Jones Excited About 2008 Recruiting Class

Butch Jones (Courtesy: Robert Barclay/CMU).

Central Michigan University head football coach Butch Jones is all smiles this week after signing 22 student-athletes to National Letters of Intent Wednesday. He talked about the class with Chippewas Insider.

Central Michigan head coach Butch Jones doesn't mince words when asked to rate the Chippewas' 2008 football recruiting class of 22 high school players.

"I believe it's the highest recruited class in the history of CMU football," Jones said. "Each recruit had multiple offers, including offers from the Big Ten, Big East, Big 12 and Conference USA.

"We benefited greatly from the power of national TV," Jones added. "CMU was featured six times on prime time this past season. The 'C' is definitely recognized."

At 1:55 p.m. Wednesday, CMU recruiiting coordinator Max Glowacki walked out of his office in the Indoor Athletic Complex and announced, "We're done."

The final two pieces to the Chippewas' 2008 recruiting class had been faxed in. Those two pieces of paper were Letters of Intent from Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Dillard High School defensive backs, Lorenzo White Jr. and Derek Carter. White is the son of former Michigan State and Houston Oilers running back Lorenzo White. The younger White turned down offers from MSU, Purdue and Rutgers to play for the Chippewas.

"First impressions are lasting for these recruits," Jones said. "Lorenzo and Derek never hesitated in their commitment to CMU. Derek told me, 'Coach, I want you to push me to be the best I can become. We're going to be the best at CMU.'"

Like his teammate White, Carter also turned down offers from Purdue and Rutgers to play for the Chippewas.

Jones said Wednesday (national signing day) was the culmination of a process that began a year ago. He commended his coaching staff for doing an outstanding job of evaluating more than 5,000 players for which the end result was the 22 who signed Wednesday.

"All of these recruits are coming in with the mentality to play right away," Jones said. "We wanted great competitors and we wanted to improve our team speed and athleticism."

Among the other players who signed with CMU Wednesday is running back Jahleel Addae of Riverview (Fla.) High School. Addae was originally committed to West Virginia and also considered an offer from Iowa State before committing to the Chippewas.

"Jahleel sent me a text message (Wednesday morning) saying that he wasn't coming, he decided to sign elsewhere," Jones related. "My heart sunk. Then he tells me a little while later, 'just kidding coach.'

"When you recruit running backs, you look for their ability to gain yardage beyond what the play is blocked for," Jones said. "Jahleel has that ability. I've been recruiting him since the 10th grade when I was an assistant at West Virginia. Jahleel can play running back or as a slot receiver for us."

Another Florida player Jones said who has the ability to play right away is defensive tackle John Williams of Miami Central High School. Williams is quick and strong off the line of scrimmage. This season he recorded 45 tackles, seven sacks, recovered three fumbles and forced another for Miami Central.

This class also includes one of the top quarterbacks in Ohio the past few seasons, Ryan Radcliff of Fairview High School.

"Ryan is a winner," Jones said. "He's 22-5 as a starter and I look forward to him continuing that fine legacy of CMU quarterbacks."

Radcliff's career statistics at Fairview High are nothing less than spectacular. His career pasing yards (784-of-1,294 for 11,038 yards) and career touchdown passes (139) rank second all-time in state history. Radcliff selected CMU over six other Mid-American Conference programs, including Western Michigan, Ball State, Bowling Green and Toledo.

The recruiting class includes 11 defensive players and 11 on offense, Broken down by position, the class includes five defensive backs, four defensive ends, three offensive linemen, three receivers, two running backs and one each at quarterback, linebacker, fullback, defensive line and tight end.

Geographically, the class includes 10 recruits from Florida, seven from Michigan, three from Indiana and one each from Illinois and Ohio. "Would I like to take everone from the state of Michigan?" Jones asked. "Yes, I would, but it's unrealistic in this day and age."

Jones said that he and his staff have already begun recruiting for the 2009 class. He expects to invite about 200 prospects to campus for Junior Day, April 19, for the Chippewas' spring football game.

Jones noted one of the recruiting advantages CMU has is the ability to tell recruits that they can win championships at CMU, it's been done before the past two seasons and numerous seasons before that.

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