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New DE commit Jonah Pace learns physicality, athleticism from multi-sport high school career


Jonah Pace (photo provided)

Physicality is a language that is spoken across all sports. The degrees can be different depending on the activity, however all sports require some sort of physical demand. 

When it comes to the language of physicality, consider new Central Michigan defensive end commit Jonah Pace fluent. While he may not have the speed that comes with a running back or receiver, he possess size and athletic ability that transcends his playing of football, basketball and wrestling. 

The Illinois native announced his commitment to Central Michigan Thursday night on Twitter, spurning the other potential suitors in the Football Championship Subdivision: Illinois State, Indiana State, Murray State, North Dakota and Western Illinois. 

"The coaching staff, I really like them," Pace said. "I just wanted to be at a higher level and they gave me a chance." 

Pace prides himself on his physicality and athleticism, using his quickness and strength to get by blockers. The dual-sport athlete has been on teams that have had success in the past, with both his football and basketball teams at Marengo having finished in the top two of the Kishwaukee River conference. 

Standing 6-foot-5, Pace towers above opponents. Blessed with the height, his time spent playing different sports has helped him fine-tune his abilities. He noted similarities between football and basketball, and that he can take his skills from one sport to another. 

"I'm just kind of physical in everything I do," Pace said. 

While Pace didn't get the interest on the basketball court that he did on the gridiron, he did earn All-Conference and All-Area honors on the hardwood following his junior season. He has twice earned the same honors in football, and his ability to perform in multiple sports can be attributed to his competitiveness. 

"I have a very competitive attitude," he said. 

It is admittedly too early for Pace to project where he'll fit into the Chippewas' defense when he gets on campus, however he's excited for the future. After he completes his senior seasons, he'll don the football cleats full time for the first time. 

Though he'll be playing just football at CMU, the skills developed from his time as a dual-sport athlete have helped to mold him into the physical player he is today. 

"I kind of have a football mode and a basketball mode," he said. "I know when to turn it on and turn it off." 

Central Michigan's 2021 class currently includes: 

Macomb Dakota HS 3-star RB/S DJ Stepney
Cincinnati (Ohio) Northwest HS 3-star ILB Diego Neri
Macomb Dakota HS 3-star WR/CB Eric Reese
Saginaw Heritage HS 3-star WR Chris Parker
Akron (Ohio) East HS S DeAnthony Becton
Ypsilanti Lincoln HS OG Trevor Jones
Marengo (Illinois) HS DE Jonah Pace
Hazelwood Central (Missouri) HS OL Kyle Long