January 5, 2011

Signing Day Storylines

With about a month until national signing day, the Central Michigan football program has recruiting in full swing as they look to finish up their class. CMU currently sits at 17 commitments and they are expected to sign a class that exceeds 20, especially after a few roster losses. With a month left, we take a look at five storylines that could affect the Chippewas come signing day.

1) Who will replace QB coach Jay Johnson?

-Johnson left after one year as quarterbacks coach at CMU to take over the role of offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at the University of Lousiana Lafayette. While Johnson was instrumental in CMU landing Ithaca (Mich.) QB Alex Niznak, his primary recruiting ground was Detroit and Atlanta. While the search has just begun, some of the names ChippewaCountry has speculated include former CMU GA and current Ashland assistant coach Jeff Kastl, current CMU GA and former Cincinnati quarterback Gino Guidugli and Morris Watts, the offensive coordinator for now ex-Pittsburgh coach Mike Haywood.

2) Florida Fever!

-CMU fans have pointed to the Chippewas lack of Sunshine State recruiting over the past year, but that is simply a product of the Florida HS football season and players not being able to take visits until after their season. But January is going to see its usually influx of Florida visitors to Mount Pleasant as the weekends of January 14th and January 21st will be bringing in a host of Florida athletes for their official visits. ChippewaCountry has already confirmed that WR's Andrew Flory, Sean McVay and CB Courtney Hall will be making visits while DE's Robert Way and David Tinsley have also mentioned CMU as a possible official visit. It is expected that more names will emerge as well.

3) CMU benefitting from coaching changes

-It's hard to remember an off-season with so much coaching turmoil, and for once the Chippewas are not a major reason for that. After years of being poached upon after losing their head coach, CMU is finally in a position to reverse the role, and they have already benefitted by grabbing Warren (Mich.) Cousino tight end Ben McCord after he de-committed from Ball State following a coaching change. Numerous other prospects could be affected by coaching changes including OL Kyle Lints, RB's Thomas Rawls and Kevin Monangai, and ATH Marquise Vann, who will now have committed to two schools who have lost their head coach.

4) Rawls or Monangai?

-It is expected that Central Michigan will take one more running back in the 2011 class, and it is their hope that a commitment will come from one of these two very similar runners. Both bring power, elusiveness and a good amount of speed, and both are highly regard as three star running backs. However, with only one month until signing day both have kept their cards low and not tipped their hands to where they are going, and it is believed that both were waiting on in-state BCS schools (Michigan and Rutgers) before pulling the trigger elsewhere. Regardless, if CMU were to land one of these backs it would be a major catch at a needed position.

5) What darkhorses will emerge?

-One name that ChippewaCountry has been hearing a lot lately is Waukesha (Wisc.) West athlete Matt Losiniecki. The 6-foot-3 and 261 pound athlete took a visit to CMU in December and is being looked at by a host of schools to play defensive end. CMU has scored big from the state of Wisconsin in the past, and Losiniecki has all the intangibles to be a great player, including a senior season that saw him rack up 92 tackles and 17 sacks.

Other players to keep an eye on from a state that has paid early dividends to CMU: Illinois. The Chippewas have waltzed into Illinois and connected a pipeline under Dan Enos as they have already picked up three commitments from the Dan LeFevour state. WR Titus Davis, TE Tim Gorski and DB Travis Starks already have official visits set up while other CMU prospects such as OL Peyton Eckert , OL Patrick Mulroe and QB Jud Wienke could also be options. As expected when Dan Enos took over, Illinois and the Chicago are in particular became a major recruiting ground, and major credit has to be given to CMU assistant coaches Kirby Cannon and Mike Cummings for rolling up their sleeves in Illinois.

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