Western Michigan shores up receiving corps in recruiting drive

David Goricki
The Detroit News

Western Michigan’s football team is in Idaho, getting ready to play BYU in Friday’s Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.

Western second-year head coach Tim Lester took some time Wednesday morning to talk about his recruiting class that is highlighted by a strong group of receivers, led by four-star Cameron Coleman from St. Louis, three-star Damari Roberson of Muskegon Mona Shores, Marshawn Foster (Chicago) and Corey Crooms (Country Club Hills, Ill.).

Coleman, 5-foot-10 and 185 pounds and ranked No. 11 in the state of Missouri, bounced around in high school from Vianney High in Missouri his freshman and sophomore years to IMG Academy in Florida his junior year, then to Cardinal Ritter College Prep. Foster and Crooms join Roberson as three-star receivers. Foster was ranked No. 38 and Crooms No. 48 in Illinois; Roberson missed his senior season due to a knee injury.

“We really try to recruit two years out and I know we ended up moving Anton Curtis during camp to wide receiver, but we really had (D’Wayne) Eskridge, (Keishawn) Watson and Curtis all leaving us in a year so that’s why knew this would be a big wide receiver year because it’s not the senior class you’re replacing, it’s really your junior class you’re replacing,” Lester said.

“We’re happy with these guys. Cam Coleman is a phenomenal player from St. Louis. We like what he can do in the slot. He can play multiple positions. Corey Crooms is a guy from Chicago that we saw in the summer time and he reminds us of a little bit bigger Keishawn Watson, extremely fluid and always under control. And, Marshawn Foster is from the city of Chicago. He’s super raw and an extremely talented kid. We planned to look at the DB at the school and he handled the DB pretty good so we went back and watched him, followed him.

“All three of those guys bring something different to the table. They don’t have to come in and play right away, but if they’re ready they play and you can see that by what happened with Bird (Jayden Reed).”

Reed leads the Broncos in receptions (56), receiving yards (797) and TD catches (eight) as a true freshman.

Lester feels Roberson will be healthy and ready to go when he arrives in Kalamazoo.

“He’s an unbelievable athlete,” Lester said. “I’m excited about him.”

Lester also has to feel good about bringing in 6-8, 315-pound tackle Joacheim Price (Algonquin, Ill.) who picked the Broncos over Minnesota, West Virginia, Iowa State, Duke, Virginia and Illinois; linebacker Calob Dalton (Carrollton, Ohio) who had offers from Purdue, Cincinnati, Pitt and Rutgers; 6-3 three-star quarterback Nick Kargman (Camden, N.J.) who had an offer from Rutgers, and cornerback Keith Jones (St. Louis) who had offers from Toledo and Air Force.

Lester and his staff also did a solid job in Michigan, bringing in 6-3, 215-pound linebacker Boone Bonnema of Zeeland East (No. 48 in The News Blue Chip list), Muskegon linebacker Ali’Vonta Wallace and 6-5, 280-pound tackle Stuart Kettler of East Grand Rapids in addition to Roberson.