If you’re a lineman with large aspirations, there aren’t many better destinations in Midwest college football than Central Michigan. That’s where Joe Staley went as a tight end on his path to becoming the top NFL tackle. CMU’s Eric Fisher is projected to be the first tackle off the board in this spring’s NFL Draft. It’s those standards like that which Jack Ford, a 6-6, 280 Cadillac lineman, will look. You have to like what he’s starting out with. Ford is one of five linemen in the Chippewas’ recruiting class.
“You watch this guy’s video, he’s running, he bends his knees, he changes direction, he climbs to the second level,” CMU coach Dan Enos said at their signing day press conference. “He’ll be 300 pounds by the time he walks in here. He committed to us this summer. He got recruited by a lot of different people, especially after they saw him in person, how flexible he was, how athletic he was.”
Corey Willis committed to CMU after his junior season, in which he was the state’s No. 2 rusher and coincided with the best season in Holland history. There would be no senior year after a knee injury in track (he’s a school-record long jumper). Willis was a high school QB who will have to find a spot in college. And while he never had blazing speed even before the injury, more quick than fast, Willis will make his mark as a playmaker.
Gary Jones doesn’t have a given college position either, he looked best at a wingback for Allegan, but if he finds one, look out. At 6-2, 200 he has legit sprinter’s speed. As a senior he scored TDs as a receiver, runner, kick returner and interceptor (one of those a pick-six of 103 yards).
“We got him late, but we knew him all along,” Enos said. “He has great size for a skill guy, and is very, very explosive. If you’re recruited by major colleges to run the 100 and 200 meters, you can run.”
While he might have had more opportunities with other teams, it’s safe to bet that Grand Rapids Christian’s 6-5, 230 tight end Zach Crouch wouldn’t trade his state championship rings for big stats. He showed some after-the-catch speed when he did get chances, and also moonlighted on the D Line.
“He’s a prototypical tight end,” Enos said. “He’s what we’re looking for — 6-5 flat-footed and he’s going to be 250, 255 pouinds before he leaves here. He’s tough, he’s got ball skills, he can run.”