'That's Kind of Big': 2023 DE Messiah Blair is EMU's Highest-Rated Recruit Ever
At a towering 6'7, Detroit-based DE Messiah Blair is a historic commitment for the Eagles' program.
Eastern Michigan made a program-setting splash on Saturday. Three-star DE Messiah Blair, class of 2023 recruit (Detroit, Mich. / Martin Luther King HS) tweeted out his decision to go to EMU over 23 other schools, including four schools currently in the Power 5.
Blair, with a 247sports composite ranking of 0.8693, is currently the highest-rated recruit in the program’s history (and the history of formal recruiting rankings). The program’s highest-rated recruit until Blair signs his letter of intent is (or was?) QB Brogan Roback, who had a 247sports composite rating of 0.8662.
By the current standings, Blair’s current composite ratings have him as the #14 player in Michigan, #60 positionally, and #726 nationally. On MLive’s list of its top 50 recruits in the state, Blair shows up at #13.
Ten years ago when Roback made his decision to come to EMU, the future looked bright, and full of big throws for the offense. Blair, currently listed at 6-foot-7, 223 lbs., has the future of setting up a wall along the edge and chase down the Robacks of the world.
If you saw the news in real-time on Saturday, you might’ve had the same reaction Blair had. Minutes after he tweeted out his commitment, recruiting analyst Allen Trieu pointed out that Blair would be EMU’s highest-rated recruit ever.
“That actually caught me off-guard.” Blair told me. “I even told coach Creighton and coach Needham, like, 'I'm the highest-rated recruit to go to Eastern? That's kind of big.'“
Blair, a Detroit native, currently suits up for one of the top high school programs in the state. Martin Luther King High School is talked about more in the national recruiting realm because of its 5-star quarterback Dante Moore, who recently committed to Oregon. Two of Blair’s fellow senior teammates, OL Johnathan Slack and DE Kenneth Merrieweather are headed to Big Ten schools in Michigan State and Iowa, respectively, and CB Jahmeel Croft is uncommitted but currently holds 22 offers, EMU included.
For EMU, getting some quality wins on the recruiting trail in Detroit is important, so getting news like this is huge for both the program and Blair.
Committing to EMU now, rather than dragging out the recruiting process any longer, Blair said, was a stress reliever.
“Now I can just focus on my team,” he said.
Blair attributes his relationship with the coaching staff as the biggest factor in his decision to choose Eastern Michigan over Akron, Alabama A&M, Ball State, Bethune-Cookman, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Central Michigan, Cincinnati, Eastern Illinois, Eastern Kentucky, Iowa, Kansas, Kent State, Marshall, Maryland, Miami OH, Morgan State, Northern Illinois, Ohio, Purdue, Toledo, Western Michigan, and Youngstown State.
“It's the coaches that stood out. Basically, my biggest relationship was with Eastern… I know I was locked in with the coaches, and the coaches were locked in with me. So that's what really stood out to me, the relationships.”
Blair made some visits in his recruiting process, but only two officials were made to MAC schools in late June. First Buffalo, then Eastern.
“The vibe with Eastern, you know, it's just comfortable. I went on two officials. When I was at Buffalo... I didn't feel comfortable, honestly. It didn't feel like a home. But when I went to Eastern, it just felt like home,” Blair said.” “I just feel way more comfortable there than going out of state. At first, I wanted to go away from Michigan, I didn't want to stay close to home. But then that started to really to stand out when I got to thinking about my family coming to all my games and I can come home whenever I really need to.”
Blair can now consider this chapter of his life closed and focus on finishing out his senior year at King.
Last year, King went 13-1 to win the Division I state title over DeWitt. With so many heavy hitters, including the aforementioned 5-star QB in Moore, Blair’s attention is now shifted to running it back with his teammates. As he told me, right now his immediate schedule is: practice, lift, practice, lift.
“It's going to take that to get another ring, so right now I'm just putting in the hard work with my team… that's my main focus right now: get another ring with my team. I've got all the recruiting and stuff out of the way, I'm happy that's out the way, that took away a lot of stress so now it's just the team.”
With EMU’s biggest recruit of all time committed, there are now eight committed to the program, three are in-state guys.
Class of 2023 Commits
DE, Messiah Blair — Detroit Martin Luther King HS (MI) / 247sports composite: 3-star, 0.8693
DT, Mark Tullis — Creekside HS (GA) / 3-star, 0.8267
DE, Luke Fletcher — Port Huron Northern HS (MI) / 3-star, 0.8094
S, Jaivian Norman — Springfield HS (OH) / 3-star, 0.8000
TE, Cedric Anton — Rabun Gap-Nacoochee HS (GA) / NR
CB, Caleb Dobbs — Cocoa HS (FL) / NR
LB, Bryce Eliuk — Linden HS (MI) / NR
OL, Trenton VanBoening Libertyville HS (IL) / NR