Chippewas Finalizing 2004 Recruiting Class

Raeshon Ball

New Central Michigan head football coach Brian Kelly and his staff have been working tirelessly in recent weeks to put the finishing touches on what appears to be an outstanding recruiting class. The Chippewas are scheduled to host four key recruits this weekend, one of whom has already announced his intention to play for CMU.

Cornerback Raeshon Ball (5-9, 175) of Stone Mountain (Ga.) Stephenson High School has announced that he plans to make a verbal commitment to Central Michigan during his official visit this weekend.

Ball, the brother of Georgia Tech starting quarterback Reggie Ball, had an early offer from the Yellowjackets, but reportedly had a low test score that caused Tech to back off its recruitment of him.

He is considered one of the top cornerbacks and top 100 overall players in talent rich Georgia this season. Ball helped lead Stephenson to an 11-2 record and the Region 7 Class AAAAA championship this season. From his cornerback position, he made 42 tackles and 27 assists, tallied four interceptions and recovered four fumbles, as well as blocked two punts.

Ball also returned punts and kicks for the Jaguars, averaging nearly 11 yards on punt returns and 26 yards on kickoff returns. He returned one kick 80 yards for a touchdown this season.

Scheduled to join Ball for official visits at CMU this weekend are Calhoun (Ga.) running back Adam Patrick (5-11, 205), Lake Worth (Fla.) John I. Leonard High School defensive end Philip Telfer (6-4, 235), and wide receiver Darren Martin (6-4, 210) of New Orleans (La.) McDonogh 35 High School.

All three players have reportedly been offered scholarships and have high interest in CMU.

Patrick combines great speed and strength at the running back position. A four-year varsity player and three-year varsity starter, Patrick gained more than 4,000 yards in his prep career at Calhoun High School. This season he ran for 1,451 yards on 205 carries (7.1 yards per carry) and scored 19 touchdowns in 12 games for the 10-2 Yellow Jackets.

Patrick visited Eastern Kentucky last weekend and is expected to make an announcement signing day between the Colonels and Chippewas.

Like so many great players who've come out of the State of Florida, Telfer is big, strong and fast. He has offers from Division I-A newcomer Florida Atlantic and Massachusetts of the Atlantic 10. The Chippewas could be the team to beat for Telfer though, as he would have an opportunity to contribute early on a depleted defensive line.

The Chippewas entered the picture recently for Martin, a big receiver out of New Orleans. He had made an official visit to West Virginia Jan. 16th with the expectation of receiving an offer from the Mountaineers. When that didn't happen, CMU entered the picture. Martin has the size and strength with adequate speed to be an effective receiver in the spread offense.

Central Michigan had hoped to bring in quarterback Blair Peterson (6-3, 220) of San Antonio (Texas) Churchill High School this weekend as well, but Peterson will visit Florida instead.

The Gators are interested in Peterson if standout quarterback Cornelius Ingram decides to go elsewhere. Peterson had visited Louisville last weekend and is now getting serious interest form the likes of Ohio State and USC as well.

With Ball's pledge, the Chippews now have 16 players committed for next year. If Telfer, Martin and Patrick also commit this weekend, that would still leave CMU with two scholarships to offer. Wednesday (Feb. 4th) is national signing day when verbal commitments become binding.

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