Football signs 17 recruits on National Signing Day 2018

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.

Central Michigan football signed a total of 17 athletes to the 2018 recruiting class on National Signing Day Wednesday. 

Sixteen of the 17 recruits were previously committed to CMU. Of the signees, 15 were team captains in high school. 

National Signing Day is the last day for NCAA football teams to add recruits who they hope will lead them to conference titles in years to come. For the first time in history, the NCAA allowed an early signing period from Dec. 20-22, which has taken away from the nation-wide excitement of National Signing Day.

The Chippewas' 2018 recruiting class is ranked No. 9 in the Mid-American Conference, according to 247Sports. Last season, the team finished with an 8-5 record and fell to Wyoming in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. 

Last season, CMU brought in 26 recruits. The Chippewas only had 14 recruits in the 2016 recruiting class. 

The recruiting class includes seven from in-state high schools, five offensive players and 11 defensive players. 

The Chippewas previously had 17 committed during the early signing period. Eric McArn was not one of the players announced during signing day because he has not officially made a decision. Bonamego was not allowed to comment on his status. 

Tight end prospect Joel Wilson was the only Chippewa to not have already been committed to CMU. 

CMU signed Braeden Childress, who is an athlete prospect who played basketball in high school. Childress is the brother of current CMU receiver Brandon Childress. 

CMU signed one quarterback in George Pearson, who Bonamego said would likely redshirt his first year. Pearson started from the time he was a freshman in high school. At Middleton (New Jersey) Mater Dei Prep, Pearson won two state championships. Mater Dei only lost three games during Pearson's time at quarterback. 

Pearson had offers from Boston College and Purdue, but chose CMU. 

"That position is so important," Bonomego said. "We feel like we have to sign one (quarterback) in every class. Next fall will be the first time since I have been here where we go into the fall season with four quarterbacks."

The Chippewas signed three recruits from Florida — Montrae Braswell, Carlton Cleophat and Romello Tarver. Braswell had offers from Wisconsin and Florida Atlantic after playing both defensive back and running back for his high school team in the Tampa area. 

Bonamego said Cleophat and Keonta Nixon have a good chance to make an early impact, but the goal is to have seniors and juniors on the field at all times. 

Tyrone Scott, Wilson, LaQuan Johnson and Childress all have played basketball in high school, which is something that Bonamego looks for in recruiting. 

"If you want to see something, you need to go on YouTube and watch (Scott's) dunk highlights," Bonamego said. "He's going to be a great addition to our wide receiving core."

Three early signing period defensive back commits — Randall Harris, Braswell and Kobe Lewis — made their decision from Dec. 20-22. Defensive back coach Archie Collins, who helped recruit the three commits, left for the University of Pittsburgh on Jan. 31.

Last season, the Spring Game was held in late April.