For some people, this past Wednesday may have been an uneventful one; however, anyone who remotely follows recruiting understands that National Signing Day is a monumental day for every party involved. The Hustle Belt Recruiting team wants to congratulate every player that signed somewhere on Wednesday and wishes them all the best of luck.
Disclaimer: Top to bottom, MAC schools did an incredible job on the recruiting trail this year. The difference between some of these spots is minimal and each school landed impact players. Keep that in mind while reading.
1. Western Michigan | LM: 1 | Signees: 31
P.J. Fleck and his staff have done it again. Fleck and Miami's Chuck Martin tied for a conference leading 13 3 star prospects according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. What Fleck has been able to accomplish on the recruiting trail is nothing short of exceptional. Fleck's 2015 haul looks even better than his record-setting 2014 class. The depth of this class is what makes it so impressive, guys like Obbie Jackson and Justin Spencer are two extremely talented defensive backs who will turn some heads when they arrive in Kalamazoo.
2. Miami | LM: 4 | Signees: 26
In the days leading up to Signing Day, Miami bolstered its class with the commitment of 3 star linebacker Junior McMullen. One-time Cincinnati commit, 3-star WR James Gardner is a steal for the RedHawks as he will likely see the field very early in his career. At the very least, QB Billy Bahl be competitive for the starting job.
Bahl and Gardner will be a scary combo in a few years once they fully adjust to the speed of the college game. Miami received a nice Signing Day surprise when TE Alexx Zielinski flipped from CMU and signed with the RedHawks. This influx of talent is exactly what coach Martin and his program needs.
3. Toledo | LM: 4 | Signees: 21
Toledo's class received a huge boost on Signing Day when defensive back Aaron Covington chose the Rockets over an impressive list of reported offers. Linebacker Chris Green is the crowned jewel of this class and his early enrollment gives him a higher likelihood to see the field as a freshman. Transfers OL Ruben Carter and S Rolan Milligan both have one year of eligibility left and are eligible immediately. Expect both to make a huge impact and bring some needed experience to the Rocktets.
4. NIU | LM: 2 | Signees 30
Despite losing three commits in the last month before NSD, the Huskies signed another strong class this year. At 5-foot-8, DB Jeff Hill Jr. didn't get a lot of offers due to his height but he's extremely athletic and excels in man coverage. LB Josh Corcoran is a steal for the Huskies as he is great at exploding his gaps and getting into the backfield. He also has the size to play defensive end if needed. WR Spencer Tears has an opportunity at contributing early in his career, the one-time Nebraska commit will be a great red-zone weapon for Drew Hare next year. As I mentioned in my recap, this is another well-rounded class for Rod Carey and his staff.
5. Ohio | LM: 8 | Signees: 23
The Bobcats made the biggest splash on Signing Day in landing hard hitting safety Deontai Williams. Williams was at one time committed to Georgia and flipped his commitment to the Bobcats on Signing Day. The Athens Messenger Ohio beat writer Jason Arkley had an interesting tidbit on Williams signing with Ohio.
Back to Williams...never took official visit to Ohio. Picked Ohio based on the word of his friend Javon Hagan.— Jason Arkley (@JasonAmessenger) February 4, 2015
Williams is clearly a great talent as the ESPN recruiting site rates his a 4-star recruit and 231st recruit in the country, yet it's a bit unusual that a player signs with a school despite not taking an official visit. Williams is not the only talented player that the Bobcats signed though as 3-star DB Jeff Christian Jr. could form a formidable duo with Williams at sometime in the near future. The Bobcats really loaded up on secondary players in this class and it should pay dividends soon. LB Keith Key is an under-the-radar guy who could be the surprise of this recruiting class.
6. Bowling Green | LM: 7 | Signees: 24
Dino Babers signed his first full class this year and, not surprisingly, he was able to land an extremely talented quarterback. 4-star QB James Morgan will be a great fit in Babers' offense and in a few years could be leading the Falcons to a MAC Championship.
The Falcons also were able to land Notre Dame transfer, safety Eliar Hardy. Hardy will bring experience to the secondary and should be a great fit at Bowling Green. RB Matt Domer is an absolute steal for Bowling Green and a backfield tandem of Morgan and Domer would be a scary site for MAC opponents.
7. UMass | LM: 12 | Signees: 28
What a difference a month makes.
The Minutemen finished out the recruiting cycle extremely strong highlighted by the signing of OL Reche Thomas. Thomas reported offers from P5 schools such as Illinois and Purdue. At 6-foot-4 328 pounds, Thomas is capable of seeing the field early in his career at UMass. Sekai Lindsey is an explosive running back who is always a threat to score when he gets the ball. In a few years, we may talk about this recruiting class as the best recruiting class in the history of UMass football.
8. EMU | LM: 3 | Signees: 25
Chris Creighton did an admirable job in his first full recruiting class. The Eagles recruited the Sunshine State extremely well thanks to wide receivers coach Herb Haygood who recruits that area. WR Kezio Snelling is a great fit in Ypsilanti. Defensive tackles Nick Dillon and Kwanii Figueroa will be forces in the trenches for years to come.
Creighton seems to have the Eagles on the right track, hopefully that translates into wins on the field when the season comes around.
9. Kent State | LM: 10 | Signees: 23
I really like Kent State's recruiting class this year. DE Anthony Johnson is already enrolled and is a guy who can help the Golden Flashes right away. Pairing Johnson and 3-star DE Theodore Eboigbe immediately bolsters a defensive line that struggled last season.
Running backs Myles Washington and P.J. Simmons could form a nice combo in the backfield for the Golden Flashes. Quarterback Mylik Mitchell is a big-armed quarterback with high potential and could compete for the starting job in a few years. Antwan Dixon has drawn comparisons to Dri Archer and actually models his style after Dri. The biggest commitment of the class was 3-star S Juantez McRae who chose Kent State over offers from multiple P5 schools.
10. Ball State | LM: 9 | Signees: 24
Pete Lembo signed another stellar class on Wednesday.
This class is highlighted by two Illinois products, DB Armani McNulty and DT Kevin Thurmon. McNulty has the talent to play at a B1G school so for Lembo to sign him is huge for the program. Thurmon fits in that category as well as the 3-star defensive tackle actually reported an offer from Wisconsin. RB James Gilbert reminds me of Western Michigan's Jarvion Franklin and could be a star with the Cardinals.
11. Buffalo | LM: 11 | Signees: 21
Lance Leipold as well as Rob Ianello did a great job at putting together this class with very limited time.
The best friend tandem of WR K.J. Osborn and TE Tyler Mabry could become 3-star QB Tyree Jackson's favorite targets sometime in the near future. Joe Licata is most likely the starting quarterback next year so a red shirt for Jackson is possible, although with a new staff anything is possible. Running back Johnathan Hawkins should have a nice career as a Bull and adds more offensive firepower to this class. On the defensive side of the ball, this class is highlighted by DB Cam Lewis. It will be exciting to see what the new coaching staff is able to put together next year with a full recruiting cycle.
12. CMU | LM: 6 | Signees: 18
Going through Signing Day without a coach made it tough for Central Michigan to add many recruits on Signing Day. It was a little surprising to see most of Central Michigan's recruit stick to their commitment.
This really says volumes about the assistant coaches as well as the loyalty of the recruits that committed to Central Michigan. Wide receiver Damon Terry is one of my favorite players in this class and will see the field early in his career at CMU. Losing Tyrone Miller to Kansas was a brutal blow to this class as Miller was set to sign with the Chippewas. The significant drop in the rankings is not so much what is wrong with the Chippewas class, it just shows how well the rest of the MAC recruited as a whole (and how awful it is to lose your head coach so close to Signing Day).
13. Akron | LM: 13 | Signees: 18
Akron and coach Bowden finished the recruiting season out strong. The Zips recruited the Sunshine State extremely well, signing 11 recruits from Florida.
WR Richie Cooper is a playmaker who I expect to make an impact at Akron. At 6-foot-4, 315 pounds, Montel Jordan is a steal for the Zips and will be a key player on the offensive line for years to come. The loss of 3-star Joe Riggins to Utah State was a huge blow to this class as the hard-hitting linebacker would have competed for playing time immediately.
Overall, Akron has set itself up well for next year and filled some needs with this recruiting class. The Zips are known for a bit of a unique recruiting style, as they focus a lot on transfers and frequent use of greyshirts as a way to improve their team.
How would you rank the MAC's 2015 classes? Do you agree with our No. 1? Let us know below: