MAC Recruiting Battles: 2021 Class

I don’t know about you, but I spend a lot of time looking at recruiting rankings. More time than I should. I still get pulled in by them. It’s fun to pull anecdotal observations from them. Who decided to spend time in Florida? Who dipped into the JUCO pool? All recruits will need to be made better and used correctly for the 247 rankings to mean anything. 

Let’s ignore all that and get worked up over the decisions made by high school athletes.

The Recruiting Battles

Wins and losses are a bit wonky. With every recruit 11 wins against MAC teams are possible. With every player that goes somewhere else, that’s one loss. They don’t really get into why, but they do tell what happened. Wins mean that a player selected one MAC school over others. 

Losses are similar. For any number of reasons, a player chose another school. Each individual choice can have individual reasons, but over the entire class some things can hold true. In general though, I’m dropping a ton of nuance out of this discussion. Take it with a grain of salt.

Miami got their guy. All the time. They had 53 wins and 20 losses. The only team that beat them head to head for recruits was Ohio, 2 to 1. If a recruit had a bunch of MAC offers to choose from, chances are they picked the Redhawks. 

It’s obviously not 100% true. Twenty players selected another institution of higher learning, but the players that are going to Miami had plenty of opportunity to go elsewhere.

Kent State and Akron had a really tough go for 2021 recruiting. Kent State surprises me more than Akron here. No offense Akron. 

The Golden Flashes were not selected over other MAC offers very often, only picking up 9 wins. The existing classes at both schools are small and there is some time before the final signing day, but both schools need to get moving. Maybe Sean Lewis is out of Kent State before a small down class can have its consequences.

Recruiting: Rivalry Edition

Everyone keeps tabs on their rivals. Losing recruits to rivals can sting. Lose too many recruits to the “other school” and it can be one more log on the fire heating that seat. 

There were no blow outs this year. Last year almost all of the rivalry recruiting battles were one sided. This cycle, the most lopsided rivalry was Western Michigan besting Eastern Michigan 5 recruits to 2. 

Toledo and Bowling Green are in different stages of building their teams but the recruiting battle between the two went to Toledo 8 to 7. The eight that went to Toledo might be slightly higher in 247 ratings than the 7 headed to BGSU, but the difference is not so large that the Falcons were losers here. It’s all fun and games until the top prized recruit transfers.

WMU did hold serve against both of their rivals this year. Narrow against both. The gap to EMU was the widest this year and CMU rivalry was won only 7-5. Same rule applies as above, the only thing that matters is who sees playing time. Wins today for players that never make the field ultimately mean nothing. 

The other rivalry battles were all really close for numbers. I don’t know about the quality that went to each side, but here are the other notable rivalries:

  • Akron and Kent State tied at 3 recruits each.
  • Ohio beat Miami 2-1.
  • NIU beats Ball State 2-0.

All the Offers

I compiled the non MAC offers that every recruit had and put them into three groups. Power 5 offers, other Group of 5 offers, and FCS offers. I had some fun thinking about what each level of offers means. I came away thinking the top group is the most important group. 

An offer is somewhat an indicator of talent evaluation. A power 5 school would not offer a scholarship to a player that had no opportunity to at least develop into a usable player, in that coach’s opinion. 

As you move lower in the divisions of football, schools are well served to take their chance. A player with a bunch of P5 offers and FCS offers does not make him a mixed bag. It makes him a P5 player that a bunch of lower division schools took a chance on.

The Popularity Contest

If we look at the total offers, and the level they were at, as some level of confirmation about the talent level of that player, Toledo really stands out. Toledo has 23 recruits, the most in the MAC, and has the most P5 offers. 

If P5 and G5 offers are considered, their players gained 33 more than the next highest group. Twenty six P5 offers is impressive for a MAC recruiting class, but almost more impressive to me is that they have 9 players that at least one P5 coach thought were worth a scholarship offer. There are a lot of players in each team’s class where that is not the case.

The only team whose recruits gained more P5 and G5 scholarship offers on average was Buffalo. They had the highest average of any team. Good on Buffalo for getting players with plenty of competition. If Coach Leipold sticks around and gets the recruiting side up to par with the development side of their program, Buffalo will turn into a beast.

The MAC Players

Reduced down to MAC offers only, Bowling Green’s recruits averaged the highest number of offers. The top group of Toledo, Miami, Ohio, Buffalo, and Bowling Green were all 3.5 or higher. 

Akron, Kent State, and NIU all were under 2 average offers. That’s not great. If they are signed to one of the three they already had one. It seems that Kent State and Akron are looking for diamonds in the rough and NIU recruited in a totally different way or area than the rest of the MAC. Their group of recruits had very little overlap with the majority of the MAC.

In Akron’s class 8 of their 13 players only had an Akron offer. 

Recruits and their Offers

Lets see who in this group wins the MAC Freshman of the year award. Whoever wins it must have the opportunity to see the field and be very talented. 

The highest rated recruit signed with Toledo. Trenton Adkins is listed as an athlete and played running back and outside linebacker for his high school team.

He chose Toledo over Arizona State, Maryland, UNC, Penn State, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. If Toledo has him as a running back he’s in a good place. Supplement Koback, learn from a very productive running back, and step into the shoes. He may not get the playing time though. The rest of the running back room in Toledo are no slouches.

The rest of names to know that gathered at least 6 P5 offers were:

  • Irone Jackson, CMU, ATH – 7: Duke, Florida St, Georgia, NC State, Nebraska, UNC, Pitt
  • Quillen Howze, Buffalo, ATH – 6: Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan St, Minnesota, Missouri, Pitt
  • Jace Williams, Miami, WR – 6: Boston College, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan St, Nebraska

Skyy Moore won FotY with offers from WMU, Rice, Howard, and Robert Morris. Anyone can win the award.

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