WMU News

Football Broncos announce 2000 recruiting class

Feb. 3, 2000

KALAMAZOO -- The WMU football team has signed 18 student-athletes to National Letters of Intent for the 2000 season. Head Coach Gary Darnell made the announcement Wednesday (Feb. 2) at news conference held in the Bill Brown Alumni Football Center.

This year's recruiting class is rich in homegrown talent. The Broncos signed 11 players from Michigan the most in Darnell's four recruiting seasons at Western Michigan.

"We focus in on what it takes to be a player first, and we were able to find that in Michigan, especially in the areas of offensive line and defensive backs. The success we had on the field I think was also recognized by the kids."

Athleticism is another trademark of this year's class. At least 12 players had multiple-sport careers in high school, qualifying for state competitions in track, swimming and wrestling.

"From an athletic standpoint, it's the most complete package we've had in terms of height and speed. They're going to be even bigger and faster sometime soon," Darnell said.

The Broncos addressed their needs by signing 11 defensive players, including three at the key linebacker spot. WMU also signed a quarterback and a kicker to insure the team's future.

"I feel very good about this class in terms of filling the voids we have," said Darnell. "We were able to get most of the players we wanted and didn't have to go very far to do it."

A breakdown of this year's recruiting class:

By segments: offense (6), defense (11), special teams (1)

By positions: defensive line (5), defensive back (3), linebacker (3), offensive line (3), quarterback (1), kicker (1), tight end (1), wide receiver (1)

By state: Michigan (11), Illinois (3), Florida (1), Idaho (1), Indiana (1), Wisconsin (1)

Football recruits (position, height, weight, hometown)

Jason Babin
Defensive Lineman, 6-3, 240 Paw, Mich. (Paw Paw HS)
Currently enrolled at Western Michigan University * missed the entire 1998 season with a broken leg * All-Kalamazoo Valley Association pick as a junior, averaging over 22 tackles * won state wrestling tournament.

Tony Carr
Defensive Back, 6-0, 175, Flint, Mich. (Carmen Ainsworth HS)
All-State Honorable Mention * First Team All-Big 9 Conference selection * all-area selection * team's Offensive Most Valuable Player and captain * two-way player at cornerback and quarterback *scholar-athlete with a 3.50 grade point average.

Jon Evans
Defensive End, 6-5, 210, Grand Rapids, Mich. (Ottawa Hills HS)
All-OK Red Conference pick * led team in tackles and sacks (17) senior campaign * lettered freshman season and finished career as team captain * two-sport athlete who earned three letters in basketball, leading the team in rebounds and block shots * has 4.55 speed in the 40 * took part in STRIVE community service program, assisting elementary children.

Ryan Harris
Quarterback, 6-1, 200, Franklin, Idaho (Ricks JC)
Currently enrolled at Western Michigan University * played two seasons at Ricks Junior College in Rexburg, Idaho * completed 221 of 355 passes last year for 3,075 yards and 31 touchdowns * led the Vikings to a No. 3 national ranking in back-to-back seasons * set school career records for completions (382), completion percentage (.617) and touchdowns (51) * teams scored more than 500 points both seasons * served two-year LDS mission in England * played prep ball at Preston High School.

Mike McCord
Offensive Lineman, 6-7, 270, Willowbrook, Ill. (Hinsdale South HS)
Member of All-West Suburban Gold Team * listed on the Daily Herald's and Suburban Life's All-Area teams * earned two letters in football and three in basketball * involved in school's fight against drugs program * student council.

Nick Melcher
Outside Linebacker, 6-3, 220, Oak Forest, Ill. (Oak Forest HS)
Chosen to the Chicago Tribune All-State Second Team * All-SICA Orange selection * voted Defensive Most Valuable Player for the SICA Orange league * All-Area pick by the Star News * team captain * received two varsity letters in football * Academic All-State * National Honor Society * had a perfect practice record in four years and never missed a day of school.

Robert Menchinger
Kicker, 5-11, 160, Elkhart, Ind. (Jimtown HS)
Chosen to All-State Top 50 Team * received all-conference honors as a kicker, defensive back and quarterback * chosen special teams MVP four straight years * played on two state championship teams * three-year starter at shortstop * member of National Honor Society with a 3.40 grade-point average.

Willie Miller
Outside Linebacker, 6-2, 223, Mattawan, Mich. (Mattawan HS)
All-Kalamazoo Valley Association selection in 1999 * chosen All-Midwest by Gridiron Greats Magazine * team's leading tackler last season * two-time selection to the Coaches' Academic Team * voted school's Student of the Year.

Justin Milus
Defensive Lineman, 6-5, 240, Farmington, Mich. (Farmington HS)
All-State Honorable Mention * Western Lakes Conference All-Division Team member * positioned at No. 42 on the Detroit News Blue Chip Top 60 list * had nine receptions for 138 yards and one touchdown, along with 38 tackles * three year starter and letterwinner * captained basketball squad and earned team's Most Valuable Player honor.

Erik Oleson
Linebacker, 6-2, 235, Broadhead, Wis. (Broadhead HS)
All-State * achieved all-conference honors a running back and linebacker * voted Linebacker of the Year in the Rock Valley Conference * invited to play in the Shrine Bowl * cited on all-district and all-area teams * team captain and Most Valuable Player * participated in Big Brother program.

Ernest Osborne
Defensive End, 6-5, 220, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Dillard HS)
Chosen to participate in the Broward North-South All-Star Game * Second Team All-State selection * Second Team All-Broward Defensive pick.

Clay Powell
Defensive Back, 6-2, 195, Southfield, Mich. (Southfield HS)
All-conference first team selection * Oakland County all-league second team honoree * chosen to the Detroit Free Press All-North squad * team captain in football and track * team's Defensive Most Valuable Player * All-State Honorable Mention in track during junior year.

Kyle Ras
Offensive Lineman, 6-6, 270, Jenison, Mich. (Jenison HS)
Listed at No. 39 on the Detroit News Blue Chip Top 60 * First Team All-OK Red Conference pick * listed All-State teams selected by the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News * Grand Rapids Press All-Area Team * started playing football as a sophomore in high school * can bench press 310 pounds * center on varsity basketball team.

Lee Robinson
Defensive Lineman, 6-4, 240, Naperville, Ill. (North HS)
Received Special Mention All-State accolades from the Chicago Tribune in 1999 * tabbed All-Area by the Daily Herald and Lisle Reporter *unanimous all-conference choice * earned two letters in football, three in track (shot put) and two in basketball * recipient of Make A Difference Leadership Award.

Scott Robinson
Defensive Back, 6-1, 180, Ypsilanti, Mich. (Ypsilanti HS)
All-Mega Red Conference selection * chosen to all-metro and all-area second teams * made Gridiron Greats Magazine's Team Elite * had 13 catches for 485 yards and five touchdowns * team captain * lettered in baseball * listed in Who's Who Among American High School Students * National Honor Society member * student council president.

Tyrone Walker
Wide Receiver, 6-2, 175, Lansing, Mich. (Sexton HS)
First team all-conference * had 25 catches for 463 yards and eight touchdowns as a senior * listed on All-Area Dream Team * team captain * placed fifth in the state in the 300 hurdles junior year.

Jamie White
Tight End, 6-3, 220, Dowagic, Mich. (Dowagic HS)
Class B All-State choice as a quarterback * No. 43 on the Detroit News Blue Chip Top 60 list * will play in Michigan Prep All-Star Game * three-year varsity starter * team captain in three sports: football, basketball and track * received All-State track honors on two occasions * scored over 1,000 points during his basketball career and was twice chosen all-conference.

Dustin Zawacki
Offensive Lineman, 6-4, 264, Milan, Mich. (Milan HS)
Unanimous All-Southeastern Conference selection * named to All-State teams by Associated Press, the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News * listed as the state's 38th-best recruit by the Free Press * chosen for the Michigan Prep All-Star Game * helped Milan to three conference titles and a 27-6 record * earned letters in football (3), track (4), swimming (2) and basketball (1).

Media contact: Daniel Jankowski, 616 387-4122; daniel.jankowski@wmich.edu

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