Ushering in a new era at Eastern Michigan University is Chris Creighton, who was recently named the University's head football coach. 2013 provided another disappointing season for Eagle's fans and changes in the coaching regime were made.
Creighton boasted a 35-19 record during his 6 seasons as the head football coach at Drake University. Many question marks arose when Creighton accepted the Eagle's job. Making the jump from FCS to division 1 is not always an easy transition. Ypsilanti has also not been kind to football coaches, considering the Eagle's have only won one bowl game, which took place 27 years ago.
Coach Creighton was able to make a big first impression on fans and critics alike with a very solid recruiting class, in which, he assembled in short time. 17 high school football players inked national letters of intent to play for EMU and coach Creighton for the next four plus seasons.
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The new Eagle's coaching staff made it a priority to add size in the trenches. Creighton and company added five offensive linemen, and two defensive linemen to beef up the incoming freshman class.
Eastern got a steal by nabbing one of the top instate lineman in Ka'John Armstrong of Detroit Loyola. From there, Eastern was only getting started. Chris Bukoski, Chris Hendricks, and Jeremy Hickey make up the other instate offensive lineman for the class.
Hickey was a late bloomer and really blew up toward the end of his senior season. He anchored a Brother Rice squad that finished a perfect 14-0 and earned its third straight State Championship. When asked what clinched his commitment to the Eagles, he raved about the new staff and how the 2014 class formed a close bond. "When I visited, all the guys that were committed came together and said "hey let's do this, let's make this happen for coach". Hickey will hope to be a staple on the Eagle's offensive line in the coming years.
Running behind the massive O-Line haul will be Clarkston running back Ian Eriksen. At 5'10 and 190lbs, Ian has a 350lb bench press, but also matches his impressive strength with top end speed. Eriksen, who is also one of the best track sprinters in the state, amassed 1,695 yards and 26 Touchdowns on a State Championship team. Citing the coaches as a main reason for choosing EMU, Ian added "I was recruited by both the old staff and the new staff, and it's a whole new feeling over there. The coaches and players are both excited and ready for this new era to begin."
To be successful at a high level, a prolific offense needs to be matched with a smart, fast, and physical defense. Middle linebacker Kyle Rachwal leads the class on the defensive side. Pilling up 109 tackles, 4 interceptions and 2 defensive touchdowns, Rachwal's best traits aren't stated in his numbers. As a middle linebacker, he will be looked at as the "quarterback" of the defense. Rachwal knows what it takes to be a leader on the field. He knows exactly what the staff wants of him and his teammates and wants to lead everyone into battle. Rachwal has displayed the leadership qualities already without even touching the field, and it's those type of qualities that you cannot coach.
It is still incredibly early in the Coach Creighton era at Eastern Michigan, but the state of the program seems to be in good hands. The players have bought in and Creighton is ready to do something a coach at EMU hasn't done in 27 years, and that is to capture a MAC championship. Of EMU's 17 recruits, nine of them are from the state of Michigan and it appears as if in-state recruiting just got a little tougher for everyone.