@BallStateFB: Top Recruits To Watch In 2016 Class

IMG_9337Written By: Alex Thomas | @Alex_Thomas17
Member of Ball State Sports Link

As college football across the country is gearing up for spring practice, we look forward to the the 2016 season and some of the new faces for the Ball State Cardinals.

After National Signing Day a few weeks ago, there are now 22 new Cardinals who could see the field next fall.

Below, I introduce you to five of the highest-rated players in this class by scouting websites across the country who could make an impact at Scheumann Stadium in the next four years.

2016 Ball State Football Recruiting Class

Name Position Height Weight Year Hometown (Previous School)
Lamar Anderson DB 5-10 179 Fr. St. Louis, Mo. (Christian Brothers College HS)
Chris Beech OL 6-1 302 Fr. Miamisburg, Ohio (Archbishop Alter HS)
T.J. Beltavski OL 6-1 287 Fr. Strongsville, Ohio (Cleveland Benedictine HS)
Frank Burton III DL 6-1 254 Fr. Bear, Del. (William Penn HS)
Chris Crumb* DL 6-1 260 Fr. Lewis Center, Ohio (Olentangy HS) ***mid-year
Nolan Givan TE 6-3 236 Fr. Berkley, Mich. (Berkley HS)
Damon Hazelton Jr. WR 6-2 205 Fr. Baltimore, Md. (Franklin HS)
James Jennette III DL 6-3 215 Fr. Florissant, Mo. (Hazelwood West HS)
Tyler Kirtz WR 6-1 186 Fr. Brownsburg, Ind. (Brownsburg HS)
Dylan Koch TE 6-4 220 Fr. Plainfield, Ill. (Plainfield East HS)
Mitch Larsen DB 5-11 180 Fr. Fairfield, Ohio (Fairfield Senior HS)
Donald Manning DL 6-2 225 Fr. Plainfield, Ill. (Plainfield East HS)
Brandon Martin RB 6-0 245 Fr. Indianapolis, Ind. (Lawrence North HS)
Dominick Mathis OL 6-2 322 Fr. Indianapolis, Ind. (Warren Central HS)
Reggie McGee* DL 6-2 230 Jr. Baltimore, Md. (Hartnell College) ***mid-year
Wyatt Plate WR 5-9 170 Fr. Jackson, Mich. (Lumen Christi HS)
Drew Plitt QB 6-2 213 Fr. Loveland, Ohio (Loveland HS)
Kaleb Slaven OL 6-3 254 Fr. Muncie, Ind. (Delta HS)
John Swisher* DL 6-2 277 Jr. Des Moines, Iowa (Iowa Western CC) ***mid-year
Jaylin Thomas LB 6-1 212 Fr. Lima, Ohio (Lima Senior HS)
Anthony Todd OL 6-3 325 Fr. Yorktown, Ind. (Yorktown HS)
Kyle Williams DL 6-3 262 Fr. Indianapolis, Ind. (Southport HS)
Asterisk (*) denotes 2015-16 mid-year additions

Chris Crumb1002po78348-26pv

Position: Defensive Tackle

Hometown (High School): Lewis Center, Ohio (Olentangy High School)

Height: 6’1”

Weight: 260 lbs.

Recruiting Rank: Crumb was named a 2-star player with a 5.3 Rivals.com rating and 247sports.com rated Crumb as a 3-star player.  Crumb is the No. 116 defensive tackle in the country and the number 85 player overall in Ohio, which had 11 players ranked in the ESPN 300 for 2016.  Named to 1st Team All-State in Ohio as a Senior.

Senior Year Stats: 136 tackles, 29 tackles for loss, 15 sacks, 3 fumble recoveries

Analysis: Crumb brings a physicality and drive which was lacking from the Ball State defense last year.  His ability to get to the quarterback from an inside position could be very beneficial to a Ball State defense which recorded only 16 sacks as a team last year.  Also, his ability to get off the blocker and be a run stopper should really help a defense which allowed 225 rush YPG and allowed 29 touchdowns last season.  Crumb will need to bulk up and put on some weight in order to line-up against some of the guards he will be facing in the MAC over the next couple years, but if he can maintain the lateral quickness while doing so then the future could be very bright at Ball State for this young man.

Ball State All-Access: 


Lamar Anderson5258a890d6f86.preview-620

Position: Defensive Back

Hometown (High School): St. Louis, Mo. (Christian Brothers College High School)

Height: 5’10”

Weight: 179 lbs.

Recruiting Rank: Anderson received a 5.6 Rivals.com rating and a 3-star ranking to go with his 3-star ranking from 247sports.com.  Anderson was ranked as an athlete due to his playing time at RB, WR, and DB.  He was the No. 118 athlete in the nation and No. 19 overall player in Missouri and was named to the 6A All-State 1st Team.

Senior Year Stats: 33 solo tackles, 15 assisted, 3.7 tackles per game (Also played RB and WR)

Analysis: Anderson is another physical and hard hitting player in this year’s recruiting class who Defensive Coordinator Tim Daoust believes to have the confidence and physique to be ready to compete from day one.  Anderson’s ability to break on the ball and make tackles from the safety position is definitely a strength and can help with the run game for this Ball State defense, but the question will be his ability to cover over the top against some of the quicker receivers in the MAC.  Anderson is definitely one of the readiest players to compete for playing time in this recruiting class and could pay dividends down the road in his time here at Ball State.

Ball State All-Access: 


James Jennette II55cb95d3453e8.image

Position: Defensive Line

Hometown (High School): Florissant, Mo. (Hazelwood West High School)

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 215 lbs.

Recruiting Rank: Jennette is a consensus 3-star defensive end with a 5.5 rating from Rivals.com.  Jennette was the No. 101 player at his position nationally and the No. 21 player in the state of Missouri.  He received offers from Purdue, Maryland, Kansas St. and others.

Junior Year Stats: 42 tackles, 8 sacks

Analysis: Jennette is a player who Defensive Coordinator Tim Daoust described as “A kid with a tremendous upside.”  He is a very raw, athletic playmaker who has potential for days and could really make an impact on this program as a pass rusher down the road.  Both Daoust and Head Coach Mike Neu believe he needs to add weight and muscle, especially in his chest.  Jennette is a very long player at 6’3” who could drop in to coverage and be very “versatile” as Coach Neu stated on Ball State All-Access.  Jennette isn’t a player who will come in from day one and compete for a starting job, but over the next few years he could really develop into a solid pass rusher for the Cardinals.

Ball State All-Access: 


Nolan Givan

photo by Donna Dalziel

Position: Tight End

Hometown (High School): Berkley, MI (Berkley High School)

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 236 lbs.

Recruiting Rank: Givan is ranked as a 3-star player by 247sports.com and a 2-star player with a 5.3 Rivals.com rating.  Givan is the No. 261 tight end in the nation and the No. 47 player in the state of Michigan for 2016.  He received offers from Temple, UTEP, Princeton and others.

Junior Year Stats: 43 receptions, 651 receiving yards, 4 touchdowns

Analysis: Givan is an explosive player who could be a big time target for Riley Neil over the next few years.  At 6’3” he has the height and jumping ability to get up and grab the ball in the redzone, as well as, soft hands to make him a weapon all over the field.  Head Coach Mike Neu said they plan to use Givan as “a Jimmy Graham type of guy,” which is big praise coming from Neu, who spent the last 2 seasons as a member of the New Orleans Saints coaching staff.  Givan played receiver in high school and has the big play ability of a receiver, but the big frame and versatility of a tight end in the MAC.  If Givan can transcend his game to the college level sooner rather than later, then it can raise the ceiling of this team immediately.

Ball State All-Access: 


Chris BeechIMG9471editedsmallerjpg-868-1422467480

Position: Offensive Line

Hometown (High School): Miamisburg, Ohio (Archbishop Alter High School)

Height: 6’1”

Weight: 302 lbs.

Recruiting Rank: Beech is ranked as a 3-star player by 247sports.com and a 2-star prospect with a 5.3 Rivals.com rating.  Beech is the No. 17 center in the class of 2016 nationally and the No. 90 player in the state of Ohio.  Beech received offers from Navy, Eastern Michigan, Bowling Green, and others.

Senior Year Stats: None

Analysis: Beech has good size and strength to compete at this level right away.  He played mostly center in high school, but has the flexibility and size to fit either guard positions and he has experience at both.  Beech’s recruiting coach, Pat Dougherty described Beech as “a kid who plays hard, plays physical, plays through the whistle,” and his tape would support that entirely.  Beech is quick on his feet with the ability to get to the next level or pull around the tackle and put the defender on his back.  Beech is someone who could be in contention for playing time from the moment he steps on campus.

Ball State All-Access: 

Author: Sports Link Staff

Sports Link showcases Cardinal student-athletes’ accomplishments on the field, in the classroom and within the surrounding community. Follow @bsusportslink on all social media platforms.

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