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EMU adds another JUCO defender
Which incoming transfers for EMU should make the biggest impact on the team?
Welcome to The Ypsilanti Eleven! We’re going to talk some recruiting today. Specifically, we have to hit on a long-overdue update on QB Drew Viotto (2023), since he eventually flipped his commitment to Minnesota after he was originally EMU’s early get. That’s just how the college football ecosystem works, I suppose.
A junior college cornerback announced that he’s about to join EMU too, and CMU lost RB Kobe Lewis to Purdue — a huge blow to what could have been one of the best RB duos in the MAC.
2023: QB Drew Viotto flipped from EMU to Minnesota
During my personal hiatus from the newsletter, some big news happened in the 2023 recruiting cycle.
Drew Viotto, Walled Lake Western’s “Canadian Cannon” QB was originally committed to sign with Eastern Michigan, but he’s since flipped his commitment to his current teammate and running back Darius Taylor. On May 27, Viotto announced that he flipped his commitment from EMU to Minnesota, led by P.J. Fleck.
Viotto’s the No. 54 rated QB in the 2023 cycle by 247sports composite (.8547), and No. 18 player in Michigan. His friend, Taylor, is the third-highest-rated recruit in Minnesota’s 2023 class (No. 503 nationally, No. 34 RB, No. 12 Mich.). Viotto’s relationship with
Minnesota offered Viotto after watching him throw in a down pour. Similar to how he stuck it out at Western, others may have canceled that work out or moved it inside, but Viotto did not complain one bit and went out and threw the ball as if it was 70 degrees and sunny. And he truly excelled in that workout. He threw it extremely well. The mettle and the intangibles he showed then were arguably just as impressive as the velocity or spin on the ball though. He has been a diligent worker throughout his career. He definitely loves football and is dedicated to the craft.
What stings about this flip is that Viotto hadn’t visited Minnesota’s campus yet. But if Taylor’s commitment to Minnesota is enough to sway, then maybe it makes sense why Viotto changed things up as soon as he did.
Viotto is currently Minnesota’s only QB commit.
While the recruiting loss is a huge blow to EMU’s 2023 recruiting class, hopefully the coaching staff was able to make the most out of its time recruiting in June to find a new answer for its 2023 QB1. Whoever the answer to that will end up being, we probably won’t find out any time soon.
Class of 2023 Commits
DL, Malik Tullis (Creekside / Fairburn, Ga.)
DL, Luke Fletcher (Port Huron Northern / Port Huron, Mich.)
S, Jaivian Norman (Springfield / Springfield, Ohio)
JUCO: EMU adds Coffeyville CB
Yesterday, EMU received a commitment out of defensive back Keylen Gulley.
Gulley, from Largo, Fla., played his first two years of college ball at Coffeyville Community College. He was originally committed to sign with Iowa out of high school, but decommitted from the program in June 2020.
By 247sports composite, Gulley (Largo HS) was a three-star recruit (.8430), No. 119 rated CB, No. 174 player in Florida. Already listed on the EMU roster, Gulley’s listed at 6’0, 175 lbs.
When EMU looked for talent to improve its defense over the offseason, it was able to get two linebackers to be happy with through the transfer portal during the early signing period, then kept building up its defensive line and cornerback with junior college transfers. Joshua Scott (City College of San Francisco) was added to the team in time for spring to earn some playing time in March and April. Gulley’s the second CB to be added via the JUCO route.
The CB room at Eastern also returns preseason All-MAC selection (by Athlon) Kempton Shine, Isaiah Watson, Corry Thomas Jr., Mark Lee Jr., and Myles McNeal.
Transfer Portal Update: June 21, 2022
Which transfers could make biggest impact for EMU?
A prompt as old as time: rank some stuff.
Let’s rank incoming transfer portal additions on EMU’s roster by their potential impact with the team. I don’t really know if this is a thing we can measure smartly, but let’s give it a shot anyway.
QB Taylor Powell (Troy) — Obviously, we have to put the quarterback up here. Powell’s ability to work a pass-friendly offense with tempo looks like it could be good enough to not see much of a setback from what Ben Bryant, back at Cincinnati, was able to do. If Powell does well, then the whole team’s better for it.
LB Joe Sparacio (Boston College) — Sparacio’s a Naples, Fla.-based linebacker that’s in Ypsilanti for a grad transfer season. He played a lot in the team’s spring game, and Phil Steele has him listed as a preseason All-MAC honoree.
LB Chase Kline (Michigan State) — EMU needs help at linebacker after Terry Myrick’s graduation, and simply needing more talent. Kline felt his time at Michigan State was cut too short, so now he’s inspired to do some damage for Eastern Michigan’s defense.
OL Carson Lee (Colorado) — Lee was a 2020 signee who chose Colorado over a bunch of others. Arizona, Arizona State, Boise State, Colorado State, Duke, Indiana, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Purdue, Utah, Virginia, Washington State, Wyoming, and Yale all offered, per his 247sports page. That said, he played in just two games (7 snaps total) last year, so the center hit the portal and wound up at EMU. Maybe he’ll be the answer to fill-in at center after Mike Van Hoeven’s graduation?
WR Hamze El-Zayat (Fordham) — The WR room at EMU is already pretty deep, so it’s hard to guess where any incoming receivers will contribute in 2022. El-Zayat transferred in time to join the team for the spring. With Fordham, El-Zayat was the team’s leading receiver in 2019 (62 rec., 642 yards, 4 TD), the start of a three-year starting career. El-Zayat’s a local guy, who played his high school ball in Dearborn (Fordson).
K Brady Pohl (Oklahoma State) — Jesus Gomez was the team’s only kicker through the spring, but now EMU’s added two more, including Pohl. Pohl joined Oklahoma State in 2019 as a walk-on. In 2020, he went 17-19 on extra points and 5-9 on field goals (long: 38).
RB Jaylon Jackson (Lamar) — Jackson’s a smaller-sized player listed at 5’8, 170, but the speed element from this guy is real. He was Lamar’s leading rusher last year with 309 yards on 87 carries, but he showed some explosiveness as a kick returner with an average of 21.1 yards per return. It’ll take some creativity to get him the ball in open space on offense, but that’ll be the key in using this running back.
DE Sterling Miles (Cincinnati) — Miles is a local kid (West Bloomfield) that was the No. 36 rated recruit out of Michigan in the 2020 recruiting cycle. MIles didn’t see the field in his two season with Cincinnati.
WR Isaac Smith (Wisconsin) — Smith was a former all-state recruit from Memphis, Tenn., and did not see the field in his two years at Wisconsin. Out of high school (St. George’s-Collierville), Smith was Tennessee’s No. 36-rated recruit, No. 183 WR nationally.
Vidal Scott flips to Texas Tech
In my last piece before going on a month-long hiatus, I profiled Vidal Scott, who was set to transfer to Eastern Michigan from Arkansas State.
During my hiatus, Scott flipped his plans.
Instead, Scott will play his final year of college ball in the Big 12, for Texas Tech.
Again, stinks for the EMU fans that were really looking forward to his presence along the defensive interior, but it’s for Scott that he’s able to play in a Power 5 league instead.
CMU loses Kobe Lewis to Purdue
Central Michigan’s RB2, Kobe Lewis, recently transferred to play in Jeff Brohm’s offense at Purdue. Lewis was expected to be CMU’s RB2 this year behind Lew Nichols (2020 MAC Freshman of the Year, 2021 MAC Offensive Player of the Year), and help lead the team’s offense as a strong RB duo.
As a sophomore in 2019, Lewis was second on the team with 1,074 rushing yards (behind Jonathan Ward’s 1,108), started all six games in 2020 and was the team’s second-leading rusher again with 468 yards (Nichols 508), then missed all of 2021 with a knee injury.
Lewis finishes his CMU career with 1,579 rush yards on 297 carries (5.3 avg.), 18 TD, 270 receiving yards on 40 catches, and 1 rec. TD.
I was already entering this season a little bit skeptical of CMU rushing attack in 2021 with the NFL graduations of offensive linemen Luke Goedeke and Bernhard Raimann, and now Lewis’ departure may or may not be another big blow to this group. I’m not going to assume I know why Lewis left CMU or if Purdue’s RB room desperately needs his help. But what I can confidently say is that Nichols is the MAC’s best running back since Kareem Hunt, and Lewis, a year older, wasn’t going to re-take the starting role.