Chris Creighton touts quality over quantity in 7-member Eastern Michigan recruiting class

David Goricki
The Detroit News

Eastern Michigan coach Chris Creighton has his Eagles in Mobile, Alabama, getting ready for the LendingTree Bowl against Liberty, which will be played Saturday evening.

The bowl game will be EMU’s fourth in the last six years. Creighton is planning to earn more trips with the addition of his 2022 recruiting class, led by running back Elijah Jackson-Anderson, who rushed for 1,303 yards and 17 touchdowns to help Grand Blanc to a 12-1 record and Division 1 state semifinal appearance.

Jackson-Anderson, who earned first-team all-state (Division 1-2) honors by The Detroit News and is ranked No. 35 on the Blue Chip list, also received offers from Cincinnati and Iowa State, along with several offers from Mid-American Conference schools.

Former Michigan State linebacker Chase Kline will play next season at Eastern Michigan.

“They care a lot about education and that’s important to me too, and I feel like it’s a place I can grow as a person and player,” Jackson-Anderson said of EMU. “I took my official visit two weeks ago. They showed me around campus, talked a lot about education. I spent some time with the players, went ax throwing and bowling. It was a lot of fun.

“They have great coaches there. I felt like I had already been there for a while, had a real connection with the coaches.”

The 5-foot-10 Jackson-Anderson bulked up by 15 pounds to 190 as a senior.

“I worked all offseason and got stronger. I was just as physical last year, but this year bounced off guys, ran them over sometimes with stiff arms and noticed I was faster too. I run a 4.5 40," he said.

Creighton has built the Eagles into a respectable program, going 34-35 (21-25 MAC) the last six years.

“Although it is a small class in overall numbers, this is an extremely talented group that truly fits our culture," Creighton said of the seven-player class. “We cannot wait for these guys to get here.”

One of the reasons the class was smaller is several EMU players decided to take advantage of an extra year of eligibility granted by NCAA.

“Actually, we think it’s a compliment," Creighton said. "Our guys who had the extra year wanted to come back. I think that matters in college football. Culture matters. Loving where you’re at matters. All of them wanted to come back and we welcomed them back, and therefore the NCAA did not make arrangements for the 2022 class."

Creighton hopes three-star offensive tackle Joshua Anderson, from Missouri, can develop into the offensive lineman his father Bennie Anderson was when he played seven years in the NFL.

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The Eagles also will bring in former Michigan State linebacker Chase Kline, a junior who had 29 tackles for the Spartans in 2020, including three tackles and a forced fumble against Ohio State.

Kline, out of Ohio, was ranked as the No. 22 inside linebackers in the nation by 247Sports coming out of high school and ranked as the No. 27 outside linebacker in the nation by

The class also includes 6-foot-6, 230-pound defensive end Maliek Bogard, a three-star player ranked as the No. 19 overall player in the state of Oklahoma by 247Sports. He set a school record by averaging 14 tackles a game.