The MAC Championship game turned out to be a historic night for the conference. Western Michigan completed an undefeated regular season, earning themselves a bid in the Cotton Bowl. However, now that the regular season has concluded each team will turn their sights to the recruiting trail for the next couple of weeks. For most teams in the MAC, things have been heating up lately.
As always, for a full list of each program’s commits check out our recruiting database.
Here’s an update for each team on the recruiting trail:
Akron was Riley’s only reported FBS offer, while he reports multiple offers from FCS programs. Despite playing both receiver and defensive back in high school, it’s unclear which position Riley will play at the next level. Riley is Akron’s third commit from the state of Florida, their 13th total. As more players announce their intents to transfer across college football, look for Akron to be in the mix as usual.
Murray is yet another defensive back to join this recruiting class for the Cardinals. Murray reportedly held an offer from Oregon State, however originally committed to Fresno State. Moving forward, Murray lined up next to fellow commit Myles Hannah is going to make scoring rather difficult for offenses across the MAC.
Bowling Green has put a focus on defense over the past few months. Since the late summer, they’ve rounded up some major talent. Their three commits have all been 3-star recruits. Wide receiver Cedric Mitchell adds yet another playmaker to this Bowling Green class. He had offers from Cincinnati, Iowa State, as well as most of the MAC. On the defensive line, Rouse and Murphy offer much needed depth. Murphy is an in-state product who reported an offer from Iowa State as well as multiple MAC offers. Rouse hails from the Sunshine State and his only other reported offer was from Temple. Murphy and Rouse are the third and fourth commits on the defensive line thus far in this class.
Highlighting Buffalo’s class overall, it is small but packs a punch. QB Kyle Van Trease is a solid building block for the future and be given an opportunity to compete for the job sooner rather than later. Tyree Jackson has three years of eligibility remaining and looks to be Buffalo’s quarterback of the future, however if he struggles to start the year it would not be surprising if Van Trease was given an opportunity. He’s gone relatively under-the-radar throughout his recruiting process as his only non-MAC offer came from Cincinnati. He’ll be a priority for coach Leipold over the next two months to ensure he keeps his QB of this class. Before Signing Day look for Buffalo to add some depth on both the offensive and defensive line. Their only lineman commit currently is Cincinnati native, OL Jacob Gall.
Coach Bonamego has put an emphasis on recruiting the state of Michigan, which has paid dividends for him this recruiting cycle. 12 out of their 16 commitments hail from Michigan. Most recently, the commitment of Jacorey Sullivan provided a huge boost to this recruiting class. Sullivan is a 3-star recruit who is capable of playing both wide receiver and safety at the next level. It is unclear which position he will play for CMU, however he will bring some versatility once he arrives on campus. Sullivan chose the Chippewas over reported offers from Ball State, Bowling Green, Miami, Toledo, and WMU. James went pretty under-the-radar as CMU is his only reported offer, however fills a void in this class at defensive end. James is just the second defensive lineman to commit this recruiting cycle. He will have a nice opportunity to compete for snaps as a third-down pass rusher early in his career at CMU.
EMU’s class currently stands at seven commitments, two of which are quarterbacks. While Grissom is extremely athletic and could wind up at safety down the road, he also will have the opportunity to play quarterback to start. Preston Hutchinson plays like a more prototypical pocket passer so coach Creighton will have various styles to choose from at the quarterback position. 2-star LB Steven Franklin is a name to watch for EMU as he has been high on the Eagles for a while.
Kent State will be an interesting team to monitor up until Signing Day. They are known for finishing recruiting cycles out strong and people shouldn’t expect anything to the contrary this year. The Golden Flashes currently are sitting at 13 commits by our count. They could use a wide receiver or two to add to this class as well as another lineman or two. Some names to watch include OL Andrew Kerobo and DL Dominick Covatto.
Coach Martin and his staff are the hottest team on the recruiting trail in the conference, and it’s not even close. It all started when they were able to flip 3-star OL David Redding from WMU. Redding is teammates with current Miami commit, 3-star ATH Mitchell Burton. Just this morning, they added another 3-star recruit in DB Darrick Forrest. Forrest is considered to be one of the top players in Columbus. His teammate Michael Ayers could follow Forrest to Oxford if offered the opportunity, which would bolster the Redhawks secondary even further in this class. Elijah Watson joined this class on Saturday evening, a 2-star defensive tackle from Lawrenceville, Georgia. Georgia is a state that Miami has recruited extremely well during the Chuck Martin era, and that has not changed in this recruiting cycle. Arizona reportedly offered Watson as well as Ball State, UTSA, and Georgia State. LB Mike Brown committed on Sunday morning as well, their commitment from the state of Michigan. 3-star RB/S Davion Johnson committed back in October over reported offers from Iowa State, Syracuse, Ohio, Toledo, WMU, CMU, and Ball State.
Below is a picture of all the recruits Miami had on campus over the weekend courtesy of RB commit Jaylon Bester.
Webster chose the Huskies over reported offers from Arkansas State, Southeast Missouri State, Southeastern Louisiana, and Southern Illinois. Webster wasn’t the only JUCO defensive tackle on campus this weekend, however as Reggie Miles also visited this weekend. Miles only reported offer comes from Southeast Missouri State.
Maintaining 3-star QB Rodney Hall will be critical for coach Carey and his staff. Their quarterback depth has suffered over the last few years due to late de-commitments from the quarterback position. Luckily, NIU currently has two quarterback commits so they should not be shunned completely this year. Both Wieland and Hall will immediately be thrust into a quarterback competition to start next year. Wieland may have the upper hand to start as Wieland looks more college ready at this time, however Hall will be considered the quarterback of the future. It is easy to envision a scenario where Hall redshirts as a freshman before getting a legitimate opportunity to start the year after, while Wieland competes for snaps as a true freshman. Stabilizing the quarterback position will be critical for NIU if they hope to compete for the MAC West championship next year.
Outside of Miami, Ohio has been the most active team in the conference on the recruiting trail over the last month or so. Despite only having nine commitments, they have developed a strong core to build off of over the next two months. RB Morgan Ellison is a power 5 talent when healthy. It is fair to say that the entire Bobcats coaching staff is crossing their fingers that a P5 program doesn’t swoop in and offer Ellison before Signing Day. 3-star safety Marlin Brooks originally was committed to Florida International before ultimately choosing the Bobcats. The Florida native also reported an offer from Florida Atlantic. ATH Willie Cherry was another solid pickup; you can learn more about Cherry here. OL Samson Jackson committed over offers from FIU, Old Dominion, Southern Mississippi, Stetson, and Troy. Tre Newton is the only other offensive lineman currently committed. Ohio was the only program to offer Newton, who currently attends Blinn JUCO. Look for Ohio to focus on adding some bulk on both the defensive and offensive line over the next few weeks. They also will need to add a linebacker or two to help fill out this recruiting class.
TE Travis Koontz’s commitment back in October was a big-time pickup for the Rockets. Not only is Toledo getting a pass-catching tight end, they also flipped him from rival Bowling Green. Koontz is the second 3-star tight end to join this class so far, the other being Drew Rosi. Kelvin Ateman Jr. re-committed back in October, which gave this class a huge boost. He gives them added depth on the offensive line and is their third 3-star offensive line commit. Next, look for Toledo to turn their sights to JUCO DE Anthony Luke who took an official visit earlier in December. If Toledo can finish this cycle strong, it could be a 3-team race for number one class in the MAC between the Rockets, Miami and WMU.
With so many recruits already committed, WMU has been rather quiet on the recruiting trail lately. As mentioned earlier, they lost 3-star OL David Redding to Miami. With four offensive lineman already committed, it won’t affect the Broncos too much although it hurts to lose Redding to an in-conference foe. Redding will have a better chance to play earlier in his career with the RedHawks. An interesting situation developed last week for the Broncos when the Cincinnati job opened up. While many thought P.J. Fleck would consider the job, rather he considered poaching a recruit from the Bearcats. 3-star RB Jaelen Greene flipped his commitment from Cincinnati to WMU...briefly. Once Cincinnati announced the hiring of Luke Fickell, Greene quickly flipped back to Cincinnati after being committed to WMU for no longer than 24 hours. At 24 commits, WMU’s class is just about filled however that does not mean this class is set in stone. Former EMU commit, RB Kaiser Carleton is a name to watch over the coming weeks as he has taken multiple visits to WMU in the past and has been high on them for a while.