Football's 2018 recruiting class includes three defensive backs
The defensive secondary was a point of emphasis in Central Michigan football's 2018 recruiting class.
Now, they just have to find a coach.
Former defensive back coach Archie Collins, who helped recruit the three defensive backs in CMU’s 2018 class, left for the University of Pittsburgh on Jan. 31.
Hiring great staff members “might be the most important" for head coach John Bonamego.
“We are happy for Archie and the opportunity he’s been given, he definitely earned it and did a phenomenal job here,” Bonamego said. “Now, the job is to go out and find the next person to fill his shoes.”
The three defensive backs include two three-star talents Randall Harris and Montrae Braswell and one two-star talent Kobe Lewis.
It is important that the head coach and the entire staff has a good relationship with the potential players, Bonamego said.
“I make calls every week during the season to our offer guys so I have a relationship with them,” Bonamego said. “If you do lose coaches, at least then they are comfortable with the other people in the program.”
In the 2017 season, the Chippewas were tied for third in Division I with 31 turnovers gained. Nineteen of those turnovers were interceptions.
Senior defensive back Josh Cox was tied for fourth in the nation with six interceptions while fellow senior defensive back Amari Coleman corralled three picks.
Sophomore Sean Bunting will return to the secondary following a five-interception season (tied for No. 11 in the country). Bonamego said he knew the team needed more depth at defensive back.
“We are always trying to get better in the secondary and will be very young next year,” Bonamego said. “It’s a never ending puzzle with recruiting and we set goals for every position, which we’ve hit at every term. But with graduating a lot at (the secondary) we felt like we needed to fill that position.”
Harris played football at Walled Lake Western High School, where he also played basketball and track and field.
CMU believes the 6-foot, 184-pound defensive back “flew under the radar," Bonamego said.
“We felt with the combination of what we saw out of (Harris) in camp and the performance he put in his senior year that he was someone we wanted to make a Chippewa,” Bonamego said. “He matched up with two receivers that are committed to Wisconsin in week one of his senior year and shut them down.”
Braswell, who is ranked No. 171 at the defensive back in the nation by 247Sports, played football at Avon Park High School. He was one of CMU’s most heavily recruited players.
“He is a very versatile athlete that could play more positions but we see him best at cornerback,” Bonamego said. “He was a team captain and finished Second-Team All-State in Florida, we are extremely happy to have Montrae join our family.”
Lewis, a 5-foot-9, 175-pound graduate of Americus Sumter County South High School in Georgia was First-Team All-State in football and also played basketball and track.
“He was primarily a running back in high school where he ran for 1,700 yards and caught 204 yards with 25 touchdowns as a senior,” Bonamego said. “He’s a fantastic athlete who can burst and bend into anything. We see Kobe as a player who could compete for playing time right away.”
Bonamego said he believes the class as a whole is a really good class and is “right there” with the best of his former three classes he helped sign on.
“They all have potential but the proof is when they are here and they start to play,” Bonamgeo said. “They are worthy of being here for the opportunity they have, but once you leave high school you will be evaluated in all areas. It’s our job as coaches to develop them.”