Pete Lembo and his Cardinals are coming off of an inconsistent 2014 season. Finishing second-to-last in the MAC West standings after going 5-7 in conference play, Ball State needs a quick turnaround to get to where they were not too long ago, and this signing class might be able to help themselves out.
Meet the class
|Riley Neal||Yorktown, IN (Yorktown)||QB||3-star||6'5"/200||Yes|
|James Gilbert||Indianapolis, IN (Lawrence Central)||RB||3-star||5'10/190||Yes|
|Abdallah Jaffal||Dearborn, MI (Fordson)||LB||2-star||6'2"/200||Yes|
|Morgan Hagee||Plainfield, IN (Plainfield)||K||2-star||5'10"/150||Yes|
|Rontrell Peyton||Scranton, PA (Lackawanna CC)||S||2-star||5'10"/185||Yes|
|Armani McNulty||Bolingbrook, IL (Bolingbrook)||CB||2-star||5'11"/175||Yes|
|Kevin Thurmon||Chicago, IL (Mount Carmel)||DT||3-star||6'3"/255|
|Anthony Sheko||Chicago, IL (Simeon)||S||2-star||6'3"/190||Yes|
|Grant Williamson||New Carlisle, IN (New Prarie)||OL||2-star||6'3"/250||Yes|
|Kenny Knight||East Saint Louis, IL (East St. Louis)||DT||2-star||6'1"/264||Yes|
|Andrew Poenitsch||Sussex, WI (Hamilton)||OG||2-star||6'4"/285||Yes|
|Clayton Cook||Syracuse, IN (Wawasee)||WR||2-star||6'2"/185||Yes|
|Blake Yager||Fort Wayne, IN (Carroll)||OT||2-star||6'5"/270||Yes|
|Malik Dunner||Carpentersville, IL (Dundee-crown)||ATH||2-star||5'11"/188||Yes|
|Sean Hammonds||Louisville, KY (Ballard)||DE||2-star||6'3"/215||Yes|
|John Whitman||Scranton, PA (Lackawanna CC)||DT||2-star||6'2"/280||Yes|
|Marc Walton||Mentor, OH (Mentor)||DB||2-star||5'10"/175||Yes|
|Danny Pinter||South Bend, IN (Adams)||TE||2-star||6'5"/239||Yes|
|Corey Hall||Stockbridge, GA (Stockbridge)||CB||2-star||5'10"/180||Yes|
|Meshech Floyd||Altamonte Springs, FL (Lyman)||DB||NR||6'1"/185||Yes|
|Akeem Hutchinson||Lauderdale Lakes, FL (Stranahan)||DL||NR||6'2"/247||Yes|
|Zac Ricketts||Waukesha, WI (Sussex Hamilton)||OL||2-star||6'3"/301||Yes|
|Kyle Schrank||Fishers, IN (Hamilton Southeastern)||TE||2-star||6'2"/229||Yes|
|Romero Wade||Altamonte Springs, FL (Lyman)||DB||NR||5'11"/212||Yes|
Can't not talk about the quarterback. Riley Neal committed to the program back in late June even after drawing interest from Michigan, Miami (FL) and Indiana. A 3-star, pro-style quarterback with good size to build on (6-foot-5, 200 pounds), Neal could end up seeing playing time early, possibly within his first two seasons. He and 3-star running back prospect James Gilbert steal the spotlight in this class. Gilbert, who also committed in late June, could make an immediate impact on this team.
On the offensive line, Zac Ricketts really stands out, especially for being listed as a 300-pound lineman right out of high school. Databases don't show Ricketts as a highly-recruited player, but he was still considered a top-30 prospect from the state of Indiana, and it's not like he doesn't have the size to build on.
The Cardinals were a middle-of-the-road defense last year in comparison to other MAC schools. Out of Ball State's 24 signees, 11 are defensive players.
3-star Kevin Thurmon was a later commit to this class, but he's a very talented lineman that could earn some playing time as true freshman in 2015. Thurmon also had offers from Wisconsin, Purdue, Cincinnati and a pair of MAC schools.
Thurmon and defensive back Armani McNulty highlight the defensive players in this class. McNulty didn't have the P5-school offers like Thurmon, but held offers from three other MAC schools. When we talked to him back in July, McNulty said that he thinks of Ball State, he instantly thinks of winning. Another DB that could see some playing time in 2015 is JUCO transfer Corey Hall, who recorded 69 tackles and a pair of interceptions for Eastern Arizona in the past two seasons.
The only three players in this class that don't have a composite ranking on 247sports are defensive backs Meshech Floyd and Romero Wade and defensive lineman Akeem Hutchinson.
Lembo did get a lot of quality players in his 24-man class. It might not have been the most impressive classes in recent memory for the Cardinals, but adding the right players that could make a positive, instant impact on the team in 2015 could be the difference from them being 5-7 and going to a bowl game.