'It was a blast': CMU commits react to meeting new coach Jim McElwain
When Jim McElwain took the stage at his inaugural Central Michigan press conference on Dec. 3, he put a major emphasis on recruiting.
The new CMU head coach called it the "lifeblood" of the program.
McElwain invited all 2019 commits to visit CMU from Dec. 7-9 in order to start developing a relationship.
In the picture above, all but Somerset Academy Charter (Florida) offensive tackle Vashon Bailey was in attendance. Detroit Cass Technical 2019 three-star safety Ormondell Dingle, who decommitted from CMU on Nov. 25, was in the picture with his brother, 2020 linebacker Cortez Dingle.
Warren De La Salle three-star offensive lineman Danny Motowski has been committed since April 7, 2018, but he's added offers from Ball State and Kent State since the firing of John Bonamego on Nov. 23. Motowski's visit and one-on-one time with McElwain confirmed his desire to join the Chippewas.
"I'm 150% locked in on CMU," Motowski said. "It was a blast. It was great to meet coach McElwain and be around all the 2019 commits."
Upon hearing of McElwain's hiring, Plant City (Florida) Durant three-star cornerback Demarcus Governor said the Chippewas would have "big plans" going forward under McElwain. Just a week after learning of McElwain accepting the job, Governor said he is already close with the new coach in Mount Pleasant.
"(McElwain) is a stand-up guy and his presence alone sets the standard of embracing our brand and controlling our destiny," Governor said.
Alpena outside linebacker Logan Guthrie, committed to CMU since June 27, 2018, said there was not a single unsatisfied parent on the recent recruiting trip. Each parent was impressed with the way McElwain presented himself and interacted with the high school prospects.
McElwain and his staff gave an impression to the parents of helping their children become leaders at CMU.
"The current players are awesome and know how to treat recruits," Guthrie said. "I'm hoping in January that I can become better friends with the current players, as I look up to them. I can't wait to be a part of the Chippewa family."
As for McElwain's specific accolades, Guthrie and the rest of the commits were impressed. McElwain's offense helped lead Alabama to a 12-0 regular season record under Nick Saban. He also was an assistant for Jim Harbaugh at Michigan in 2018.
“The key word is evaluation and knowing what we are looking for,” McElwain said. “We have to make sure we develop, alright. We have to foresee the future. Maybe we aren’t getting the ready-made players who are going to the Big Ten or SEC, whatever that is. With that being said, there is a lot of great players and for us, it’ll be the evaluation, fit and upside we will be looking for.”
McElwain was the 2014 Mountain West Coach of the Year and 2015 SEC Coach of the Year, along with posting a 44-28 overall head coaching record and 2-1 mark in bowl games.
"He's a true leader and a genius with the game of football," Guthrie said. "I'm excited to watch him turn this program around."
CMU's 2019 commits specifically love the vibe and winning attitude McElwain brings to the program. Guthrie expects to be developed into a great football player and humble human under the new leader.
Three-star wide receiver Javon Gantt from Westside High School in Jacksonville, Florida, made the trip to Mount Pleasant to solidify his commitment to play for McElwain. Gantt was ecstatic due to McElwain's talk of the "brotherhood" within the CMU football program.
"Coach (McElwain) is a cool dude," Gantt said. "He wants the best for all of us, and we are going to do that."
The NCAA Division I early signing period for football is from Dec. 19-21, 2018. McElwain said he looks to get a handful of his 2019 commits into the system and on campus as soon as possible.
“We’re going to look to get some guys signed early,” McElwain said. “We want to hold on to the guys who have been committed to this university for a reason.
“We’re all in this together and I look forward to helping them achieve the goals they have.”
Other Recruiting Notes
From Dec. 7-9, Houston grad transfer quarterback Quinten Dormady was on a visit to check out the Central Michigan program. He would be eligible to play for the Chippewas in 2019.
When asked about the impact Dormady could make, Guthrie said, "He's going to fill that piece we have been missing on the offense."
Another potential transfer option is former Michigan State, current East Mississippi Community College quarterback Messiah deWeaver, who would also be immediately eligible for the Chippewas.
"Great hire," deWeaver said when CMU added McElwain. "He’s a great coach. Everywhere I’ve been and played, I’ve won. I can be the guy. I’m just a proven winner."
CMU has reached out to Fresno City College cornerback transfer Ozziah Williams, who plans to visit CMU near the timeframe of Dec. 14-16.
"I feel needed by the program," Williams said. "I plan on taking (the visit). I just don't know the dates yet. They told me next weekend."