MAC football recruiting power rankings are back and better than ever for the class of 2016. Recently each member of the Hustle Belt recruiting team ranked every MAC program's recruiting class in order from 1-13. Once everyone's vote was submitted, we averaged out the scores and came up with these rankings. Writers were asked to rank each school based on quality, not quantity. Also, keep in mind that we are still months away from Signing Day and to take these rankings with a grain of salt as everyone's class will look significantly different come February 2016.
1. WMU- Commits: 18
It's the beginning of July and the Broncos are dangerously close to having a full class already. At 18 commits, there hasn't been much news to report on WMU lately. The Broncos have a nice combination of high profile commits to go along with a few under-the-radar prospects. The challenge will be to keep this class intact for the most part until Signing Day 2016, although P.J. Fleck has proven that he has the ability to rebound from de-commitments and find players who fit his system. For what it's worth, 247Sports currently ranks WMU's recruiting class 44th in the country.
Key commits: Tristian Pupp (LB), Matt Little (QB), Amir Watts (DT), Spencer Kanz (OL), Kendall Coleman (DE)
2. Toledo- Commits: 17
Although many people envision Western Michigan being the recruiting kings of the MAC, Toledo is not far behind. As a matter of fact, I think putting WMU as "1A" and Toledo as "1B" would be more accurate. Landing defensive backs Jatairus Grant and Tyrece Speaight a few weeks ago was huge for the Rockets. Toledo has also been recruiting athletic players who have experience playing multiple positions such as Desmond Phillips and Billy Kisner. Both play quarterback for their respective high schools, however project to play elsewhere for the Rockets. Toledo has yet to land a quarterback commitment which is about all this class is lacking at this point. W
Key commits: Jatairus Grant (DB), Tyrece Speaight (DB), Obi Annuike (DB), Desmond Phillips (ATH)
3. Miami- Commits: 17
What Chuck Martin and his staff have been able to accomplish is nothing short of remarkable. Taking over a struggling program a few years ago Miami still has a long way to go, however coach Martin has the program on the upward trend and this prospective recruiting class is a big part of that. Offense was a huge issue for the RedHawks over the past two years, however QB Noah Wezensky and WR Stori Emerson should help out with that. With that said, it is clear that building up the offensive line has been a huge priority for the RedHawks. Offensive lineman such as Tommy Doyle, Danny Godlevske, and Dalton Strunk will all provide much needed depth. Losing ATH Riley Lees to Northwestern was a tough loss as Miami was recruiting him as a wide receiver, however this is another testament to the caliber of players that Chuck Martin is targeting. Just a few days ago, Martin rebounded nicely by landing a commitment from 2-star WR K.J. Hancock. His commitment does not come as much of a surprise as the RedHawks were his first offer awhile back and he's been high on them ever since. As far as defense is concerned, TaMarion Johnson is an under-the-radar defensive end who seems to be a nice fit in the system.
Key commits: Noah Wezensky (QB), Tommy Doyle (OL), Danny Godlevske (OL), Tay Gowan (DB)
4. BGSU- Commits: 15
The Falcons got off to a hot start for the 2016 class and has kept that momentum going into July. It is clear their focus has been on the defensive side of the football, however they've been able to land solid offensive talent. QB Elijah Cunningham is a prolific passer and should be a nice fit in Dino Babers' system. Cunningham will have big targets to throw to such as WR Kyree Calli and TE A.J. Garson. The Falcons recently landed Florida native, DB Shemar Jean-Charles.
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Key Commits: Elijah Cunningham (QB), A.J. Garson (TE), Shemar Jean-Charles (DB), Evan Foster (DB)
5. Ball State- Commits: 15
The Cardinals have been extremely busy lately on the recruiting trail. 3-star DE James Jennette is a huge grab for Pete Lembo as they now have five commitments on the defensive line for this 2016 class. Despite the recent de-commitment of LB Drew O'Bryan, Ball State still has one linebacker in this 2016 class as of right now(Brandon Martin), however I'd expect them to sign at least two players at this position. Ball State still needs to fill some needs on the offensive side of the ball, however this class is taking shape nicely.
Key Commits: James Jennette (DE), Drew Plitt (QB)
T-6. NIU- Commits: 10
For the most part, there wasn't much discrepancy among our staff when it came to the first five positions. This is where things started to get interesting as there seems to be a noticeable drop-off between position five and six. Despite this, the Huskies have continues to plug away on the recruiting trail landing guys who fit their system which has been a key to their success over the past few years. Jahcour Pearson is an explosive wide receiver who should pair nicely with Anthony Thompson under center. DB Daniel Isom is an extremely solid grab for the Huskies and possesses enough talent to play in the Big Ten, in my opinion. At this point in time, NIU and Ohio are nearly identical from a talent perspective.
Key commits: Jahcour Pearson (WR), Daniel Isom (DB), Olson, Benn (OL)
T-6. Ohio- Commits: 11
Frank Solich is getting offensive linemen like they're going out of style. Have you ever tried to push a tank? That's what it's going to feel like for defensive linemen in a few years going against these four guys, including Sean Beadle. Cameron Odom is an exciting wide receiver to be added to the Bobcat roster. I don't think he's related to Lemar Odom, but if he were, that would be pretty cool. We probably wouldn't be finding ourselves in a tie right here if that were the case. Crap, almost forgot: Tyler Tupa is another receiver/safety to be excited about. He'll probably end up playing receiver, which Scout has him pretty high up in their rankings as.
Key commits: Tyler Tupa (WR/S), Eric Popp (LB), Dontez Rash (RB)
8. Buffalo- Commits: 5
Buffalo only has five commitments thus far, however Lance Leipold has done a wonderful job finding talented recruits. When Leipold was hired some people questioned if he could recruit at the FBS level, however he has silenced those critics thus far. It's obviously too early to judge Leipold's recruiting successes, however he has put together a talented group of players. ATH Jordan Overton is the highlight of this recruiting class thus far and has an extremely entertaining highlight tapes (which you can watch here). Overton will probably line up at wide receiver for the Bulls and could quickly become a favorite target of QB Max Bortenschlager. S Justin Mulbah is an under-the-radar guy to watch, as well as LB Hosea McMullen. McMullen was reportedly offered by Syracuse about a week after his commitment to the Bulls and has stayed committed since then. It's definitely nice to see that McMullen has stuck with Buffalo for the time being, however is more offers come along it may be tough to keep the
Key Commits: Jordan Overton (WR), Max Bortenschlager (QB), Hosea McMullen (LB)
9. CMU-Commits: 8
3-star DE Leon Page is by far and away the crowned jewel of this recruiting class thus far and a huge building block for the Chips moving forward. DB Jakkar Jackson is also a solid pick-up and is a guy who could easily see the field early in his collegiate career. After these two, this class is filled with under-the-radar prospects who may take a few years to develop into contributors. It will be interesting to see how coach Bonamego fills up his first recruiting class with CMU. Considering the amount of turmoil that the program endured last year, it's nice to see the Chips doing well for themselves on the recruiting trail.
Key Commits: Leon Page (DE), Jakkar Jackson (DB)
10. EMU- Commits: 6
It took a while for the Eagles to get any commits, but the six commits that they did get seem to be pretty promising. There's already three in-state commits in this group: the same amount of Michigan-natives to be included in the 2015 class. QB Isaac Stiebeling is a solid dual-threat that has the kind of competitive edge that you'd like for one to have, and is going to be worth reading up on throughout the fall. Matthew Sexton only knows one speed: ludicrous speed. Turns out OL commit Jake Donnellon has probably seen more Jeff Genyk-coached games than I have (none).
Key Commits: Isaac Stiebeling (QB), Kamal Martin (ATH), Josh Wilkes (WR)
11. Kent State- Commits: 3
Despite the de-commitment of 3-star DB Tyrece Speaight(now a Toledo commit), Kent State has rebounded nicely. QB Darius Bradwell is a huge get for the Golden Flashes and could be exactly what they need to get some momentum going on the recruiting trail. Hopefully Bradwell's commitment will attract other recruits to check out their program. Last year Kent State assembled a good portion of their class in the final months and it seemed that most recruits who took official visits less than two months before NSD wound up signing with the Golden Flashes.
Key Commits: Darius Bradwell (QB), Zach Corrigal (OL), Matt Otwinowski (LB)
12. Akron- Commits: 3
Just give it a few months and we'll have some transfers to report for you.
Key Commits: Kato Nelson (QB), Thomas Cole (WR), Jonathan Neeley (OL)
13. UMass- Commits: 0
Not much to report here for the time being. As far as we know, the Minutemen have yet to land their first commitment for the class of 2016. This shouldn't come as much of a surprise as UMass assembled a lot of their stellar 2015 class later in the recruiting cycle, which seems to be what's happening here.