National Signing Day is often compared to celebrating the birth of a team for fans of college football, as well as the high school students and junior college transfers who are preparing for their first taste of Division I football.
Wednesday, 17 recruits joined the Eastern Michigan University football team, including defensive end Lion King (Southfield, Mich. – Southfield High School).
Yes – that’s his actual name.
In just less than three months on the job, new coach Chris Creighton lived up to his promise of bringing in recruits from within the state of Michigan when he recruited King and eight of his new teammates – including one from Detroit.
“On Thursday, Dec. 12, I was introduced as the new EMU head coach at a press conference,” Creighton said in a news release. “That evening, I was at Michigan’s Dream Team Banquet where both Ian Erikson and Jeremiah Harris were being honored. Despite the challenges of an extended recruiting dead period and the need to hire an entire coaching staff, we are both thrilled and fortunate to announce our first class of EMU Eagles. The class is talented, for sure, but we are even more excited about the quality of their character.”
In a recruiting class which includes eight two-star recruits and four three-star recruits at six different positions, King has already stolen the spotlight.
Fans of the team, as well as some who cover it took to Twitter Wednesday morning when the signing was officially announced.
Matt Sussman tweets for multiple blogs, including HustleBelt. He sent the following tweet: “The biggest loser in the Lion King to EMU news is Pudge Cotton. No longer the best name on the team.”
Another tweeter, who’s name is listed as Maxmosis Jones, sent this tweet Wednesday afternoon: “Eastern Michigan commit Lion King Conaway is your newest best sports name contestant. Wow.”
Creighton was proud of his first recruiting class as EMU’s coach.
“These are great guys who believe that they can help transform this program from the inside out, ultimately being a true source of pride and joy for this outstanding university and our surrounding community,” Creighton said. “This class will forever be very special to me as it [is] our inaugural class at Eastern.”
Below is the full list of the 2014 recruiting class.
Ka’John Armstrong – Offensive Tackle – Detroit, Mich.-Loyola
Jason Beck – Cornerback – Indianapolis, Ind.-Arsenal Technical
Cameron Bouldin – Defensive Back – Cincinnati, Ohio-La Salle
Chris Bukoski – Offensive Tackle – Dewitt, Mich.-Dewitt
Ian Eriksen – Running Back – Clarkston, Mich.-Clarkston
David Francis – Linebacker – Opa Locka, Fla.-Hialeah
Tim Gordon – Defensive Back – St. Paul, Minn-Cretin-Derham Hall
Jeremiah Harris – Defensive Lineman – Lambertville, Mich.-Bedford Senior
Chris Hendricks – Offensive Lineman – Fruitport, Mich.-Fruitport
Jeremy Hickey – Offensive Lineman – Troy, Mich.-Brother Rice
Kenny Jones – Wide Receiver – Indianapolis, Ind.-Lawrence Central
Lion King – Defensive Lineman – Southfield, Mich.-Southfield
D’Marcus Moon – Linebacker – Fort Wayne, Ind.-North Side
Kyle Rachwal – Linebacker – Warren, Mich.-Lapeer East
Dakota Tallman – Offensive Lineman – LaGrange, Ohio-Elyria Catholic
Shaq Vann – Running Back – South Bend, Ind.-John Adams
Ross Williams – Cornerback – Birmingham, Mich.-Groves
Follow Al Willman on Twitter: @AlWillmanEcho