Friend Firmly Committed to CMU

Steven Friend of Grand Rapids (Mich.) Forest Hills Northern High School is a very good defensive lineman. He made a verbal commitment to play football for Central Michigan University in June, but after Mike DeBord resigned as head coach in December, a recruiting frenzy began anew for Friend's commitment.

Steve Friend said he was caught off guard Dec. 17th when he first heard the news of Mike DeBord's unexpected resignation. Rival college coaches heard the news too and began contacting Friend the same day.

"It was crazy," Friend said.

He had invitations for official visits and offers from such schools as Western Michigan, Toledo and Miami University. Friend did take a visit to WMU last weekend, but Saturday he was back in Mt. Pleasant where he reaffirmed his commitment to Central Michigan.

"It really came down to the Kelly factor," Friend said, referring to new CMU head coach Brian Kelly, who took over the program Dec. 30th. "Once he was named the new head coach, that definitely changed things for me."

Not only is Friend pleased with the choice of Kelly as the new Chippewa head coach, but he's excited about playing for his new defensive line coach, Mike Elston, and newly promoted defensive coordinator John Jancek.

"Coach Jancek is great," Friend said. "He's been recruiting me hard so I'm glad he's staying on as defensive coordinator."

Friend said he did enjoy his visit to WMU and that both CMU and WMU have great facilities and are close to Grand Rapids, but in end, he added, his first choice (CMU) was the best choice.

"The guys at Central are really close and I've gotten to know them well," Friend said. "In the end though, it was the Kelly factor."

Given his size and speed, Friend could play defensive end or tackle for the Chippewas. He joins Ranger College defensive tackle Temirez Williams, who is already enrolled at CMU, in the 2004 recruiting class.

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