Only one of Central Michigan’s 21-player football recruiting class is on campus.
Darrien Boone, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound quarterback from Chicago, enrolled early at CMU and will be in uniform when the Chippewas take the field for spring camp in March.
Something Boone, who hasn’t played since his junior year of high school, is excited about.
“It’s going to be very beneficial being here early because I didn’t get to play my senior year,” Boone said. “It will give me a boost and will help me out tremendously.”
Boone had to sit out his senior season after Chicago Public Schools officials ruled him ineligible after he attempted to transfer from Chicago Fenger High School, where he played in 2011, to Hales Franciscan High School.
According to an October story in the Chicago Sun-Times, Boone tried to transfer from Fenger for safety reasons after he was assaulted at gunpoint after leaving an athletic event in October 2011.
Boone said the entire process has been frustrating but that he’s ready to put it behind him.
“It was very difficult because I really wanted to play my senior year,” Boone said. “It did give me time to hit the books and keep my grades up. I started losing some interest from schools because I didn’t get to play my senior year, so I’m glad CMU kept in touch and kept me in the family.”
Boone, a 4.0-student, also had offers from Eastern Illinois, Western Illinois, Northern Illinois and Tulane, but Boone said CMU was where he wanted to be.
“Coach Enos is a fine coach,” he said. “Basically, the environment was right. It’s a great college town. It felt warm and comfortable here; I felt at home. The other players have been helping me a lot. Showing me where my classes are and showing me around the halls.
“I’ve met all the other quarterbacks, they are all cool guys, and they’ve been helping me out along with all the other guys.”
Boone now joins a group of quarterbacks already on CMU’s roster, which include junior Cody Kater, sophomore Alex Niznak and redshirt freshman Cooper Rush, who will be battling for the wide open starting quarterback job.
Head coach Dan Enos was not shy in saying that Boone will be right in the mix.
“Darrien is a very mature young man,” Enos said. “He’s got great arm strength and is extremely athletic. He moves around very well. I can’t say enough about his character. He’s a tough guy, and he’s going to be here in the spring to compete for the starting quarterback job, which is wide open.”
As for Boone, he is happy to just be playing football again, regardless of how his first season in Mount Pleasant turns out.
“It’s pretty cool that coach said I’m in the mix for the starting job,” Boone said. “At the same time, I’m here to work and whatever happens, happens. If God blesses me to start, that’s what happens.
“A redshirt is not a bad thing in my mind, but I’m glad I’m here early, and I’m going to get a chance to compete and see where I’m at. “
Boone led FHS to a conference championship and passed for 36 touchdowns and rushed for 10 touchdowns the last time he played in 2011.