Discover more from The Ypsilanti Eleven
Handful of post-spring transfers out, and some thoughts on the NFL Draft
Four offensive players leave EMU while the team gains a young running back from the state of Texas.
Welcome to The Ypsilanti Eleven! The deadline for college football players everywhere to enter the transfer portal is coming up, which means late additions and removals are happening everywhere at this time of year. A lot of Eastern Michigan’s roster movement is happening on the offensive side of the ball.
Oh, and happy Draft day! Since the NFL Draft begins today (less than an hour, as of publication), I figured I’d share some passing thoughts for the big event.
For more EMU and MACtion topics to spruce up your emails, please be sure to follow along with your address below, and follow @YpsiEleven on Twitter.
Transfer Portal Update: April 28, 2021
RB Jaylon Jackson joins EMU, from Lamar
Some post-spring roster additions can finally start happening as the entire sport enters its summer-seasonal transition time. The deadline for current college players to enter their names into the transfer portal and still be eligible to play this season is May 1.
After that, players officially looking to transfer out will have to wait until 2023.
Part of the post-spring-but-still-pre-summer transition for Eastern Michigan includes the addition of some offensive players. Through the transfer portal, young running back Jaylon Jackson joined EMU on April 19.
Jackson is a sophomore back that played all six games for Lamar in his true freshman season in 2020, then 10 games (2 starts) last year. Last year, he was the team’s rushing leader with 309 yards on 87 carries and two touchdowns. He also caught 11 passes for 115 yards.
At 5-7, 167 lbs., Jackson will stand out for being listed as the smallest dude on the team.
Smallest dude on the team, but his versatility has a big upside that this team desperately needs. Samson Evans and Darius Boone are both guys that this offense uses in every-down situations to take the ball and just run straight ahead with their size and frames. But what’s lacking out of this position group is big-play ability in the pass game and on outside runs.
Could Jackson be a long-term piece to help solving those problems?
Jackson still has a redshirt year to give, so theoretically the newcomer could play in up to four games this season and maintain his sophomore status as he enters his fourth year of college.
Or, the running back could perform his way onto the field right away just like he did at Lamar, even if he’s not the feature back. Maybe he won’t get all of his playing time at running back, either. Maybe EMU will split him out into the slot? Maybe he’ll get to try his hand on special teams returns? Different guys get to do different things, so now’s the time for this offensive coaching staff to perhaps draw up something new that centers around the new, shifty running back on this team.
Three OL and a QB all transfer out
Four total players from Eastern’s offense hit the transfer portal over the last seven days. Three of those players were members of EMU’s 2020 freshman signing class — OL Coleon Smith, OL Jason Eaton, and QB Baron May. have all hit the transfer portal, each with four years of eligibility remaining.
Coleon Smith was a talented, in-state grab (Belleville) for EMU when the team was able to get him. Smith ended up not signing with Indiana since the team’s then-offensive coordinator Kalen DeBoer left the staff. While Smith did not play in 2020, he got into three games in 2021.
Jason Eaton was EMU’s highest-rated OL signee in 2020 as the No. 154 ranked tackle. Eaton, though, came from Tennessee and did not see any game action in his first two years on campus.
OL Cody Nawrot also hit the transfer portal with four years of eligibility remaining. As a newcomer with the team last year after he transferred in from Saint Francis U. (FCS), Nawrot saw action in four games as a redshirt year.
This year’s offensive line unit returns all of its starters from last year, minus center Mike Van Hoeven. From left to right, EMU can still plan to have LT Marcellus Johnson, LG Sidy Sow, C Richard Bates (played mostly at RG last year), RG Jake Donnellon (injured in season opener last year), and RT Brian Dooley as returning starters. Alex Howie would still be a returning starter with six made at RG last year in this lineup.
Baron May was the lone QB to sign with EMU out of high school (New Philadelphia, Ohio) and didn’t see the field in his two years either. Decent talent, but his future outlook with the team didn’t look like he was going any higher than the third or fourth option. If the spring game meant anything, then it looks like walk-on Christopher Kaminski may have passed May on the team’s depth chart too.
EMU Football’s projected QB depth chart
Christopher Kaminski or Cam’Ron McCoy
On the NFL Draft
Once Draft season got here, I only had one personal goal for myself. I didn’t want to read a single mock draft.
Back in, oh I don’t know, January I guess, I thought back on all the old mock drafts that I read before, knowing that all the new mock drafts would be coming out again. Who’s good? Who’s bad? Which experts do I feel like vibing with? What names can I throw out to help me look like a smart contrarian when I’m at the bar?
There’s some value to mock drafts, I’ll admit, but I don’t honestly consider myself any smarter about football when too much out there. No matter how well-intentioned the pieces may be, they’re usually said or written with points of views that are incredibly boring to me. I don’t care about what a certain team’s preferences are when it comes to certain players or positions, what their rules are, what the analytics say the rules should be, and nothing — and I mean nothing — is worse than bringing up everybody’s favorite combination of buzzwords: draft value.
Not reading or listening to mock drafts is excellent and I highly recommend it if you get the chance to. This year was a little easy for me to stay away from the mock drafts since my wife and I planned our own wedding, and I recently got back from a trip to Toronto to celebrate a great friend’s upcoming wedding through his bachelor party. I’ve never heard anybody be able to give me an elevator pitch to explain the city, but I think I’ve got a pitch. Toronto’s just a really big city with an even bigger love for dogs.
The NFL Draft will never happen in Toronto because 1. no football team, 2. Toronto doesn’t love sports the way Detroit fans desperately need the Lions to not fudge up the #2 pick tonight. A lot of Detroit fans are diehard Michigan fans at the same time, and sometimes the crossover gets to be a little bit too much, and maybe the #2 pick doesn’t absolutely have to be Aidan Hutchinson. Doesn’t necessarily have to be Kayvon Thibodeaux either. Those are just two guys but there are an elite handful of football players the Lions could rightfully draft. Those guys projected in the first 32 picks (or not), are in the top 1% of the top 1% of young adult men to wear football armor as a lifestyle, which is hilarious because we get to shrug our shoulders at our friends and say, without consequence, “I don’t know, I just don't think Kenny Pickett’s all that great.”
The Draft does not bring out the best of us. It forces us to assume without thought that the Draft is fine and good. Don’t let me be the first to remind you that the NFL Draft is undersold as an atrocity in its hiring processes, and it’s gross that so many talented players can’t join an open market like a normal college graduate entering the workforce. It’s not an NFL problem, it’s a problem across all sports. I love the Draft because, from my chair, I get to watch these guys have a special football-centric graduation, so to speak, into The League. If we were kids picking teams, the least-talented kid should be able to “pick” the most talented teammate possible to balance things out. But these kids are grown-ass men with families, kids, bills, and lives that deserve to be kept happy and inspired. Great for the guys who are happy to hear their names called, but make no mistake that the draft de-values every single top-level prospect coming out of college and into the league, and a player’s individual value towards a team only goes down with each pa$$ing draft pick.
I sort of like the Draft because it gives us a chance to say stupid things every once in a while, and sometimes we mean ‘em, sometimes we don’t. Things like “I love this Draft so much,” or “Who’s your favorite Draft pick?” or “I can’t wait for this thing to come to Detroit in two years!” One of my coworkers asked me who I think the Lions would take tonight. I had to remind him of my abstinence, but I also told him I’d probably cry human tears if we drafted [REDACTED] at No. 32.