Holland (Mich.) West Ottawa High School has produced some very good football players over the years, including current CMU Quarterback Grant Arnoldink. Offensive Tackle Ryan McDonald
(6-5, 260) should be the next Panther to play at the Division I-A college level.
McDonald is getting a lot of interest these days from Big Ten and MAC schools. This summer, he attended 10 football camps, including one at CMU June 21st when he received his first scholarship offer.
"At the end of the day (CMU Head) Coach (Mike) DeBord offered me a scholarship and I was like, 'Wow,'" McDonald said. "Coach DeBord seems like such a great guy, I really like him. All the CMU coaches seemed very enthusiastic to be there and the facilities are great too."
No doubt the Chippewas would love to sign McDonald, but he has a dream he's pursuing.
"My dream has always been to play in the Big Ten, preferably for Illinois
," McDonald said.
McDonald's father Phil started for three years at center for the Fighting Illini from 1974-76 and Ryan said he'd like to follow in his father's footsteps playing for Illinois.
So far, Illinois and other Big Ten schools like Michigan State
have not offered McDonald a scholarship, although he has an official visit scheduled with Illinois for Dec. 12th.
"I'm definitely going to wait and see what happens," McDonald said. "I'll probably wait until football season begins or maybe even after the season before I make a decision."
McDonald said he really likes CMU too and he'd hate to lose an opportunity to play for them if he doesn't get any Big Ten offers and another lineman takes the CMU scholarship in the meantime.
He currently lists Illinois, CMU, MSU, Northwestern and Purdue
as his top five.
"It is difficult knowing that opportunity (to play at CMU) might slip away," McDonald said. "Coach (John) Janzek has been doing a great job recruiting me."
McDonald is an excellent student who carries a 3.99 GPA and plans to study engineering in college. His quickness, strength and agility make him a Div. I-A offensive line prospect.
He said he'd like to schedule his other four official visits, including one at CMU. In the meantime though, McDonald is preparing for his senior year at West Ottawa, where he hopes the Panthers can win a championship in the O-K Conference.
"We should be pretty good," McDonald said. "We only lost four or five seniors from last year's team."
Central Michigan University has targeted offensive linemen for the 2004 recruiting class. With three verbal commitments already, the Chippewas would like to add one more lineman to complete the class. One of the best in the the state is a product of the same school as current CMU Quarterback Grant Arnoldink.
Chippewas pursue West Ottawa product.
Ryan McDonald blocks against Zeeland.