With National Signing Day upon us Wednesday, the excitement for the future envelops every football program across the country like no other time of the year. However, the reality is that some of the recruits will indeed be stars, while some never even get on the field for their chosen program.
Here is a look at the 2013 recruiting class for Ball State and how those Cardinal signees ultimately panned out.
Chris Blair (defensive back, Winston-Salem, N.C.)
Blair was part of the influx of North Carolina athletes that former Cardinal coach Pete Lembo tapped into from his days at Elon University. Blair spent the 2013 season as a redshirt for the Cardinals and then transferred back home to Elon, where he was a standout defensive back for the past three seasons.
Calvin Blank (tight end, Terre Haute)
Blank spent the 2013 season as a redshirt before playing in four games in his second season. He then transferred to Indiana State and played in 10 games (starting one) with no receptions this past season.
Aaron Clay (wide receiver, Mebane, N.C.)
Another North Carolina kid brought up to Muncie through the Elon coaching connections. He spent the 2013 season as a redshirt before transferring to North Carolina-Pembroke. He played two seasons at UNC-Pembroke with marginal success and wasn’t on the 2016 roster.
Steve Drida (punter/kicker, Waukesha, Wisconsin)
He did not appear in a game in his first two seasons and played in two as a junior. He kicked off 14 times this past season in four games. He never attempted a punt or field goal in his career.
Blake Dueitt (defensive line, Cornelius, N.C.)
Another North Carolina athlete brought up to Muncie by Lembo and his staff that actually contributed early on in his career. He played in 16 games over the first two seasons before leaving the program. He tweeted in May of 2015 “#collegein5words I'm glad I dropped out.”
Daniel Garces (defensive line, Matthews, N.C.)
Yet another North Carolina product that never panned out in Muncie. Garces spent the 2013 season as a redshirt before being on the roster in 2014, but not seeing any action. He left the program in 2014. Somehow, he was listed on the 2016 roster of Feather River College (a junior college in Quincy, California) as a freshman. He played in six games for the Eagles last fall – as a freshman – and had 17 tackles and a sack – as a freshman. You have to love junior college athletics.
Nicholas Isaacs (linebacker, Cincinnati)
He spent the 2013 year as a redshirt before playing in seven games in 2014. Was mildly productive before leaving the program and transferring to Ohio Dominican, where he enjoyed a solid 2016 season with 37 tackles.
Jarrid Lloyd (offensive line, Naperville, Illinois)
He spent three years in the program and never appeared in a game. He was not listed on the 2016 roster.
Pat Maloney (offensive line, Niles, Illinois)
He spent his first season as a redshirt before playing in one game in 2014, nine in 2015 and all 12 games as a starter at right guard last season. Maloney will return for a fifth year in 2017.
Stephan Martin (linebacker, Lake Alfred, Florida)
After redshirting for the 2012 season, Martin played in 16 games over the next two seasons, but registered just eight total tackles.
Jack Milas (quarterback, Arlington Heights, Illinois)
After redshirting his first season, Milas earned the starting job in 2014, but got injured after six games. He started the initial three games of the 2015 season before losing the starting job to then-true freshman Riley Neal. Milas got one start this past season for the injured Neal. He will play his final season in 2017. He has completed nearly 55 percent of his passes for his career for over 1,800 yards with 11 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
David Moore (defensive back, Matthews, N.C.)
Another North Carolina product that actually has been productive and stuck out his time in Muncie. Moore has played in 34 games and will finish his career in 2017 as a fifth-year senior. He has registered 101 tackles. In 2016, he played in 10 games and started six. He deflected 10 passes and made 33 tackles.
Vinnie Palazeti (offensive line, Owosso, Mich.)
After redshirting his first season, Palazeti has played in 28 games and started 18 of them. Has been an Academic Al-MAC selection, as well. He started all 12 games in 2016 (11 at center).
Damerrian Petty (defensive line, Shelby N.C.)
Another North Carolina product that failed to produce. He never even made it to the 2013 roster and his Facebook page says that he attended Cleveland Community College and Winston-Salem State, with no reference to football.
P.J. Scott (offensive line, Morris, Oklahoma)
In his only two seasons with the Cardinals, he played in 23 games. Helped Jahwan Edwards become the most productive runner in program history.
Ralph Smith (defensive back/wide receiver, Avon, Ohio)
Spent four years in program and switched between wide receiver and defensive back due to injuries. He saw action in two games.
Stu Stanley (linebacker, Indianapolis)
He played in 27 games in his first three seasons with marginal results, but had his most productive season in 2016. He played in all 12 games and registered 34 tackles. He finished his career of playing as a back-up linebacker and regularly on special teams with 43 tackles and one forced fumble.
Haris Vrabac (offensive line, Warren, Mich.)
After redshirting the 2013 season, he did not see action in either the 2014 or 2015 seasons. Vrabac was not on the 2016 roster.
Sean Wiggins (linebacker, Mint Hill, N.C.)
He was outrageously great to the point that he almost makes you forget about all of the other disappointing recruits brought up from North Carolina. Wiggins was a two-time All-MAC selection and team captain in 2016. He played in 47 games, starting 25 of them. He registered nearly 300 tackles for his career, including 15 tackles for a loss.
Teddy Williamson (running back, O’Fallon, Mo.)
He was never the star runner on any of his teams, but the fact that he was named as a team captain in 2016 tells you what those in the program thought of him. Finished his career having played in 47 games and rushing for nearly 600 yards and three scores. Was honored with the Mark Hays Inspiration Award this past season, which is given to the person who demonstrates the greatest ability to motivate and inspire his teammates.
Anthony Winbush (defensive end, Indianapolis)
After redshirting his first season, has emerged as a defensive force. Has played in 33 games and registered 16 tackles for a loss and 13.5 sacks. He had 8.5 sacks this past year in 11 starts in 12 games.
This poor level of recruiting goes a long way in explaining why the Ball State program has fallen on hard times in recent years. Of the 21 recruits signed that year, 11 earned a grade of F (and it wasn’t difficult to assign such), with another getting a D. At best, there are six players that other MAC programs would’ve really wanted to have, and that number may be only four. Some could argue that this recruiting class deserves a grade of F, but it did have some solid offensive linemen and a couple of stars, so it is not a complete wash-out.
Overall grade: D