The month of July was a bit slow on the recruiting trail for many schools in the MAC. This lull in recruiting probably has something to do with the fact that six MAC programs have 14 commits or more in their 2016 recruiting class as of right now. Some readers may be thinking, "That's ridiculous, NSD is seven months away!" Well, look at it this way. Although every recruiting class will look a lot different in February (keep in mind that all commitments up until NSD 2016 are verbal and non-binding according to the NCAA), having a solid core this early in the process gives programs a head start on recruiting the class of 2017.
Here's a few 2017 offers that occurred recently.
As always, we are ranking based off of quality and not quantity. Alright, no more delays. Here is Hustle Belt's power ranking for the month of August. Agree? Disagree? Think a team is underrated or vice versa? Let us know in the comments, and don't forget to take our poll to let us know who you think is #1!
T-1 Miami | LM: 3 | Commits: 22
I know what you're thinking. A tie? Are you kidding me Hustle Belt? Let us explain. After polling everyone on our recruiting team and factoring in the current 247Sports rankings, WMU and Miami were tied. The RedHawks were red-hot in the month of July landing four commitments this month. 3-star RB Kameron Pickett is a huge boost to this class and gives Miami an explosive, play-making running back for this class. WR Jack Sorenson is an under-the-radar receiver who could become a favorite target for 3-star QB Noah Wezensky. Since there is still plenty of time before Signing Day, it will be interesting to see what changes in this class, and more importantly what stays the same. Hopefully poachers (P5 programs) stay away from this fine recruiting class that Chuck Martin has assembled.
T-1 Western Michigan | LM: 1 | Commits: 18
All is quiet on the Western front. That has not been a commonly used phrase ever since P.J. Fleck took over the Broncos. However, WMU did not land a commitment this month, however don't think they are taking time off of recruiting kids. As mentioned earlier, all commitments are verbal at this point and can be retracted at any time. With that said, WMU's staff(and most MAC programs quite frankly) is hard at work maintaining the recruits they have verbal commitments from. Keeping key recruits such as QB Matt Little and LB Tristian Pipp are critical seeming as they are the foundation of this recruiting class.
From here on out, look for WMU to slowly pick up a quality commit here and that while having a few kids de-commit over the coming months. Time has proven that coach Fleck has no problem going after the best talent he can get his hands on. A perfect example of this is one-time WMU commit, DE Ogundeji, Adetokunbo. Ogundeji absolutely blew up this summer receiving offers from Oregon and Notre Dame, among others, before ultimately committing to the Fighting Irish. Although he will never suit up as a Bronco, this is yet another testament to the high-quality recruits that coach Fleck and other MAC coaches have sought after.
3. Toledo | LM: 2 | Commits 18
The de-commitment of 3-star ATH Calvin Jackson hurts them a little but in one way, it's better to have a recruit de-commit in July than in February right before Signing Day. This gives the Rockets plenty of time to recover and in the meantime, they just keep stockpiling talented defensive backs. 2-star Jordan Williams is the latest defensive back to join the party. Last year, offensive line was a priority for the Rockets while it is clear that defensive backs are the priority this year. The one thing that this class is missing is a quarterback
4. Ball State | LM: 5 | Commits: 16
The Cardinals added just one recruit in the month of July, but it was a big one-literally. Offensive lineman T.J. Beltavski is a strong, bulky lineman who has the ability to squat 662 pounds at the ripe age of 16. If you don't believe me or think that's a typo, see for yourself below.
Beltvaski will fit right in as it seems Ball State players enjoy lifting as much as he does.
Could these 2016 recruits adopt the "Hulk" mentality and help bring Ball State to new heights in a few years? Only time will tell.
5. Ohio | LM: T-6 | Commits: 15
Ohio moved up a slot from last month. The Motley twins (Ilyaas and Xavier) are the main reason for this jump in the rankings. These two defensive backs should help bolster the Bobcats' secondary for years to come. As we stated last month, this recruiting class is loaded with offensive lineman and now it seems they have shifted their attention to defense. DE Amir Miller is a nice under-the-radar grab and should open some eyes during his senior season.
6. Bowling Green | LM: 3 | Commits: 14
The Falcons stayed pretty quiet this month, actually losing a commitment from DE Sharif Saleem. Despite being relatively low key lately, this class is still solid. DB Shemar Jean-Charles and QB Elijah Cunningham are the crowned jewels to this point and give the Falcons a solid foundation on both sides of the ball. It'd be nice to see Bowling Green add a few more offensive weapons over the coming months. A guy like 3-star WR Jalen Martin would give this class a major boost. Martin reportedly holds six offers, all of them from MAC programs. The Falcons currently have zero offensive lineman committed for this class so that is definitely a position they will be targeting in the months leading up to Signing Day.
7. Buffalo | LM: 8 | Commits: 7
The Bulls don't have a lot of commitments as of right now, but they have some quality recruits currently committed. 3-star RB Jonathan Lee was a huge get and now gives coach Leipold an extremely talented QB-RB-WR trio in Max Bortenschlager and Jordan Overton respectively. LB Hosea McMullen is still committed as of right now but with Syracuse and potentially other P5 programs getting in the mix, Leipold and his staff will have to work hard to retain McMullen's commitment until Signing Day.
Note: Positions 5-7 were rather close in our polls this month. It is worthwhile to note that 3-star OG Caleb Bright will be committing this Friday.
Thank you to all the schools that have recruited me. I will be announcing my college commitment this Friday at 3:00 pm.— Caleb Bright (@calebbright53) August 3, 2015
Bright tells Hustle Belt that he will be choosing from Buffalo, Bowling Green, and Ohio so his decision could help separate these three programs in our rankings. My guess would be either Bowling Green or Ohio. On one end, Bowling Green has zero offensive lineman commitments right now and Bright would be a great fit there while on the other end, as we said in our rankings last month, "Frank Solich is getting offensive lineman like they're going out of style." Adding Bright to an already talented group of o-lineman would be a huge boost to the Bobcats. Only time will tell what he ultimately decides.
8. NIU | LM: T-6 | Commits: 10
The Huskies have stayed true to their ways this year, selective and patient. You won't see Rod Carey and his staff recruiting based off of "stars" from recruiting services, but instead finding guys who fit the system. A perfect example of this is from the 2014 recruiting class. As most NIU fans are aware, Deion Hallmon was supposed to be the next great thing in DeKalb, however his time on campus lasted a year before going the JUCO route. Instead, unranked DB Shawun Lurry was the one receiving significant playing time as a true freshman. Don't expect this strategy to change as time goes on, but look for things to pick up for the Huskies in the next month or so.
9. CMU | LM: 9 | Commits: 9
The Chips added a commitment from LB Hunter Buczkowski and is yet another in-state recruit. It seems that coach Bonamego and his staff have decided to focus most of their recruiting efforts within the state of Michigan, a strategy that Dan Enos used as well. It definitely is nice to see CMU recruit their home state well, however I think expanding their recruiting pipelines to other states would help them significantly in the long run. P.S. 3-star DE Leon Page is an absolute stud and definitely is a top 5 current MAC commit.
10. Kent State | LM: 11 | Commits: 5
Kent State loves the Sunshine State. To date, three of their five commitments hail from Florida. QB Darius Bradwell is a game changer for the Golden Flashes as we stated last month. He's a natural runner who still possesses a decent arm. What Bradwell is for Kent State's offense, 3-star DB Kion Holder is just that and more for the defense. Former high school teammate and incoming freshman DB D'Andre Smart could form a dynamic duo in Kent State's secondary and should help them improve the secondary depth at the very least. Their most recent commit, RB Sam Thomas is an explosive running back who is a nice fit in the offense and is a guy I can see contributing early in his career.
11. EMU | LM: 10 | Commits: 8
Losing 3-star ATH Kamal Martin hurts, but was not a surprise. Martin is a P5 talent and Minnesota was his dream offer, can't fault a kid for that. Just like Kent State, EMU has been recruiting the state of Florida aggressively and that should start to pay dividends sooner rather than later.
12. Akron | LM: 12 | Commits: 3
Despite offering a few more 8th graders, not much to report here. 3-star QB Kato Nelson is the main reason the Zips aren't in the basement of these rankings.
13. UMass | LM: 13 | Commits: 3
Just a few days ago, it looked like UMass was making serious waves with the commitment of 3-star WR Taylor Edwards. Unfortunately, that commitment lasted less than a week leaving the Minutemen in the same position as last month.