February 8, 2009

ChippewaCountry.com MAC Rankings: 2009

As ChippewaCountry.com subscribers already know, the Rivals.com rankings are in no way an accurate reflection of how MAC schools recruited this year. This being considered, ChippewaCountry.com is taking a qualitative, rather than flawed quantitative, approach to analyzing the recruiting year of 2009 around the Mid-American Conference. Here's a list of the top classes in the Mid-American Conference.

1. CMU-Excluding the four walk-ons, the Chippewas landed the highest number of commits (30), two more than the next closest team (28), and over six more than the MAC average (23.7). CMU did an excellent job of assessing its needs along the offensive line and essentially anywhere on defense. CMU also landed the highest number of three-star prospects per team (7), according to Rivals.com.

2. Akron-The Zips were the surprise of 2009 with 6 three-star prospects, in addition to a 4-star prospect in Christopher Henderson. The Zips also expanded on their recruiting grounds by grabbing 3 three-stars from California in DB Diamond Weaver, DE Phil Tonga, WR Jeremy LaFrance. Akron also had a commit with a CMU offer in QB Patrick Nicely.

3. Kent State-The Golden Flashes were another surprise in the MAC. The Kent State coaches must have had their own separate office at Hargrave Military Academy, considering they landed FIVE prospects from the most notorious football academies in the country (DB Mike Daniels, ATH Tyshon Goode, WR Garrick Piggott, DB Darius Polk, and LB Kent Walker). However, Kent State also recruited well in-state, with 8 of 22 commits coming from Ohio.

4. Toledo-The Rockets had a very shaky start to their recruiting class, but they were able to close very well. In the last week and a half of the 2009 recruiting season, Toledo's staff performed mini coups in flipping former Ohio commit Dan Molls and luring Tallahassee Leon QB Austin Dantin away from Mt. Pleasant. Also, Toledo capitalized on the inexplicably lightly recruited Robert Bell out of East Grand Rapids.

5. Temple-The Owls brought in 28 commits, a stunning number considering how the program has performed recently. The Owls' staff is the third group of coaches on this list to target the Virginia Military Academies. The Owls also grabbed five commits from some combination of Fork Union, Hargrave, and Valley Forge Military Academy (DB Maurice Jones, WR Deon Miller, OL Ryan Murray, DTShauhid Paulhill, LB Geoffrey Prather). The 6-foot-6 Miller should make a nice redzone target for senior quarterback Adam DiMichele. A final testament to the strength of the Owls' class was their ability to withstand a last minute push by Ohio State on quarterback Chris Coyer.

6. Ohio-The headliner for Ohio's class is Jon Lechner, a 3-star OT who is ranked at #31 nationally at his position, and 3-star safety Xavier Hughes, who had a West Virginia offer.. The Bobcats also hit the Virginia military academy circuit by grabbing 3-star athlete Jelani Wosely and OT Skylar Allen from Fork Union Military Academy. The Bobcats two target positions were DB and offensive line, and they were successful at addressing these needs with a total of 10 out of 21 commits at the two positions.

7. Ball State-The Cardinals had difficulty translating all of their regular season success and media attention into a strong recruiting class. BSU had some nice gets, such as Aaron Mershman (CMU offer) and Jacob Green, who should be solid replacement for the graduated Darius Hill. Tailback Eric Williams was also a nice get (Louisville and Wake Forrest offers), but BSU only grabbed 24 commits and failed to address their front seven, which holds a number of juniors and seniors.

8. Miami (OH)-OL Jon Anevski and DT John Steele will be nice additions to the offensive and defensive lines of the Redhawks, and Pat Hinkel is a great sleeper for a MAC DB. With the exception of these three players, the Redhawks' regular season struggles followed them on the recruiting trail. Save for three commits from Texas and Louisiana, the Redhawks struggled to expand on their usual recruiting grounds in and around Ohio.

9. Bowling Green-The Falcons hold the biggest head scratcher of the 2009 MAC recruiting class in the always disruptive Dylan Farrington. BG also has another commit with a CMU offer in Austin Collier, a Standish prospect who CMU offered shortly after committing to BG. Another player who could contribute early for the Falcons are LB/TE Ronnie Goble, another prospect who nearly received a CMU offer. Although this class is not near the top of the MAC, the Falcons are making progress on the recruiting trail.

10. NIU-The headliner for the Huskies in 2009 is quarterback A.J. Hill, a 3-star signal caller whose offer lists consists of only NIU, EIU, and SIU. The Huskies did well to grab DB Chris Smith, a 3-star JUCO prospect with a CMU offer, and DE Anthony Wells, a 3-star prospect with NIU, EIU, Ball State, and Buffalo offers. Overall, Head Coach Jerry Kill cannot be satisfied with the kind of class he put together in his second go-around in DeKalb.

11. Buffalo-The defending MAC Champions also struggled on the recruiting trail in 2009. One has to wonder whether the constant media cloud over Head Coach Turner Gill had an effect on recruits. Also, Gill spent a significant amount of time interviewing for other positions, as opposed to spending this time recruiting. The star of the Bulls' class are DE Matt Jones, a 6-foot-1, 215 pound prospect right out of their backyard. Buffalo took a page out of CMU's recruiting handbook by grabbing RB Branden Oliver, a 5-foot-7 speedster out of Miami.

12. EMU-The Eagles staff struggled yet again in 2009. A coaching change made a bad recruiting situation worse. But, with the limited time he head, new head coach Ron English was able to go and get a few players that could help him build a program. LB Darius Moffett was a great addition, as he had offers from a number of solid programs such as Cincinnatti, Nebraska, and Louisville. DE Delano Johnson was another real steal for English, as he fielded Kansas State, Minnesota, and ECU offers. However, with only 22 commits, one has to figure that EMU needed to more athletes to a talent deprived program.

13. WMU-The Broncos adopted a very interesting strategy for their 2009 class. With desperate needs in their front 7, Western Michigan decided to focus on their offensive skill positions. 12 of WMU's 25 commits will play TE, WR, or RB. With the almost the entire WMU defense having graduated, the Broncos really needed to add more bodies up front than DT David Box (6-foot-2, 260-no other D-1 offers) and James Sandlin (Air Force was his only other offer). The only need that WMU adequately filled was along the offensive line (5 commits).

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