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Posted on Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 5:28 p.m.

Four-star quarterback Brogan Roback highlights 21-player Eastern Michigan recruiting class

By Kyle Austin


Eastern Michigan football coach Ron English signed 21 new recruits to EMU Wednesday. file

An 18-month process to bring in the highest-rated recruit in program history ended Wednesday, when Brogan Roback faxed his National Letter of Intent to Eastern Michigan.

Roback, a quarterback from Toledo St. Johns, is rated a four-star recruit by both Rivals and Scout. He’s the first four-star recruit to commit to the Eagles since online databases began in 2002.

The Eagles signed 21 players in their 2013 signing day class, but none is more important than the quarterback coach coach Ron English began recruiting more than a year-and-a-half ago.

“We offered Brog a long time ago, and really knew that we needed to get him in here, and we’re really just very happy that we did,” English said Wednesday.

The Eagles had no quarterbacks in their 2012 signing day class, as they geared up to “really recruit” a player for this year’s class, as English said last year. Roback committed in June, and didn’t waver from his commitment.

Roback was originally thought to be the heir to Alex Gillett, who began his fourth year as a starter in 2012. But Gillett was benched in favor of sophomore Tyler Benz in the Eagles third game of the season. Benz, who will be a junior next year, completed 53 percent of his passes for 1,511 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Having a player of Roback’s stature commit to EMU raises the program’s stature, English said.

“I think it’s always helpful in terms of your perception,” English said. “I think we’re getting better, to be honest. Every year the recruiting is getting better.”

Roback is the jewel in what English calls a talented class, one that he’s hoping can help his team improve on a 2-10 mark from last year.

He’s also hoping the class can help fill in the ranks for a program that’s thin in its oldest class. The Eagles’ 2009 recruiting class, signed just over a month after he was hired, was thin, and EMU felt it on the field last year.

“Last year we had freshmen, sophomores and some seniors but no juniors,” English said. “So we ended up playing a lot of first-year guys who had never played and second-year guys who didn’t play very much.”

This year's class includes three junior college transfers and 18 high school recruits. Three of those recruits come from the state of Michigan: DB Jaleel Canty (Lansing Everett), CB Daquan Pace (Detroit Cass Tech) and LB Derric Williams (Lake Orion).

Canty is a former Cincinnati commit, but found his scholarship offer pulled a month ago when Tommy Tuberville became the Bearcats’ new head coach. A three-star athlete according to scouting services, Canty brings plenty of speed to the defensive back position.

“He’s explosive,” English said. “He’ll be one of the favorites to win the sprint championships this year in Michigan.”

Canty is one of several EMU signees who had interest from larger programs, according to English, including linebacker Nathan Adams, who had interest from Iowa, and Mario Swann, who had interest from Indiana.

“A class that I’m really excited about,” English said. “Obviously they’re young and have to grow into being college players, but a talented class and a class that I like every man in.”

Kyle Austin covers sports for He can be reached at or 734-623-2535. Follow him on Twitter @KAustin_AA.


Frustrated in A2

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 6:54 a.m.

Stay the course Coach English!

Section Six

Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 10:47 p.m.

Expecting anybody to win consistently at EMU is unrealistic. The facilities are terrible (improved somewhat with the indoor practice "bubble," but still severely lacking), the fan-base is nearly non-existent (worst attendance in the MAC, maybe all of D1) and there's not a single DI program in the nation that gets less media attention (with Michigan nearby, the local media essentially ignores EMU). How do you get kids to come play for you under those circumstances? That's why there are three Michigan kids in this recruiting class and six from Indiana. The Indiana kids aren't fully aware of how EMU stacks up to the other schools in the MAC in these areas. Considering the hand that English has been dealt, I think he's accomplished plenty.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 12:24 a.m.

Most of the MAC had a better recruiting year than him. Those are his rivals and those are who he should be compared to. But when he is out-recruited by almost every team in his conference, especially after a couple years on the job, that is a sign that he is not succeeding. No one expects him to out-recruit Michigan. That would be asking too much. Especially since he can't even out recruit Central or Western. But I guess I have different standards of actually having some success. Having one 4 win season entering your fifth year is not success.

Kyle Austin

Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 4:09 p.m.

The Free Press has more information on the Jaleel Canty situation, and how he went from having his Cincinnati offer pulled a month ago to ending up at Michigan:


Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 2:36 p.m.

Anyone with a lick of sense knows that Coach English walked into a very tough situation at EMU. The football program was in shambles. Coach English had to start at the ground floor to build something that will be an asset to the university and the sports fans of EMU. He is doing things the right way and bringing in quality kids to the football program. It's easy to recruit when you're already on the top of the heap and EMU is not there. Coach English needs 4 to 5 years to make something respectable of the EMU football program. He's going in the right direction. Fight, fight for old EMU & vic-tor-y!

Macabre Sunset

Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

I would consider this a start, then. However he got Roback here, he's here and there are Big Ten schools that would have taken him. EMU may be the 124th-best franchise of the 124 FBS schools, when you consider all the data. If English can get any momentum - even a consistent 6-6 here - he'd be showing significant progress.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 12:11 a.m.

No B1G school made him an offer, only MAC's. And what positive momentum? He went from a 4 win season (2 FCS wins don't count) to a 2 win season. He regressed in the first full season of only his recruits. That is the true sign of what he can do is a full season of only his players. And he lost ground. But, this is how EMU rolls. He'll probably win 2 games again and get a long term deal.


Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 3:03 a.m.

How is English still the coach? This is his first 4 star recruit in his tenure here and he is rumored to have come because of his sister, not English's program. He has the 113th best recruiting class out of 123 this year, averaging in the lower 10% of FBS teams during his tenure. Sure, it's usually better than Akron, Buffalo, and Massachusetts, but is that all EMU is aiming for? The guy was hired because of his supposed skill at recruiting. So when is he going to start?


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 11:26 p.m.

Good luck Coach English! Go Hurons!

Section Six

Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 10:55 p.m.

Roback is a big get for EMU. He's the only 4-star player to sign with a MAC team, according to Scout. Give volleyball coach Kim Berrington an assist on the play (Paige Roback is on the EMU volleyball team). Still, only three Michigan kids is still somewhat concerning. CMU has 14 in-state kids in its class. Heck, Bowling Green has four and Ball State grabbed a pair of 3-star kids from the state.

Kyle Austin

Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 11:09 p.m.

Talking to English, having his sister here was definitely a factor in Roback committing. And three Michigan recruits is low for a MAC program in the state, but many are also from the midwest, including six from Indiana.