When Chuck Martin left the University of Notre Dame (as offensive coordinator) to take over the Miami University RedHawks (as head coach), people thought he was crazy. Martin himself told Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports that he was a bit off.
Not only did he leave one of the premier schools in the country, he took a $200,000 pay cut to do it. And took over a team with the longest losing streak in the country.
But Martin had a vision and wanted to turn the program around. Later in his interview with Wetzel, Martin said, “As a head coach, you want to leave your mark, and what’s a bigger mark than winning a conference title here?”
Not only did he leave one of the premier schools in the country, he took a $200,000 pay cut to do it.
Here, of course, is Miami.
Woody Hayes, Bo Schembechler, Ara Parseghian, Paul Brown, Weeb Ewbank and most recently John Harbaugh, plus several others.
The legend of Miami’s coaching tree is well-known in coaching circles. And Martin knew that.
Knowing of The Cradle helped land Martin, a coach with a sky-high ceiling. He dominated at Grand Valley State University and then built a powerful offense in South Bend, Indiana, for the Irish.
But could he turn around one of the worst programs in Division-I sports?
That question cannot be definitively answered, yet. . .
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Oct 18, 2014; DeKalb, IL, USA; Miami (Oh) Redhawks head coach Chuck Martin during the second half at Huskie Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
However, if his first full year of recruiting is any sign of what the future holds, he very well could turn the RedHawks around.
This season Martin landed the number two class in the Mid-American Conference (MAC).The class ranks as the 81st best class in all of D-I football, according to 247sports.com.
Fourteen three-star recruits signed with Miami, according to 24/7 Sports composite rankings, the most since data has been collected.
The class is anchored by quarterback Billy Bahl. Bahl comes from Marion Central Catholic high in Woodstock, Illinois. He had offers from just about every MAC team. He even received an offer from Rutgers University and took a visit to Penn State University, two Big 10 schools. He graded out as the 35th best pro-style quarterback in all of high school football.
Miami also swiped Junior McMullen, the 87th best outside linebacker, from in-state rival, University of Cincinnati.
Martin also landed three offensive linemen who had composite rankings as three-stars. That is a position Miami was in great need of.
Another spot that Martin may have solidified is their running back position.
The team was abysmal last season on the ground, they ranked 122 out of 128 schools.
The ’Hawks added two-three star backs in Joshua Allen and Maurice Thomas.
Allen was looked at by some major running teams, including Georgia Tech and West Virginia University. He did not get any major offers outside of the MAC, however.
And Thomas is a local favorite who played at Talawanda High in Oxford, Ohio. He set multiple school records during his time in the backfield and hopes to transition that over to the college gridiron.
The team finished up recruiting with the following position-by-position breakdown.
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In all, this was an exciting class for RedHawk fans. It shows that Martin, who is heralded as a great recruiter, really is, as advertised.
The next big step is to transition these recruits from high school standouts to good college players.
The book of Martin is far from over, but as we flip from the first chapter to the second, RedHawk fans should be optimistic that the ending will satisfy them.