committed. If they want to see me, they'll have to come to my school and visit me in person."
McMullen says he plans to participate in the Sound Mind Sound Body Camp in Detroit on June 12th-13th, and the WMU One Day Camp at Oak Park High School on June 20th. Besides that, he does not currently have any other visit plans at the moment.
"I'm not planning on taking any official visits during the summer because I'm going to be focused on our season opener on August 29th against Cass Tech," said McMullen.
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