Football signs multiple recruits in early signing period; awaits National Signing day

The crowd watches the action during Central Michigan University's homecoming football game against Toledo at Kelly/Shorts Stadium Saturday, Oct. 14.

Ahead of next Wednesday's National Signing Day, Central Michigan football already has 17 players in its 2018 freshman class. 

In the early signing period from Dec. 20-22, high school players were able to sign early with their respective colleges this season. Instead of waiting until the usual National Signing Day – Feb. 7, athletes were granted the ability to lock in their spots during the three-day window.

High school players who graduate in December will become early enrollees. 

“Once again, we set our goals on getting bigger, stronger and faster,” CMU head coach John Bonamego said in a press release. “I feel like we’ve done that again.” 

Across five different states, the Chippewas signed defensive back Montrae Braswell, defensive lineman Tico Brown, linebacker Carlton Cleophat, offensive lineman Nolan Eike, wide receiver Keonta Nixon, quarterback George Pearson, wide receiver Tyrone Scott, defensive lineman Romello Tarver, defensive back Kobe Lewis and running back Jonathan Clark. 

The Chippewas also signed running back Eric McArm, tight end Braeden Childress, defensive back Randall Harris, linebacker Cory Gildersleeve, defensive lineman LaQuan Johnson, offensive lineman Tyden Ferris and defensive lineman NeVen Simington — all from within the state.

According to the 247Sports, the best player in CMU’s 2018 class is Keonta Nixon, a three-star wide receiver from Lake Park (Illinois) Roselle. Nixon was scouted as player who can run after the catch, as well as run exceptional routes for big-gain plays. 

Nixon, at 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, has the versatility to make a reception over almost any defensive back committed to play in the Mid-American Conference. 

Braswell is also a three-star defensive back from Avon Park, Florida, according to Rivals. 

The Chippewas signed just one quarterback in the early signing period in three-star pro-style quarterback George Pearson from Middleton (New Jersey) Mater Dei. 

Pearson, a 6-foot-1, 210-pound athlete, had other offers to play for Boston College, Purdue and Temple. One of the main reasons he signed early was because of Bonamego’s new contract extension. 

“I picked Central Michigan because coach Bonamego and (assistant) coach (Chris) Ostrowsky gave me the best opportunity to play as a young guy coming in,” Pearson said. “Knowing coach signed that new deal, he will be my coach for the next four years. I’m proud to call him my coach.” 

Pearson was listed as a pro-style quarterback, meaning his game is similar to the play seen from quarterbacks in the National Football League.

“Doing both helps me to keep drives going and to make plays with my feet outside of the pocket,” Pearson said. “I’m also a good thrower inside the pocket and can keep my eyes downfield at all times.” 

Of the 16 players signed, six are from the state of Michigan, including Tyden Ferris, LaQuan Johnson, Braedon Childress, Cory Gildersleeve, Randall Harris and NeVen Simington. Besides Harris, all players signed in Michigan are "legacies," meaning their father's played at CMU. 

“I think we’ve done a really good job in-state,” Bonamego said. “That’s always going to be our top priority, to sign players who are from within a six-hour radius of Mount Pleasant where 75 percent of our team comes from. It’s very important to do a great job of scouring the state and making sure we bring as much homegrown talent as we can to CMU.”

The Chippewas will cap their 2018 class on National Signing Day Feb. 7.