Ball State had a down season last year, to say the least. After finishing 3-9 (2-6 MAC)and having their head coach Pete Lembo bolt for an assistant head coaching job at Maryland, the Cards found themselves in a Central Michigan 2015 situation, coachless and having to sign a new class.
Enter Mike Neu.
Following the same path as CMU did last season, Ball State hired a former alum that played the quarterback position in a relatively quick amount of time to save the class. The Cards will have to have patience and rebuild in order to create excitement in the fanbase again. So who's going to help with that?
We have the full list right here:
|POS||Name||Hometown (HS)||Height/Weight||247Sports Rating||Highlights|
|DT||Chris Crumb||Lewis Center, OH (Olentangy)||6'1", 260 lbs.||3*||HERE|
|DT||John Swisher*||Council Bluffs, IA (Iowa Western CC)||6'2", 280 lbs.||3*||HERE|
|OLB||Reggie McGee**||Salinas, CA (Hartnell College)||6'2", 225 lbs.||3*||HERE|
|ATH||Lamar Anderson*||Saint Louis, MO (Christian Brothers College)||5'9", 170 lbs.||3*||HERE|
|WR||James Jennette III||Hazelwood, MO (Hazelwood West)||6'4", 225 lbs.||3*||HERE|
|WR||Nolan Givan||Berkley, MI (Berkley)||6'4", 220 lbs.||3*||HERE|
|QB||Drew Plitt||Loveland, OH (Loveland)||6'3", 220 lbs.||3*||HERE|
|OL||Chris Beech||Dayton, OH (Archbishop Alter)||6'2", 280 lbs.||3*||HERE|
|DT||TJ Beltavski||Cleveland, OH (Benedictine)||6'2", 295 lbs.||2*||HERE|
|ILB||Brandon Martin||Indianapolis, IN (Lawrence North)||6'0", 227 lbs.||2*||HERE|
|DE||Donald Manning||Plainsfield, IL (Plainsfield East)||6'3", 230 lbs.||2*||HERE|
|WR||Tyler Kirtz||Brownsburg, IN (Brownsburg)||6'3", 190 lbs.||2*||HERE|
|TE||Dylan Koch||Plainsfield, IN (Plainsfield East)||6'5", 225 lbs.||2*||HERE|
|OL||Anthony Todd||Yorktown, IN (Yorktown)||6'4", 305 lbs.||2*||HERE|
|WR||Damon Hazelton||Baltimore, MD (St. Frances Academy)||6'4", 195 lbs.||2*||HERE|
|OL||Kaleb Slaven||Muncie, IN (Delta)||6'5", 260 lbs.||2*||HERE|
|WR||Wyatt Plate||Jackson, MI (Lumen Christi)||5'10", 170 lbs.||2*||HERE|
|DB||Mitchell Larsen||Fairfield, OH (Fairfield)||6'1", 180 lbs.||2*||HERE|
|DE||Frank Burton III||New Castle, DE (William Penn)||6'2", 233 lbs.||2*||HERE|
|DT||Kyle Williams||Indianapolis, IN (Southport)||6'5", 280 lbs.||2*||HERE|
|OLB||Jay Thomas||Lima, OH (Lima Sr.)||6'3", 210 lbs.||NR||HERE|
|OL||Dominick Mathis||Indianapolis, IN (Warren Central)||6'4", 290 lbs.||2*||HERE|
There's been a lot of excitement about this particular class of Cardinals, as 247Sports ranks it the 5th best in the conference. However, it's going to take a lot of time and coaching to make a better product on the field. An emphasis on both sides of the line and upgrading the skill positions is a good start for Coach Neu and the rest of his staff.
Lamar Anderson is certainly an intriguing prospect to look at, and projects to be on the offensive side of the ball as a skill position player. Another thing to note on the offensive side of the ball is that receivers in this class averages 6'4", 220 lbs., which should make life easy for current starter Riley Neal. One notable area is that there were no notable offers for running backs. It seems that the Cards are content with James Gilbert for now.
On defense, depth was an issue, and it was very well addressed. Ball State yielded one of the worst defenses in the nation last year, and the emphasis on stopping plays before they start has clearly been shown in their signings today. JUCO signees Chris Crumb and Reggie McCoy will be names to look out for in the near future.
While this class might not map out immediate success for Ball State, it could set up a foundation for the future successes of the program. We'll just have to wait and see how they develop in Coach Neu's system.