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2015 MAC Crootin' Football Draft: Round 7

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WMU with a trio of prospects taken, Ohio's class is starting to make some noise too.

We're just about halfway done with this almost!

After seeing offense be a thing in the last couple of rounds, this one might be a tad different. This is the time where everybody starts looking at the names left and we all begin to play musical chairs with each other. Actually, that sounds like fun. Let's do that instead.

It's been one week since you looked at me
Cocked your head to the side
and said I'm angry
Five days since you laughed at me saying
Get that together come back and see me
Three days since the living room,
I realized it's all my fault, but couldn't tell you
Yesterday you'd forgiven me
But it'll still be two days till I say I'm sorry


Hold it now and watch the hoodwink
As I make you stop, think
You'll think you're looking at Aquaman
I summon fish to th-

/dives for chair

79. Eastern Michigan Eagles

ATH- Alex Grace (WMU signee). Saginaw, MI (Swan Valley). 247Sports: 78 (0.8170)

The running back position is extremely deep this year, and with both James Gilbert and Breck Turner off the board, I have to get the one that I want most early. Waiting until the next round just couldn't be an option here, so I made sure I got the in-state kid. But I didn't grab Alex Grace just for the sake of grabbing a kid from Michigan, but I thoroughly believe that Grace is the most under-the-radar backs in 2015. Could play at either running back or linebacker, but I'm convinced Grace will be an A1 running back in the MAC if that's the position he ends up playing.

Thankfully with this pick, I know that Darius Jackson, Shaq Vann, Ian Erickson and Juwan Lewis should all be seeing playing time and would much rather have Grace be red-shirted his first year on campus. -Alex Alvarado

We talked to Grace back in June about his commitment to WMU. Here are his running back highlights courtesy of Hudl:

80. Kent State Golden Flashes

DE- Donte Horton (WMU signee). West Chester, OH (Lakota West). 247Sports: 82 (0.8073)

A big goal of mine for this draft was to significantly improve the future of the Kent State defense. Pairing Eric Assoua (my 4th round pick) with Donte Horton on the defensive line will pay huge dividends down the line. Both Assoua and Horton are high upside guys that have extremely bright futures. -Mike Karpinski

81. Miami RedHawks

ATH- Romello Ross (CMU signee). Detroit, MI (Western International). 247Sports 74 (0.8039)

Let's cut to he quick on this one, because b the time I get through an introductory paragraph, Romello Ross will have already shot the gap. This Western International High School product and CMU commit is a speedster with agile feet and great field vision, using an excellent first step and strong legs to create separation between himself and the defense. Ross had 30 total TD's and ~1800 total yards in his senior season,showing that he has great balance as a back. Ross was a Fab 50 prospect for the state of Michigan, so you know you're getting a pedigree product in a back lie him. I would use him as a change of ace back until he could become a little more adept at bruising the defensive line north-south. His elusiveness will get him far, though. -James Jimenez

DID YOU KNOW: Romello Ross was the first commit to the 2015 class for CMU? Read more here.

82. UMass Minutemen

DE- Jordon Hardwick (Miami signee). St. Louis, MO (St. John Vianney). 247Sports: 83 (0.8026)

The defense was a serious issue last year with UMass and that's why five of the last seven picks have been on the defensive side of the ball. Depending on how much time Hardwick spends in the weight between now and summer ball will determine if he seems some playing time or is redshirted. At 230 pounds he could gain about 15 pounds or so.

Hardwick was the best DE left on the board and it was a position that UMass has a decent need at and I neglected it. He might develop into a nice player but I don't see him playing much early in his career. -Max Moore

Check out Hardwick's highlights courtesy of Hudl:

83. Akron Zips

K- Louie Zervos (Ohio signee). Tarpon Springs, FL (Tarpon Springs). 247Sports: 75 (0.7984)

Russ Johnson with the pick for Akron. Buffalo broke the seal just a few short rounds ago by selecting the Morgan Hagee, which is probably somebody that Russ really wanted for Akron. You don't pass up on surefire points in certain situations in football, and this was one of those surefire picks for Akron's play-pretend future.

84. Buffalo Bulls

DE- Marcus Kelly (NIU signee). Waukesha, WI (West). 247Sports: 78 (0.8081)

We're pretty much dried up (short of one or two more guys I'm trying to sneak into later rounds) on players I can squeeze 2015 productivity out of, and I've got most immediate needs shored up, here. With eight starters returning on offense, I'll look more to the defense for now, especially with good options remaining on both the line and the defensive backfield. I chose to go with DE Marcus Kelly in an effort to give Lance Leipold the players he needs.

Leipold's style is old-fashioned run-and-stop-the-run, so shoring up the line is critical, and barring a huge run on safeties, I'll be able to grab a good one next round. For now Kelly brings size (6'4", 230) to the edge and might have flown under the radar after an early commitment to NIU. Watch his tape and it's amazing how efficient he is when attacking the backfield. He already rarely makes a misstep or gets thrown off balance. I wouldn't expect him to contribute as a freshman, but he's the type of player Buffalo will be looking to add regularly in the future. -Matt Gritzmacher

Check out Kelly's highlights courtesy of Hudl:

85. Ball State Cardinals

RB- Jonathan Hawkins (Buffalo signee). Lawrenceville, GA (Mill Creek). 247Sports: 82 (0.8404)

I think there's tremendous value in getting Hawkins in the 8th round. Hawkins had significant interest from Power Five schools, but many wanted him to play defense. There's a little bit of concern from a lower leg injury Hawkins suffered his senior year, but in the 8th round I'll take a shot on the 2014 Gwinnett County Running Back of the Year. -Keith Scheessele

86. Ohio Bobcats

S- Javon Hagan (Ohio signee). Jacksonville, FL (Trinity Christian Academy). 247Sports: 78 (0.8004)

Javon Hagan is another rock-solid piece for Ohio's future secondary. There's a reason Ohio actually signed him. He fits. -Sam Smucker

What does Hagan's hype look like on tape? Take a look and see for yourself courtesy of Hudl:

87. Central Michigan Chippewas

TE- Daniel Crawford (NIU signee). Macomb, MI (Dakota). 247Sports 75 (0.8056)

TE is definitely an area of focus for the Chips in recruiting this year, and Crawford is a guy who can make the lineup immediately. Crawford is a true athlete in every sense of the word, playing both sides of the ball in football and also starring in basketball at Dakota High School. Despite being a tight end, Crawford has the speed and moves of a wide receiver, and an almost running back like ability to break tackles and add on extra yards after a catch. Crawford also possess solid route running abilities, and can easily become a key offensive weapon by the time he's an upperclassman. -Max Lowe

88. Western Michigan Broncos

DE- Nick Potts (Toledo signee). Hilliard, OH (Hilliard Davidson). 247Sports: 81 (0.8100)

Going back to defense, it's hard to pass up a 6-foot-5 defensive end, giving Sam McKnight some help up front. Let's refresh on all of the linemen taken so far this draft: Cotterman: 6-foot-5 to Ohio, Yerardi: 6-foot-6 to EMU, French: 6-foot-5 to Ball St., Bell: 6-foot-freaking-8 to Toledo, and there's so much more out there. Building up some muscle mass before the season begins would be helpful, given that Potts weighs 215 and these linemen weigh way more than that, but at least the height is there.

Oh, the skill. He's pretty good at the whole "making plays" thing. -Alex Alvarado

89. Toledo Rockets

LB- Jim Jones (Kent St. signee). Tallahassee, FL (Amos P. Godby). 247Sports: 79 (0.8189)

Russ Johnson with this pick as well. Jim Jones was clearly the most ballin' name left on the board, which awas makes things harder to pass up on. His third defensive pick for Toledo, and second linebacker in a row. Jones was a hot prospect, receiving 11 other offers from schools like Marshall, Georgia State, USF, Temple and a couple other MAC schools, this was a great get for the Golden Flashes, who was ranked ninth in the MAC in total defense last year.

90. Bowling Green Falcons

LB- Paul Engram (WMU signee). Detroit, MI (Loyola). 247Sports: 75 (0.7889)

Linebacker Paul Engram is your typical Mid-American Conference recruit. If he were three or four inches taller, he would be considering multiple offers from Power 5 conference teams. But at 6'0" and 225 he projects perfectly as run-stopping linebacker in the MAC. Engram played safety in high school but has added some weight to project as a rover/linebacker in college.

Engram originally verbally committed to Toledo but later reopened his recruiting. He had interest from the likes of Cincinnati, Michigan State, Indiana and Oregon. ESPN had Engram rated the 43rd best inside linebacker prospect in the country. -Randy Carpenter

91. Northern Illinois Huskies

CB- D'Andre Smart (Kent St. signee). Miami, FL (Norland) 247Sports: 76: (0.7856)

This was a tough choice for me as it was hard for me to decide which direction I wanted to go with this pick. Ultimately, I decided it would be best to draft another defensive back to add to a pool of an already talented (but young) NIU secondary. Smart is another high ceiling guy who will provide immediate depth for the Huskies and is a guy who can make an impact on special teams as he waits for his time to shine. -Mike Karpinski

Can Smart be a star in the MAC? Check out his high school highlights courtesy of Hudl:

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Another very defensive-heavy round in the MAC Crootin Draft. Only four players on offense were taken, three of which being running backs. With another kicker taken, that makes for eight players on defense selected, two of which were from the WMU signing class.

P.J. Fleck's Broncos had three signees taken all together this round, to give them a total of 14 signees taken in the draft with at least a pick in all seven rounds. Miami is the only school to also have at least one pick in each round, but their signees are being selected more steadily than WMU's, with only one selected in four individual rounds to bump their overall total up to 10. But we have a new school that surpasses Miami, and that's the Ohio. Two taken this round and eight within these past three rounds, there are 11 future Bobcat players off the board. Frank Solich sure does know what he's over in Athens, especially with finding good defensive talent.

Round x Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Eastern Michigan Helmet
Justin Tranquill Darrion Landry Nick Dillon Abdallah Jaffal Ruben Carter Michael Yerardi Alex Grace
kent state helmet
Kendrell McFadden Antwan Dixon John Keenoy Eric Assoua Steven Lee London Cloud Donte Horton
miami helmet
Brandon Childress BoBo Jones Kezio Snelling Lou Grigoletti Quinn Calcagno Jordan Steckler Romello Ross
umass helmet
Eilar Hardy Chris Green Nathon Trawick Reche Thomas Carlos Pickett Elijah Ball Jordon Hardwick
Akron helmets
Deontai Williams Delano Madison Aaron Covington Jeff Christian Jr. Jon Wassink LeVante Bellamy Louie Zervos
Buffalo Helmet
Kwanii Figueroa Mitch Guadagni Torey Hendrick Morgan Hagee Ian Leever Joe Anderson Marcus Kelly
ball state helmet
Juantez McRae Wesley French Shemar Moss Riley Neil Keith Key Cameron Lewis Jonathan Hawkins
ohio helmet
James Morgan Armani McNulty Maxwell Howell Sutton Smith Chandler Cotterman Conor Brumfield Javon Hagan
CMU helmet
Billy Bahl Carter Masek Shadid Bellamy Matt Skibinski Obbie Jackson Breck Turner Daniel Crawford
WMU helmets
Kadeem Goulbourne Antonyo Sotolongo Chase Van Hoef Ulysees Gilbert Sam McKnight Ryan Mullen Nick Potts
Toledo Helmet
Tyree Jackson Davontae Ginwright DJ Brown Cameron Bell Sam Franklin Demetrius Colbert Jim Jones
Bowling Green helmet 2011
Spencer Tears Junior McMullen Matt Domer Sekai Lindsay Nathan Veloz James Pensyl Paul Engram
Northern Illinois Helmet
Kevin Thurman Rolan Milligan James Gardner Kyle Pugh Vincent Hughes James Gilbert D'Andre Smart