Taking a look at football recruiting around the Mid-American Conference early in the recruiting period, a few things have stood out. One, quarterbacks are an obvious priority as 6 of the 13 teams in the MAC have already added a signal caller to their 2011 class. Two, Ball State and Central Michigan are off to hot starts with 8 and 7 commitments respectively, Three, Eastern Michigan is struggling as much on the field as they are recruiting, and four, the chase for the top class in the MAC will be a tight one.
Top Prospect: DE Dylan Brumbaugh, Unionville Green (OH) -Brumbaugh just committed to the Zips last weekend over offers from Marshall and Youngstown State. He has good size at 6-foot-5 and 255 pounds, but probably is destined for the interior of the defensive line once he hits campus.
Player They Would Love to Add: The MAC has been a quarterback driven league for years now, and although the Zips have a bright future with sophomore Patrick Nicely, they would love to add Dublin Coffman (OH) signal called Cole Stoudt. Stoudt is ranked as the No. 17 pro style quarterback in the nation and has early offers from Arizona State, Colorado, South Florida and Cincinnati to go along with his MAC offers, but with Cincinnati already having a 2011 QB commit, Akron may be able to play the home state angle.
Top Prospect: The Cardinals have done all their work in the states of Indiana and Ohio, and one of their early pickups is offensive lineman Tyler Rayburn. Rayburn is a 6-foot-4 and 270 pound lineman who just committed to Ball State recently over an offer from Iowa State. He plays tackle in high school, but was recruited to Muncie as a guard.
Player They Would Love to Add: The Cardinals were granted some terrific news when running back Miquale Lewis was granted another year of eligibility, but he will be gone next season and there is always a need for talented players in the backfield. Enter Joliet Catholic (IL) athlete Josh Ferguson, a three star back who is ranked as the No. 23 player in the state of Illinois. He doesn't have great size (5-foot-10, 175 pounds), but he's quick and makes plays. Ferguson holds offers from Illinois, Toledo, Ball State, Memphis, East Carolina and Ohio among others.
Top Prospect: While Bowling Green only has two commits thus far, it's a solid pair. Alex Huettel is a 6-foot-4 and 275 pound offensive lineman from Pickerington North (OH) and he chose the Falcons over offers from Central Michigan, Toledo, Buffalo and Akron.
Player They Would Love to Add:Linebacker Percy Johnson is a 6-foot-1 and 220 pound wrecking ball that also happens to run a 4.56 forty and have a vertical jump of 36 inches. He's a tremendous athlete that is a three star prospect and ranks as the No. 38 inside linebacker in the country. He holds offers from Bowling Green, Ohio and Toledo, and is a bit of a sleeper having transferred from Madison Heights Madison (MI).
Top Prospect: Last weekend was a busy one for the Bulls as they added three prospects. One of them was three star quarterback Joe Licata from Williamsville South (NY). Licata is a 6-foot-3 QB who is ranked as the No. 8 player in New York and chose Buffalo over an offer from Syracuse.
Player They Would Love to Add:Using some of the recruiting strategies used under Brian Kelly at Central Michigan, new Buffalo head coach Jeff Quinn has made a concerted effort to add some talent from the southern states. The Bulls are also in need of some talented playmakers with WR Naaman Roosevelt and RB James Stark off to the NFL. Three star athlete D.J. Tyson is an electric playmaker from Groveton (GA), and while he lacks size, he is exactly the type of player who has thrived in the MAC over the years after being overlooked by the BCS conferences.
Top Prospect: Could go a number of ways here, but linebacker Tim Hamilton is a 6-foot-1 and 242 pound defensive athlete that could project at either linebacker or defensive end. He's been a tackling machine in high school and the three star prospect was flown way under the radar. He's going to be a good one down the line for the Chippewas.
Player They Would Love to Add: As the Chippewas shift to a little more run oriented offense, the need for some bigger backs who can move the chains will be needed. With 2009 leading rusher Bryan Schroeder leaving the team due to personal reason, CMU has a need for a between the tackles rusher. Flint Northern RB Thomas Rawls is exactly that, and the 5-foot-10 and 215 pound back is thought of as one of the top rushers in the Midwest. The three star prospect is ranked as the No. 14 player in the state of Michigan and also holds an offer from Cincinnati.
Top Prospect: It's been a tough summer for the Eagles so far, and they have yet to snag a commitment.
Player They Would Love to Add: Probably any player from the state of Michigan would suffice, as the Eagles have yet to make in-roads in Michigan under Ron English. One in-state player who has drawn an EMU offer early on and is flying under the radar is Traverse City St. Francis OL Kyle Lints. Lints is a three star guard who is ranked as the No. 22 player in Michigan and also holds an offer from Ball State.
Top Prospect: The Golden Flashes have added one commit in 5-foot-11 and 181 pound quarterback Evan Shimensky. That was Shimensky's only offer and only real FBS interest, but he's an impressive athlete that boasts a 4.56 forty, and more importantly, a 3.5 GPA. He's ranked as the No. 6 quarterback in the state of Ohio.
Player They Would Love to Add: Linebacker Deon Meadows is a three star linebacker who has drawn early offers from Kent State, Western Kentucky, Arkansas, Middle Tennessee State and Ohio. The Smyrna (TN) native is an active and athletic linebacker that lacks prototypical size (5-foot-11, 195 pounds), but is a flat out playmaker that is ranked as the No. 17 player in the state of Tennessee.
Top Prospect: Quarterback Andrew Kummer chose the Redhawks over Kent State, Marshall, Ohio and Youngstown State. He's 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds and although he is listed as a pro-style quarterback, also boasts a 4.8 forty and some athleticism. Kummer was reportedly the top QB on Miami (OH)'s board, and he has been very impressive during camps this summer.
Player They Would Love to Add: The Redhawks have a top running back on there mind and like a few other teams in the MAC, they are making the transition to a more balanced offense. RB Dante' Butler is a 5-foot-10 and 205 pound speedster from Brother Martin HS in New Orleans, Louisiana. He already boasts offers from Miami (OH), Northern Illinois, Tulane and Western Kentucky and is ranked as the No. 36 player in Louisiana. Another option could be underrated Cleveland Glenville (OH) back Robert Walton, who is flying way under the radar despite 4.5 speed and over 1,000 yards last season on a loaded team.
Top Prospect: The Huskies picked up an early commitment from quarterback Matt McIntosh from F.J. Reitz HS (IL). McIntosh impressed during some camps this summer and has good bloodlines as his brother signed with Army in 2008.
Player They Would Love to Add: For all the success head coach Jerry Kill has had in his few years in DeKalb, he has yet to put a fence up in the Huskies home state against other MAC teams. With such a rich recruiting turf just a short distance away in Chicago, adding a player such as three star offensive tackle Scott McDowell would be huge. McDowell is a 6-foot-5 and 280 pound left tackle prospect who holds offers from nearly every school in the MAC in addition to Illinois and Cincinnati. He is a three star prospect and was arguably one of the top two lineman at Michigan State's camp a few weeks ago.
Top Prospect: Easily linebacker Ben Russell, who has future All-MAC written all over him. Russell has just about everything you would want in a linebacker. He's 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds, runs a 4.6 forty, has a 4.3 shuttle time and a 3.5 GPA. Oh, and he also boasts in impressive offer list that includes Air Force, Akron, Ball State, Buffalo, Bowling Green, Kent State, Minnesota and Toledo. If he sticks with his commitment to Ohio, expect to see Russell's name on the All-MAC defense sooner than later.
Player They Would Love to Add: Quarterback is a position that has given the Bobcats issues in the past, and they haven't had a legit dual threat guy to run Frank Solich's offense in awhile. Derrius Vick is a 6-foot-2 and 180 pound signal caller from Southeast Lincoln, Nebraska, a place very familiar to Solich. Vick holds offers from Colorado State, Ohio, North Dakota State and South Dakota State, but you would be hard pressed to find another coach who had so many connections or information available to him in Nebraska in Solich, so it's apparent they like what they see in Vick.
Top Prospect: Of their six commitments so far, three are from defensive ends. Of those three, Brandon Chudnoff is the most highly regarded. Chudnoff is ranked as the No. 33 player in Pennsylvania and the 6-foot-1 and 230 pound end boasts a 33 inch vertical jump.
Player They Would Love to Add:Nick Rossi is a 6-foot and 230 pound linebacker who has the size and athleticism to start right away. He's a Riverside (PA) native and also has an offer from West Virginia, meaning the Owls are going to have to fight away a BCS offer if they want to keep him in Pennsylvania.
Top Prospect: Both of the Rockets two commitments reside on the offensive line, and they both have plenty of talent. Both Ethan Wirth and Kyle Cameron chose Toledo over multiple MAC offers and both are terrific prospects who can bolster the Rockets offensive line in the future. Wirth is a tackle at the next level and Cameron a guard, but both were impressive at camps this summer and would probably have drawn BCS offers later in the recruiting process.
Player They Would Love to Add:Toledo would love to add a player fellow MAC teams covet such as Cole Staudt, Josh Ferguson, Scott McDowell or Percy Johnson, but the player who could really make a splash would be athlete Ashton Gaines, a talented wide receiver/defensive back from Detroit Crockett (MI). Gaines is a three star prospect that is ranked as the No. 11 player in Michigan and the No. 67 athlete in the nation. Gaines also holds an offer from Iowa.
Top Prospect: The Broncos finished strong last year, and from the looks of things they are going to need another strong finish in 2011 as they have yet to receive their first commitment.
Player They Would Love to Add: Quarterback Jud Wienke. Wienke is a two star prospect who is basically tailor made for the Broncos offense and his only other offer is from Central Michigan, who has already has a 2011 QB commit and is unlikely to add another. Weinke has visited Kalamazoo numerous times and the 6-foot-3 and 225 pound prospect is the younger brother or current Iowa quarterback John Weinke.
While Weinke would be a great addition, for looks purposes the Broncos may also want to add massive offensive tackle Ben Davisson. Davisson is a 6-foot-10 and 310 pound tackle from Rensslear Central (IN) who is a two star prospect and easily one of the tallest tackles ever to receive a D-1 college football offer and Ben is also a standout on the basketball court. His brother, Terry, is currently a freshman at Western Michigan.
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