EMU Takes 2023 MAC Recruiting Title
Eastern Michigan ousts Buffalo as the MAC's top recruiting class for the 2023 cycle.
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Now’s a good time to admit something. For a long time, I never thought today would happen. Or at least not now.
Today, Friday, February 2, 2023, is the first time any of us has ever seen Eastern Michigan hold the recruiting title belt after Signing Day. While 247sports composite scores added up to read Buffalo with the MAC’s #1 recruiting class on Wednesday, some new math suggests that it’s EMU that actually won the recruiting title on Signing Day.
By 247sports composite scores, EMU’s total recruiting score sat at 154.84 without the individual ranking of tight end Gabe Hoffmann, a Washington state-based recruit that was last of the group to sign his national letter of intent Wednesday. At the time of his signing, the TE was unranked. But now, his profile has been re-worked to have a three-star rating (comp: 0.8450), and is the #68 tight end in the country — the highest-graded player at his position to come into the MAC. (I said this same thing yesterday about two other EMU signees, didn’t I?)
Nationally, EMU’s team ranking is improved to #83 — the program’s highest mark ever. Buffalo sits at #84 in the country.
Of the top 25 signees (based on their recruiting scores) coming into the MAC this year, EMU has seven of those players.
Top 25 2023 MAC high school signees, by 247sports comp.:
OT, Kellen McDonough (0.8750, EMU)
WR, Chase Hendricks (0.8600, Ohio)
DL, Sid Kaba (0.8594, WMU)
WR, Jevell Fugerson (0.8585, Buffalo)
OT, Jacob Booth (0.8567, CMU)
RB, Rickey Hunt Jr. (0.8559, Ohio)
OT, Terrance Saunders (0.8550, EMU)
OT, Mason Ludwig (0.8533, Toledo)
S, Tracy Revels (0.8525, BGSU)
ATH, Tyler Jefferson (0.8517, CMU)
LB, Dion Crawford (0.8500, Buffalo)
RB, Christian Davis (0.8497, Ball State)
WR, Joseph Walker Jr. (0.8497, EMU)
DL, Kobi Gorman (0.8492, Ohio)
DL, Wayne Peart (0.8489, Toledo)
Edge, Brent Hoppe (0.8486, CMU)
DL, Laith Shamma (0.8478, Toledo)
LB, Christian McKinney (0.8475, Miami)
WR, Shatavious Hogan (0.8470, CMU)
RB, Deion Brown (0.8450, EMU)
TE, Gabe Hoffmann (0.8450, EMU)
WR, Shawn Thigpen (0.8439, BGSU)
LB, Andrew Marshall (0.8437, Ohio)
This is the second time this recruiting season that EMU has reached the top spot. While the first time was just for a brief moment. In early August, the Eagles received a trio of commitments from running back Deion Brown, defensive tackle Mark Tullis, and cornerback Daiquan White to push the team, at the time, over the top to #1 in the recruiting rankings.
The 11-player class, at the time, was in the conference lead with 109.87 recruiting points, and it was still reeling in the excitement from defensive end Messiah Blair’s commitment. Blair, from Detroit, is the highest-rated Michigan-based recruit to ever join the program.
When EMU got to have its recruiting moment in the sun, the team didn’t have its 2022 season yet. EMU didn’t have a nine-win season yet and that bowl win over San Jose State wasn’t in anybody’s imaginations yet. Heck, the Toledo loss — a 3-point game that kept EMU from going to the MAC Championship game in Detroit for its first time ever — didn’t happen yet.
A month before the season began, I wrote this:
[S]mell some roses for a moment. Seriously. Winning games in the fall matter more than anything, I agree, but EMU just had a hot summer full of wins on the recruiting trail. You should enjoy this moment.
This will be Chris Creighton’s ninth season leading this Eastern Michigan program, and there have been so many improvements made to this place over his tenure. New infrastructure, new playing field, new branding, new identity, all these new makeups for a good football program are all well and good, but last night is what all the previous investments from fans and boosters have been wanting to build toward.
Yes, a shiny MAC championship trophy to finally have showcased in Ypsilanti is the one, tangible thing everybody wants to see at the end of the day. But what has to happen first before a school like EMU can have something nice like a league title?
Seems like the answer is that Eastern simply needs to win a championship on the recruiting trail first.
Well, National Signing Day’s behind us, and EMU won a championship on the recruiting trail. Now it’s time for these kids to work towards the ultimate prize.
What honestly makes me excited about this is our track record with development being pretty solid. I'd have to think that not only are these guys talented, but also they'll fit our system well or we'll adapt the system to them, and they'll have a good shot at realizing their potential here. I could be wrong of course, and it's entirely possible that many of these guys won't work out. But the other great thing is that we don't need a lot of the younger guys to work out right away because of the amount of depth we're bringing back this year. The bar is going to be higher in 2023 than it ever has been here, and I think that's reasonable considering the past few months.