Top football signees break down decision to attend Central Michigan

CMU head football coach John Bonamego discusses the 2018 recruiting class with the media during a press conference on Feb. 7 at McGuirk Arena's Media Room.

Of the 17 football signees in Central Michigan’s 2018 class, one aspect ties them all together – they are now Chippewas. 

According to 247Sports, the top signees for CMU are three-star wide receiver Keonta Nixon, three-star cornerback Randall Harris, three-star cornerback Montrae Braswell, three-star quarterback George Pearson and two-star defensive end LaQuan Johnson. 

3-star WR Keonta Nixon

A 6-foot-4, 205-pound wide receiver prospect from Roselle (Illinois) Lake Park, Nixon had offers to play for Central Michigan, Southern Illinois and Western Illinois. 

“Central Michigan first made contact with me in the beginning of the season and never lost contact,” Nixon said. “It means a lot that they were there the whole season and always showed interest.”

Nixon was a late bloomer for Lake Park High School, but is a massive target with an opportunity to create mismatches down field. In a state playoff game in 2017, Nixon made a highlight reel 69-yard touchdown reception. 

“I’m expecting to do as much damage as I can on the field,” Nixon said. “I didn’t have many big offers, so when CMU offered me, I knew that it was where I wanted to be for the next four years of my life.” 

3-star CB Randall Harris

From Walled Lake (Michigan) Western, the 6-foot-0, 184-pound cornerback was ranked as the 38th-best player in the state of Michigan. 

In spite of an offer to play for Air Force, Harris turned it down in order to head to Mount Pleasant. 

“Central Michigan was the first school to give me the opportunity nobody else gave me,” Harris said. “They saw something in me right after the season opener. The coaches there would talk to me each week asking how practice went and wishing me good luck for every game. That created a close relationship between us.”

During his senior season for Walled Lake Western High School in 2017, Harris logged two interceptions, 21 deflected passes and 55 tackles. He also added 345 yards in the punt return game. 

For CMU, Harris is hoping to get a ring on his finger. 

“I just want to become the best player I can possibly be and take in as much knowledge I can with the time I have there,” Harris said. “And, of course, bring home some championships.”

3-star CB Montrae Braswell

Braswell, a 5-foot-11, 181-pound cornerback from Avon Park (Florida) had offers to play for Central Michigan, Florida Atlantic, Indiana, Iowa State, Kentucky, Memphis, Southern Miss, Tulane and Wisconsin. 

The three-star’s relationship with the coaches in Mount Pleasant made the difference for the Chippewas. 

“Central Michigan was my pick because of the coaching relationship I had developed while I was getting recruited and they came on to me with a very real approach,” Braswell said.

As of late, CMU has gotten outstanding play out of its cornerbacks. With Braswell, along with Harris, in the fold, the positive trend should continue. Braswell earned Second Team All-State honors in 2017 after Avon Park’s 10-2 finish. 

“I expect to play as a freshman and get good minutes in the rotation, along with staying focused in school,” Braswell said. 

3-star QB George Pearson

As a 6-foot-1, 210-pound pro-style quarterback, Pearson committed to Central Michigan on June 19, even with offers from Boston College, Purdue and Temple. 

The quarterback from Matawan (New Jersey) Mater Dei has emerged as a leader in the 2018 class for the Chippewas. 

“I see us right now all coming together, getting along and fitting right in with each other,” Pearson said. “We are all comfortable. We are just ready to start this journey together, get up to Central Michigan and compete.” 

CMU head coach John Bonamego said he plans to redshirt Pearson in his first season with the Chippewas. 

“He’s going to be a normal freshman (quarterback),” Bonamego said. “At that position, I think that guys need time and you want them to have an opportunity to grow and develop. It is very important that we have depth there as well.”

2-star DE LaQuan Johnson

The Burton (Michigan) Bendle Senior defensive end committed to his only offer — Central Michigan. 

“The reason I picked Central Michigan was because they made me, my mom and my little brother feel like family,” Johnson said. “I could tell this was somewhere I could see myself calling home for the next three to five years. I got this amazing vibe from the players and the coaches when I met them on my visit to CMU that was different than other visits.”

Johnson is a quick defensive lineman who recorded 184 tackles, 21 sacks and five touchdowns during his two-year varsity career. At CMU, the 6-foot-4, 230-pound athlete hopes to grow on and off the field.

“I’m expecting to develop my skills on the field and the knowledge of the game,” Johnson said. “I know Central Michigan can help me because that’s what they do for their players and I like that. I also expect them to help me become even more of a man than I am in life.

“Speaking football, I like how they’re moving up, making it to bowl games and sending people to the league. That’s a childhood dream.”