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Ball State Cardinals 2015 National Signing Day Recap

Lembo brings in 24 in this year's signing class, including a quarterback that could see some early playing time.

Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

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

Player Hometown (School) Pos Rating HT/WT Highlights
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.

Overall takeaway

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.