MAC notes: Utica Eisenhower's Dalton Dueweke signs with Western, seeing it as pro pathway

David Goricki
The Detroit News

Dalton Dueweke signed with Western Michigan University because he knew it had a great business school — Haworth College of Business — and the fact the Broncos have multiple offensive linemen playing in the NFL.

Dueweke, a three-star offensive lineman from Utica Eisenhower, signed his National Letter of Intent with Western Wednesday.

Mareyohn Hrabowski

The Broncos have sent a few O-linemen to the NFL during the past 10 years, including Taylor Moton (second round, 2017) who is a starter with the Carolina Panthers and Chukwuma Okorafor (third round, 2018) who is starting with the Steelers.

“It was a great feeling to be able to sign since all my childhood dreams have been trying to play football at the DI level, so everything came true,” said Dueweke, a 6-foot-4, 290-pound tackle who is No. 46 on The News Blue Chip list. “This is just one step. I have plans to play in the NFL so there’s a lot of hard work ahead in the journey.

“One of the biggest things that sold me to Western Michigan, obviously I love the coaches and their winning tradition, I want to be a part of that. One of the biggest things that (Head) Coach Lester and (Offensive tackles) Coach Kenney sold me on was I want to get to the NFL and look at Moton and Okorafor. They have a ton of guys who get drafted coming out of the MAC and I want to be a part of that, and Western is a great school so I’ll get a good degree on the way.”

Western won the MAC championship in 2016, finishing 13-1 with a Cotton Bowl loss to Wisconsin, finishing No. 14 nationally. The Broncos were in position to win the MAC West title the last two years, losing to Northern Illinois during the final week last year and to Ball State this past Saturday to prevent them from playing in the MAC title game at Ford Field.

Dueweke is excited with WMU’s incoming class.

“Me and Mareyohn (River Rouge quarterback Hrabowski) and (Traverse City Central tackle) Carson Briggs, we’re real close and talk a lot on Zoom calls and our snapchats, group chats, it’s real hard with the Coronavirus pandemic time, trying to be close with everyone, but I really love our team, love our class and feel I think we’re going to be a great class, a MAC champion type of class,” Dueweke said.

“We have a great quarterback. We have great offensive lineman, one of my buddies John Hofer from (Valparaiso) Indiana, he’s part of a class. I just think we’re going to be doing great things, especially with great coaching too.”

Mareyohn Hrabowski, a dual-threat quarterback, led River Rouge to the Division 3 state championship last year, rushing for 175 yards and 3 TDs.

This season, the 6-3, 215-pound Hrabowski — No. 49 — completed 69 of 108 passes for 1,000 yards and 14 TDs, also rushing for 562 yards (92 carries) and 16 TDs to help River Rouge win a district title before the COVID-19 pandemic halted the season.

Briggs, a 6-6, 290-pound tackle for Traverse City Central, is No. 51.

WMU’s class is ranked No. 91 overall, No. 6 in the MAC according to 247Sports.

Stepney highlights CMU class

D.J. Stepney accounted for more than 1,200 all-purpose yards and 9 TDs during his senior year to help Macomb Dakota earn a share of the MAC Red championship.

Now, Stepney is ready to take his talent to Central Michigan to join a running back group that includes former Detroit Cass Tech standout Lew Nichols who rushed for 508 yards, averaging 6.5 yards a carry during his red-shirt freshman season with the Chippewas.

“It was a family feel with them and they’ve just been there from the start with my recruiting,” said Stepney (No. 26) of CMU. “The big schools were recruiting me too, but it was more like a business with them and not relationships and me personally, I care about relationships and who is going to be there for me off the field also just in case something happens.

“Coach Mac (CMU head coach Jim McElwain) keeps connections with his players. I talked with one of the running back (Nichols) and he said he’s a great coach, wants to make sure you’re doing good, asks about your family and I think he’s turning the Central program around. He’s coached everywhere (Colorado State, Florida).”

Stepney’s Dakota teammates in defensive back Eric Reese (defensive back) and Clinton Roberson (receiver) will join him at CMU, as will multiple other standouts from the state, including Romeo defensive end Michael Heldman (No. 38), River Rouge three-star 6-3, 320-pound defensive tackle Pius Odjugo (No. 47), Ypsilanti Lincoln three-star guard Trevor Jones (No. 53) and U-D Jesuit defensive back Elijah Rikard (No. 60).

“I feel like Tyson Davis, a receiver (from Goodrich), is going to be a great player, has good speed and good agility and obviously the guys who are coming with me, Eric Reese and Clinton (Roberson) will be good too,” Stepney said.

“I feel (three-star athlete) Irone Jackson out of Florida will make a difference, I feel like Jase Bauer who we just picked up has a strong arm and he can move around the pocket, and Caleb Spann from New Orleans comes down and makes big hits from his safety spot.”

CMU’s 20-member class is considered to be the No. 3 ranked class in the MAC — No. 83 overall - according to 247Sports.

No Michigan players for EMU

Eastern Michigan went completely out of the state to land its entire 20-member recruiting class, ranked No. 105 in the country and ninth in the MAC by 247Sports.

Chris Creighton guided the Eagles to three bowl appearances in a four-year stretch, going 25-26 (15-17 MAC) from 2016-19, then lost their first four games this year before ending the shortened season with wins over WMU and Northern Illinois.

Despite EMU’s record, the Eagles were No. 1 in the nation in red-zone scoring, going 28-for-28, while defensively ranking No. 7, leaving their opponents scoreless eight times in 28 chances.

The 2021 class is led by three-star defensive lineman Peyton Price (Indiana), three-star tight end Cole Rusk (Illinois), three-star quarterback Austin Smith (Georgia), three-star defensive back Cameron Smith (Cleveland), 6-3, 300-pound three-star defensive tackle Melvin Swindle II (Oklahoma City) and three-star tackle Daniel Warnsman (Ohio).

“This is a really strong group,” said Creighton who has a seven-year record of 30-51 (18-36 MAC) at EMU. “We are proud and excited to welcome these men into our football family. It was a challenge to recruit without any in-person contact since early March, but our culture attracted an incredible group of winners who are going to strengthen our program on and off the field.”

Warnsman picked the Eagles over Central Florida, Toledo, Liberty, Buffalo, Appalachian State and Ball State while Price picked the Eagles over CMU.