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2016 National Signing Day Recap: Central Michigan Chippewas

It's time to meet John Bonamego's first full signing class as CMU's head coach.

James H. Jimenez

There are a lot of expectations heaped upon the first full class of signees for second-year head coach John Bonamego, especially after a better-than-expected 2015 season that saw the Chippewas finish 7-6 (6-2 MAC) with a berth in the Quick Lane Bowl.

Bonamego's up-tempo offense and a crashing defense which is reliant on rotation needs depth to be able to run to maximum efficiency, and the signees in this class should look to contribute immediately. While 247Sports puts CMU at 6th in the MAC, there's room for growth with this class of Chippewas.

("**" denotes early enrollee, # denotes preferred walk-on)

POS Name Hometown (HS) Height/Weight 247Sports Rating Highlights
QB Tony Poljan Lansing, MI (Lansing Catholic) 6'7", 240 lbs. 3* X
DB/S Jakkar Jackson Farmington Hills, MI (Farmington Hills, MI) 5'10", 191 lbs. 2* X
DL Leon Page Detroit, MI (MLK) 6'2", 233 lbs. 3* X
FB Hunter Buczkowski Mt. Pleasant, MI (Mt. Pleasant) 6'0", 237 lbs. 2* X
WR Bailey Edwards Chelsea, MI (Chelsea) 6'1", 213 lbs. 3* X
RB Kumehnnu Gwilly Utica, MI (Utica) 6'1", 219 lbs. 2* X
DB Tee'Ondre Harvey Detroit, MI (Mumford) 6'0", 161 lbs. 2* X
DL Dante Cleveland Hoffman Estates, Ill. (Hoffman Estates) 6'3", 245 lbs. 2* X
DL Josh Eldridge Detroit, MI (Clintondale) 6'2", 252 lbs. 2* X
QB Austin Hergott Fort Thomas, KY (Highlands) 6'3", 220 lbs. 3* X
K/P/KOS Kaden Keon Saint Louis, MI (Saint Louis) 5'9", 180 lbs. NR X
DB Alonzo McCoy Detroit, MI (Thurston) 5'10", 180 lbs. 3*
DB Gage Kreski St. Ignace, MI (St. Ignace) 6'2", 195 lbs. NR X
QB Tommy Lazzaro** Dodge City, KS (Dodge City CC) 6'4", 210 lbs. 3* X
TE Blake Brady# Macomb, MI (Dakota) 6'3", 245 lbs. NR X
RB Jonathan Ward Kankakee, Ill. (Bishop McNamara) 6'0", 180 lbs. 2* X

A few takeaways from all this:

  • The board still isn't complete. While Allan Stallings ultimately flipped to Indiana earlier this week, there is a chance that CMU could pick up Marquis Smith, a 3* athlete from Yspilanti. The 6'0", 180 lb. ATH has narrowed his list down to Cincinnati, Iowa State, Syracuse, and Central. LaBryson Dixon, another hard commit to CMU, hasn't appeared on CMU's official signing day list of recruits. We are working to verify both of these situations.
  • The recruiting was rather balanced for this class, with 7 recruits on defense, 7 on offense, and 1 on special teams.
  • With only Cooper Rush and Ryan Lamb on the roster as QB's, the Chips needed arms, and they've got some good ones. Lazzaro, an early-enrollee, was a solid starter at Dodge City CC, and serves as an immediately capable backup. Hergott is an underrated pocket passer from a state not known for producing many prospects that was overlooked by many programs.
  • No, I didn't forget about Tony Poljan, the dual-threat QB from Lansing Catholic. This prospect is the prize of this class. Body-wise, he looks like a taller version of Cam Newton. On the field, Poljan was a beast among men. He fielded multiple offers from Power Five schools, including MSU and Nebraska to play other positions, but Poljan was insistent on playing QB, which makes this a coup for CMU.
  • The emphasis on defense was much needed, as CMU must replace key parts of their line and secondary. Jakkar Jackson and Leon Page have already been very vocal leaders of the class, trying to turn commits over to CMU, and that speaks to their leadership already at such a young age. Jackson, especially, shows promise as a safety with some development, and with the progeny of the safety position the last four years at CMU, that bodes well for him.
Overall, the class is small in terms of sheer numbers (for comparison's sake, rivals EMU and WMU had over 20 commits,) but big on talent and potential. Poljan will be the heir apparent to Rush and look to add an extra element to the offensive attack. The depth on the defensive line will be a tremendous help in keeping the Chippewas' place as one of the best defensive in the MAC.