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2015 MAC Crootin' Football Draft: Round 8

DE-FENSE *clap clap* DE-FENSE *clap clap*

Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

We're finally going to hit pick number 100 of the 2015 MAC Crootin' Football Draft. So far, Buffalo has been making a big push to bump up their defensive front, but Ball State made a huge steal in the seventh round by grabbing Jonathan Hawkins.

Getting things into the triple-digits, we know that the hottest names are already off the board, but finding talent isn't as much of a stretch as you might expect.

92. Eastern Michigan Eagles

LB- Michael Oliver (CMU signee). Detroit, MI (Cass Technical). 247Sports: 81 (0.7992)

I know that if I don't start stressing an emphasis on defense here, then the rest of my draft class is going to get super sloppy. Another in-state kid that could end up being a good, serviceable option for CMU is Michael Oliver.

Somebody that I see sitting out his first year on campus, but could bulk up into a human iron ball of sorts. The linebacking corps will wear thin quickly at EMU with some guys' eligibility getting closer and closer to expiration, so getting Oliver as a solid inside linebacker with Abdallah Jaffal (Ball St. commit) as an outside linebacker already as a solid long-term option makes things less stressful later on in the draft. -Alex Alvarado

See what Oliver can do in these highlights courtesy of Hudl:

93. Kent State Golden Flashes

CB- Jeffery Hill Jr. (NIU signee). Hollywood, FL (Miramar). 247Sports: 75 (0.7913)

Jeff Hill is extremely underrated in my opinion. Hill possesses great ball skills and is extremely athletic. At just 5-foot-10, if Hill were a few inches taller I believe he would have signed with a P5 school instead of NIU. Overall, Hill will bolster the depth for the Golden Flashes and should be ready to take on a larger role within the next two years.

94. Miami RedHawks

LB- Josh Corcoran. (NIU signee). Lakeville, MN (Lakeville South). 247Sports: 80 (0.8189)

Josh Cocoran is a three star prospect out of Minnesota that displaus versatility as a defensive end and linebacker. In high school, he was primarily an inside linebacker, as he stands at 6'3", 220 lbs., but with some bulking up, he could very well make the cut as an end. Word around the bubbler says that Cocoran was a tackling machine in high school, with long arms that wrapped up defenders and caused turnovers. (His junior year alone saw three blocked field goals!)

Primarily a run stopper that is efficient at plugging gaps, this NIU product will need to work on his pass defense if he wants to see consistent time on the field. But with proper coaching, there is a bevy of talent that could be unleashed from this Minnesotan. -James Jimenez

Just how good is Corcoran? Here are his highlights courtesy of Hudl:

95. UMass Minutemen

OT- Derek Smith (CMU signee). Grand Rapids, MI (Kenowa Hills). 247Sports: 82 (0.8184)

It all starts up front and the Minutemen go with another offensive lineman in Derek Smith. Smith is undersized to play the tackle position at 6-3 and 255 so a move to guard might be his best bet. He has great feet and balance in pass protection and has a good initial punch and the athleticism to stay in front of pass rushers. His run blocking is also solid as he has good leg drive and can quickly release into the second level and engage the backers.

Smith will almost certainly need a redshirt year and may even need another year after for development. While there may be players left on the board that can contribute right away, Smith has very high upside and could end up being an All-MAC selection by the time his career is over. -Max Moore

96. Akron Zips

DE- Dean Lemon (Miami signee). Dayton, OH (Archbishop Alter). 247Sports: 76 (0.7941)

Russ Johnson with the pick here for Akron. If he can get to the quarterback as half as well as his highlight tape shows, he'll end up having a really good career in the MAC. 6-foot-3, just under 240 pounds, Lemon will still have to bulk up to 10-15 extra pounds to hang with the linemen early on. Hopefully he'd develop a competent speed game to go along with his strength; just trying to run directly through the offensive linemen isn't going to cut it at the division-1 level.

Check out Lemon's highlights courtesy of Hudl:

97. Buffalo Bulls

S- Brandon Stanback (Buffalo signee). Harrisburg, PA (Bishop McDevitt). 247Sports: 80 (0.7833)

Now that I've done some work in the trenches I can turn here to the defensive backfield. Buffalo has a number of promising young guys already on the roster to fill the safety role, but you can never have too many hard hitters. Brandon Stanback is a player I know well from UB's recruiting efforts, and he flipped between two and three stars a few times over the last two years.

I hope that Brandon will be an explosive safety who can cover a huge area on the field. He's an elite athlete; one of the nation's best in the triple jump who could have ran track at Penn State but chose football instead. He was named all-Pennsylvania by three different publications and was the defensive captain on a Bishop McDevitt defense that was one of the toughest in the state and carried the Crusaders to the state semifinals in Pennsylvania's second-highest division. -Matt Gritzmacher

Check out Stanback's highlights courtesy of Hudl:

98. Ball State Cardinals

LB- Tyler Taafe (Toledo signee). Hubbard, OH (Hubbard). 247Sports: 76 (0.7994)

Tyler Taafe only received one offer, from Toledo. But don't count him out from being something special because of that. As Keith pointed out when we made the pick, he needs to get in the weight room. This value pick should pay dividends down the road. -Sam Barloga

99. Ohio Bobcats

LB- Clayton Glasco (Ohio signee). Pickerington, OH (Pickerington Central). 247Sports: 76 (0.8124)

Clayton Glasco comes from a football factory. The Pickerington Central linebacker has played against some of the best high school talent in the state of Ohio during his career. That experience should help him translate into a solid edge rusher at the next level. -Sam Smucker

100. Central Michigan Chippewas

S- Mayne Williams (Ohio signee). Cincinnati, OH (Colerain). 247Sports: 78 (0.8124)

A punishing hitter with great speed for a safety, Williams is a great addition to the Chippewa secondary. Williams has also shown great awareness on the field, and is consistently able to maintain great positioning while staying appraised of how the play develops. He's a little smaller then what you would hope for in a safety, but his other intangibles more than make up for it. Look for Williams to make an impact on special teams as well as on defense; a lot of his highlight tape comes from defending punts. -Max Lowe

Williams was the 10th commit to the Bobcats, dating back to late July. Here are his highlights courtesy of Hudl:

101. Western Michigan Broncos

QB- Jake Johnson (CMU signee). Dewitt, MI (Dewitt). 247Sports: 82 (0.8231)

I told myself earlier to not wait too long on a quarterback, but don't make it the number one priority either. A pro-style quarterback with a decent frame that could eventually find himself battling for the staring position by his junior or senior year: Jake Johnson just seemed like the guy I wanted.

Unlike a lot of teams that showed early on in the first round, I don't think I need to get the 3/4-star prospects, but I don't want to gamble too much with this pick. Zach Terrell will obviously still be the starter for the next couple of years, then there's still Chance Stewart right behind him who's a redshirt-freshman this year. -Alex Alvarado

Check out Johnson's highlights courtesy of Hudl:

102. Toledo Rockets

LB- Jake Hlava (NIU signee). Batavia, IL (Batavia Sr). 247Sports: 78 (0.7733)

Russ Johnson picked for Toledo here. Hlava can play both outside linebacker and defensive end, but is a better fit at LB. NIU was Hlava's only offer, which he took as a preferred walk-on.

Check out Hlava's highlights courtesy of Hudl:

103. Bowling Green Falcons

CB- Justin Spencer (WMU signee). Oviedo, FL (Oviedo). 247Sports: 79 (0.8282)

Being a safety on defense means you have to play physical. That's why Deion Sanders was cornerback. He wanted no part of coming up to support the run defense. But safety Justin Spencer relished those opportunities. He switched from safety to linebacker his senior year in high school just to be more in the action. He should be a perfect fit at safety in college.

At 5' 10" and 180 pounds, Spencer had offers from Connecticut, Cincinnati and Mississippi State. Rivals and Scout had Spencer rated as a 3-star recruit and the 44th best quarterback prospect in the country, while S247Sports had him listed as the 131st best defensive back prospect in the country. -Randy Carpenter

Here is Spencer's highlights courtesy of Hudl:

104. Northern Illinois Huskies

RB- Marcus Jones (NIU signee). Oak Lawn, IL (Brother Rice). 247Sports: 73 (0.7952)

This may be a little bit of reach here but I needed to draft a play maker on the offensive side of the ball this round. Jones fits that description perfectly and is a nice fit in the NIU offense. Jones is explosive when the football is in his hands and is always a threat to score. NIU needs a guy like this who can sit behind Tommy Lee Lewis, Argeros Turner, and Ezra Saffold for a few years and eventually fill their shoes in a few years. With Jones being a local kid as well, that made this pick that much easier for me. -Mike Karpinski

Check out Jones' highlights courtesy of Hudl:


Holy defense, Bat Man.

Not one, not two, but 10 players this round were all defense, including 100th pick Mayne Williams. WMU and Miami both continue their streaks with another signee from each class selected in this round.

WMU still holds the lead with 15, Miami with 11. Ohio's surge as of recent has helped them out here too, going up to 13 signees taken, but NIU and CMU both made some noise here too. The Chippewas only had four selected through the first seven rounds, but had three taken this round. NIU had the most with four players (three defensive) players taken here. NIU and Miami now tie for third in overall signees drafted.

Akron still hasn't had a signee from their class taken since Ulysees Grant was taken in the fourth round, and BGSU hasn't had another name called after the third round, still with six overall signees taken. EMU still with five signees drafted, but none since the sixth round. UMass also hasn't had had a name called since the sixth round, four signees taken from their class thus far.

Round x Team
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Eastern Michigan Helmet
Justin Tranquill Darrion Landry Nick Dillon Abdallah Jaffal Ruben Carter Michael Yerardi Alex Grace Michael Oliver
kent state helmet
Kendrell McFadden Antwan Dixon John Keenoy Eric Assoua Steven Lee London Cloud Donte Horton Jeff Hill Jr.
miami helmet
Brandon Childress BoBo Jones Kezio Snelling Lou Grigoletti Quinn Calcagno Jordan Steckler Romello Ross Josh Corcoran
umass helmet
Eilar Hardy Chris Green Nathon Trawick Reche Thomas Carlos Pickett Elijah Ball Jordon Hardwick Derek Smith
Akron helmets
Deontai Williams Delano Madison Aaron Covington Jeff Christian Jr. Jon Wassink LeVante Bellamy Louie Zervos Dean Lemon
Buffalo Helmet
Kwanii Figueroa Mitch Guadagni Torey Hendrick Morgan Hagee Ian Leever Joe Anderson Marcus Kelly Brandon Stanback
ball state helmet
Juantez McRae Wesley French Shemar Moss Riley Neil Keith Key Cameron Lewis Jonathan Hawkins Tyler Taafe
ohio helmet
James Morgan Armani McNulty Maxwell Howell Sutton Smith Chandler Cotterman Conor Brumfield Javon Hagan Clayton Glasco
CMU helmet
Billy Bahl Carter Masek Shadid Bellamy Matt Skibinski Obbie Jackson Breck Turner Daniel Crawford Mayne Williams
WMU helmets
Kadeem Goulbourne Antonyo Sotolongo Chase Van Hoef Ulysees Gilbert Sam McKnight Ryan Mullen Nick Potts Jake Johnson
Toledo Helmet
Tyree Jackson Davontae Ginwright DJ Brown Cameron Bell Sam Franklin Demetrius Colbert Jim Jones Jake Hilva
Bowling Green helmet 2011
Spencer Tears Junior McMullen Matt Domer Sekai Lindsay Nathan Veloz James Pensyl Paul Engram Justin Spencer
Northern Illinois Helmet
Kevin Thurman Rolan Milligan James Gardner Kyle Pugh Vincent Hughes James Gilbert D'Andre Smart Marcus Jones