'Homegrown talent' highlights CMU's early signing haul

David Goricki
The Detroit News
Walled Lake Western cornerback Randall Harris said signing with Central Michigan was "an easy decision."

While Central Michigan third-year coach John Bonamego was out West leading the Chippewas in a practice Wednesday to prepare for Friday's Famous Idaho Potato Bowl game against Wyoming in Boise, he also got a glimpse of the future.

Walled Lake Western cornerback Randall Harris was thrilled to be one player on CMU’s list of 2018 recruits to sign on the dotted line Wednesday.

“It was a pretty easy decision,” Harris said. “They were the very first school to offer me, right after the West Bloomfield-Walled Lake Western (season-opening) game. They were the first ones to see my talent and give me the opportunity to play at the next level. The coaches were great and they made me feel like it was family for me.

“My position coach is one of the best in the nation right now, Coach Archie (Collins), and Coach Bonamego promised me he was going to be there for the next four or five years, promised to make me be the best player I could possibly be.”

Harris is ranked as the No. 40 player on The News' Blue Chip list.

More: Reed headlines WMU’s history-making recruiting class

“I remember entering high school and feeling that Central Michigan was one of my dream schools, whether it would be for football or just academics, and the convenient thing is they have one of the best astronomy programs in Michigan so that’s worked out for me,” said Harris, who took his official visit last weekend and bonded well with the other recruits.

“There were about 10 or 15 guys who were there that signed today. I met a lot of people, Tico (Brown), a lineman from Indiana, a couple of guys from Florida. We all bonded together and it was really nice.”

Central Michigan had three legacy signees in Saline linebacker Cory Gildersleeve, Delton lineman Tyden Ferris and Saginaw defensive lineman NeVen Simington.

Cory Gildersleeve Sr. played for the Chippewas from 1993-95, Nate Simington from 1992 and 1994-95, and Rollie Ferris from 1995-97.

“Once again we set our goals on getting bigger, stronger and faster,” Bonamego said in a statement. “I feel like we’ve done that again. I think we’ve done a really good job in-state. That’s always going to be our top priority, to sign players who are from within a six-hour radius of Mount Pleasant where 75 percent of our team comes from.

“It’s very important to do a great job of scouting in the state and making sure we bring as much homegrown talent as we can to CMU.”

More: Cass Tech's Jackson eager to 'jump in' QB fray at EMU

And, of getting the sons of former Central Michigan players, Bonamego said: “It’s a special thing. It’s not a reason we necessarily offer somebody. Those players, they’re deserving. It is unique, and I think it makes the bond a little bit stronger. It’s as exciting for me, probably, as it is for the families.”

Gildersleeve suffered an ACL injury late in the season, but should be ready to go by the start of the 2018 season.

Southfield A&T running back Eric McArn committed to CMU, but has yet to sign.

“It’s not like I’m looking at other schools. No, nothing like that,” McArn said. “My mom couldn’t get off work and I wanted her there with me when I signed, so I just said I’ll wait until February.”








Montrae Braswell


5-11, 187

Avon Park (FL)

Tico Brown


6-2, 276

Homestead (IN)

Braeden Childress


6-3, 210

Big Rapids (MI)

Jonathan Clark


5-10, 185

Hackensack (NJ)

Carlton Cleophat


6-0, 210

Blanche Ely (FL)

Nolan Eike


6-6, 260

Batavia (IL)

Tyden Ferris


6-4, 236

Delton-Kellogg (MI)

Cory Gildersleeve


6-2, 220

Saline (MI)

Randall Harris


6-0, 182

Walled Lake Western (MI)

LaQuan Johnson


6-3, 230

Flint (MI)

Keonta Nixon


6-4, 205

Lake Park (IL)

George Pearson


6-1, 210

Mater Dei (NJ)

Tyrone Scott


6-3, 187

Jenkins (GA)

NeVen Simington


6-4, 225

Saginaw (MI)

Romello Tarver


6-5, 245

Oxbridge Academy (FL)