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February 4 was national signing day. This is when high school football players across the country can sign a letter of intent to play at the school of their choice once offered a scholarship. The Central Michigan recruiting class is a 30 man class ranking eighth in the MAC according to Rivals.com, but the class addressed key depth issues and could be full of potential playmakers on both sides of the ball.
Central needed to address the defense after last year’s performance. The defense was 104th in total defense in a 119 division team conference, giving up 51 touchdowns and nearly 424 yards per game. Giving up a lot of those yards was a pass defense that ranked 118th. The addition of three star safety Shamari Benton of Birmingham, MI, to the secondary could help immediately, while standout linebackers Will Schwarz of Troy, MI, and Alex Smith of Barrington, IL, could shore up the front seven.
The Chippewa’s were quite the opposite on offense in 2008, ranking 23rd in total offense with an average output of almost 424 yards per game. To help keep the offense going strong in the future, Central dipped into a few states down south for some speedy talent. Lauderhill, FL, athlete Ronnie Kennedy was rated the highest in the class by Rivals.com. Kennedy is an athlete, but could see the field early as a slot wide receiver or situational back because of his speed. Kennedy also had offers from traditional southern powers Auburn and South Carolina. D.J. Scott of Frederick, MD, could also see time because of his speed and because of his early enrollment to CMU, which means he will participate in spring ball and have a better knowledge of the offense going into the fall.
The offense will also have a solid foundation on the offensive line, which brought in offensive guard Jeff Fantuzzi from Macomb, MI. Central also brought in what could be a sleeper in offensive tackle Eric Fisher from Rochester Hills, MI. Fisher has great size at 6 foot 8 inches tall and weighs in at 260. “Coach Jones said that I could get up to 290, 295 or maybe even 300. Coach also said that I should come in with the mentality to compete and start immediately” said Fisher. Why Fisher chose Central? “I really liked the atmosphere and thought the people were friendly and liked the recent winning tradition”.
Central wasn’t the only MAC team on the recruiting trail. According to Rivals.com, Kent State earned the best class of recruits in the MAC with a class of 23 players, five being three stars and one four star. Arch rival Western Michigan had the sixth ranked class with 25 commits. Finally defending MAC champion Buffalo had the 11th ranked class with a crop of 23 incoming players.
All in all Central should be pretty satisfied with this class. They added some key pieces to this team, shoring up depth along the offensive and defensive lines and bringing in some potential difference makers that could keep the Chippewa’s in contention for the MAC championship for years to come.
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