The incoming class includes 19 high school student-athletes and two junior college transfers, who are currently enrolled at WMU. The JC players will have two years of eligibility remaining. Also enrolled at WMU is quarterback Ryan Cubit, who transferred from Rutgers University in January.
This year's class features some of the best prep players in Michigan as six players were ranked on the Detroit Free Press Fab 50 list and six players on the Detroit News Blue Chip Top 60 list. In addition to acquiring talent at a variety of positions, the Broncos landed recruits with outstanding speed. Six incoming freshmen next year have 40-yard dash times of 4.5 seconds or better.
"This class has outstanding talent and fits the profiles that we projected for the program," Darnell said of his seventh recruiting class. "We have a great mix in the positions we filled. On paper, these players have all the things you would expect to see in a major college football program."
Darnell takes particular pride in the strong midwest roots this year's class represents. At the same time, WMU's recruiting efforts continue to take on a national appeal.
"We recruited primarily talent from the midwest and supplemented with talented players from California, Georgia and Florida," said Darnell. "Our focus was back in the midwest more than in the past for several reasons. Graduation rates and stability of our program, the facilities and quality of our community — we match up better than ever before against other schools and we capitalized on those things."
The incoming class broken down by position and home state:
Offense: 12 (5-wide receivers, 3-offensive line, 2-quarterbacks, 1-running back, 1-tight end)
Defense: 9 (3-safeties, 2-defensive line, 2-linebackers, 2-cornerbacks)
Specialty: 1 (1-kicker)
Michigan-9, Illinois-4, Georgia-3, California-2, Florida-2, Indiana-1, Missouri-1
Antwain Allen, WR/DB
6-2, 205, Fr./Fr.
Chicago, Ill. (Kenwood Academy HS)
Possesses tremendous hands … has good bursts of speed … All-Windy City Conference pick … named team's offensive MVP as a junior … clocked at 4.55 in the 40 … in the classroom was a member of the Spanish honor society; received biology achievement award.
DeRae Allen, CB
5-11, 181, Fr./Fr.
Lovejoy, Ga. (Lovejoy HS)
Playmaker with good cover ability … ranked among the 100 top corner prospects in the country by Insiders.com … rated by Rivals.com as the fifth-best corner in the state … second team all-state … All-Metro Atlanta first team selection … produced 61 tackles and two interceptions … ran the second-fastest 40 time (4.40) at the Nike Combine in Georgia … track performer in the 200 (P.R. 21.8), the long jump and hurdles.
Chris Bartula, OT
6-6, 276, Fr./Fr.
Carol Stream, Ill. (Glenbard North HS)
Has tremendous up-side and good feet … owns tremendous lower-body strength … all-conference first team member … received all-area team special mention … named to all-state and all-conference academic squads … earned two letters in football, one in wrestling … posted a perfect GPA of 5.00 … recruited by Illinois, Northwestern and several MAC schools.
James Blair, DT
6-4, 320, Fr./Fr.
Detroit, Mich. (Pershing HS)
Agile and quick for his size … Detroit Free Press Dream Team … Detroit News Dream Team … 11th on the News Blue Chip list and 17th on the Free Press Fab 50 list … posted 58 tackles, including 12 for losses, along with six sacks … three-year starter at guard and defensive tackle … "He's a man-eater, the most physical player I've seen this year," coach John Hunter told the Free Press … chose WMU over Toledo and Michigan State … tabbed top lineman prospect at the Nike Combine last summer … bench presses 400 pounds and runs a 5.0 in the 40 … defending Public School League shot put champion.
Darrell Copeland, S
6-1, 198, Fr./Fr.
Jonesboro, Ga. (Jonesboro HS)
Big hitter with explosive power … named to the Atlanta Journal Constitution all-area and all-conference first teams … registered 96 tackles (54 solos), two interceptions, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries … one of three recruits from Georgia.
Jermaine Copeland, WR
6-1, 174, Fr./Fr.
Lovejoy, Ga. (Lovejoy HS)
All-State honorable mention … Clayton Daily Herald All-Region pick … helped team to a 10-2 record … a burner with 4.38 speed in the 40 … runs the 100, 200 and 4x100 at Lovejoy … finished fourth in the 100 at state meet (10.68) … academically sound student who was class president as a sophomore … teammate of fellow Bronco recruit DeRae Allen.
Ryan Cubit, QB
6-3, 215, Jr./Jr.
Piscataway, N.J. (Rutgers Univ.)
Columbia, Mo. (Hickman HS)
Transfer from Rutgers who is enrolled at WMU … will take part in spring drills … at Rutgers, set school freshman records for passing yards (1,433), completions (120), attempts (268) and touchdown passes (9) in 2001 … split starting duties last year for the 1-11 Scarlet Knights, completing 64-of-141 passes for 657 yards, while throwing five touchdowns and six interceptions in eight game.
Tyson DeVree, TE
6-6, 215, Fr./Fr.
Hudsonville, Mich. (Hudsonville HS)
A big target who has natural abilities as a receiver … Grand Rapids Press Dream Team member … Associated Press All-State Class A First Team selection … No. 23 on Detroit Free Press Fab 50 list … No. 31 on the Detroit News Blue Chip list … two-way player … recorded 53 receptions for 828 yards and five touchdowns … on defense, compiled 31 tackles (17 solo) and an interception … chosen to play in the coaches All-Star Game … recruited by Toledo and Penn State.
Steve Douglas, OL
6-4, 285, Fr./Fr.
Joliet, Ill. (Catholic Academy)
Hard working athlete with a power-lifting background … member of Illinois High School Football Coaches Association (IHFCA) Super 26 team … IHFCA All-State Class 5A pick … included on Tom Lemmings' Top 100 Prospects list for Illinois … all-state selection by the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times … All-Chicago Catholic Metro Red selection … played on two state championship teams … received interest from Colorado and Wisconsin … father coaches the offensive line at Joliet Catholic.
Dezmond Gray, DL
6-4, 288, Fr./Fr.
Detroit, Mich. (Cass Technical HS)
Versatile athlete who played every position on the defensive line and at linebacker … all-city selection … recorded 68 tackles, 23 for losses, along with eight sacks … also had five forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries … chosen team MVP … varsity starter since sophomore season … caught the attention of many MAC schools, along with Iowa, Maryland and Wisconsin.
James Ellison, S
6-1, 202, Fr./Fr.
Detroit, Mich. (Western International HS)
Transferred from Westport Academy in Kansas City to spend his senior season in the Detroit Public School League … recognized as one of the top 60 recruits in the state, rated 21st by the Detroit Free Press and 59th by the Detroit News … All-Metro Honorable Mention … amassed 168 tackles (125 solos), eight interceptions and returned four kickoffs for touchdowns … on offense, totaled 1,200 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns … … owns P.R. of 4.39 in the 40 … runs 100, 200 and relays at Detroit Western.
Keith Hinton, DB
5-11, 195, Fr./Fr.
Miami, Fla. (American Senior HS)
Has good feet and breaks on the ball well … second team All-Dade County pick … special teams captain … rushed for 524 yards on 95 carries and four touchdowns junior season; also named special teams player of the year … tabbed team's most improved player as a sophomore.
Brian Jackson, WR
6-4, 180, Fr./Fr.
Lansing, Mich. (Sexton HS)
Ranked No. 46 on the Detroit Free Press Fab 50 list … all-state honorable mention … invited to the Michigan Coaches All-Star Game … caught 38 passes for 608 yards and 12 touchdowns … all-conference selection … named to all-area dream team … also punted and kicked at Sexton … ran on two 4x400 relay championship teams … owns 4.5 speed in the 40.
Mike Jones, K
6-1, 160, Fr./Fr.
Miami Shores, Fla. (Monsignor Pace HS)
Possesses excellent leg strength … all-state kicker as a junior … earned All-Dade County First Team honors as a kicker and wide receiver … converted on 54 of 56 point-after attempts … averaged over 40 yards on punts … plays soccer and competes in track (sprints, jumps) at Pace … also recruited by Georgia.
Oseloka Keys, QB
6-4, 185, Fr./Fr.
Ann Arbor, Mich. (Pioneer HS)
Athletic quarterback with a strong arm … a double threat who can run the ball as well … earned No. 27 ranking on the Detroit News Blue Chip list … No. 34 on the Detroit Free Press Fab 50 list … Ann Arbor News Player of the Year … All-Southeastern Conference First Team member … News All-Metro First Team … News All-State Second Team member … completed 130-of-272 passes for 1,837 yards and 18 touchdowns … rushed 171 times for 518 yards and five touchdowns … led Pioneer to its first state playoff berth since 1991.
Robbie Krutilla, OL
6-3, 295, Fr./Fr.
Chicago, Ill. (Mount Carmel HS)
Tough, hard-nosed lineman … aggressive and tenacious … all-state … All-Chicago Catholic League pick … chosen most valuable lineman at Mount Carmel … member of state 6A championship team … owns seven varsity indoor shot put records (P.R. 56'-11") and is a two-time Mount Carmel boxing champion … squats 550 pounds and deadlifts 650 pounds.
Shawntey Lopez, S
6-2, 206, Jr./Jr.
Saratoga, Calif. (West Valley JC)
Fremont, Calif. (Fremont HS)
Currently taking classes at WMU … possesses a 40-inch vertical leap … named to All-USA Junior College Team by Football Network.com … played two seasons at West Valley Junior College … Golden Gate Honorable Mention selection … recorded 94 tackles as a sophomore and 56 tackles during freshman campaign … earned four varsity letters at Freemont High School.
Kelly Martin, WR
6-4, 175, Fr./Fr.
Lafayette, Ind. (McCutcheon HS)
Considered one of the top receiver prospects in Indiana, according to Prep Star Magazine … big play receiver … Associated Press All-State First Team … tall and lanky wideout with good speed … registered 79 receptions for 1,400 yards and nine touchdowns … compiled 43 catches for 922 yards (21.4 avg.) and 10 touchdowns as a junior … runs a 4.52 in the 40 … state finalist in the 100 (10.87) and 200 (22.09).
Darryl McFadden, LB
6-2, 220, Fr./Fr.
Detroit, Mich. (Pershing HS)
Tall, athletic linebacker with great growth potential … uses his long arms and legs to his advantage … second team all-state … finished second in team tackles … scored three touchdowns as a tight end … played alongside fellow recruit James Blair at Pershing.
Nic Saad, RB
6-3, 217, Fr./Fr.
Remus, Mich. (Chippewa Valley HS)
Rugged running back with impressive credentials … Rated No. 21 on the Detroit News Blue Chip list … garnered No. 38 spot on the Detroit Free Press Fab 50 list … Associated Press All-State pick … named MVP of the MAC Red Conference … named Macomb County Player of the Year … rushed for 1,679 yards and 27 touchdowns … finished career with 3,131 rushing yards and 41 touchdowns … received interest from Central Michigan and Michigan State.
Dan Steinau, LB
5-11, 215, Jr./Jr.
Costa Mesa, Calif. (Orange Coast College)
El Toro, Calif. (El Toro HS)
Currently enrolled at WMU … twice chosen to the All-Mission Conference First Team at Orange Coast College … voted team MVP as a freshman … team captain sophomore campaign … lettered three seasons at El Toro High School … tabbed defensive MVP senior season … twice named team's top linebacker … newcomer of the year as a sophomore.
Derek Szafranski, WR
6-2, 200, Fr./Fr.
Battle Creek, Mich. (Harper Creek Community HS)
Was one of the first recruits to verbally commit to WMU … tabbed No. 58 on the Detroit News Blue Chip list … twice earned all-city honors … set school records for passing yards in a season (1,709) and career (3,016) along with touchdown passes for a season (20) and career (35) … also participates in basketball and track at Harper Creek.
All honors and statistics are from senior seasons, unless otherwise noted.
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