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2004 MAC Football Recruiting - Akron Zips


Akron signed 22 players under new coach JD Bookhart, who comes to Akron from the University of Pittsburgh.  Bookhart wanted to sign speed and build depth and he and his staff did just that.  Of Akron’s 22 newcomers, 10 come from Ohio with six coming from Pennsylvania.  This is a balanced class with 11 players signed on both sides of the ball.  Seven players earned all-state honors.  While quality defensive prospects were needed and signed, Akron also brings in two highly regarded QB prospects in Kurt Shoemaker from Cincinnati, and Brian Flaherty from near by Stow, Ohio.  Both had several MAC offers.  The highlights of this class are four excellent prospects from Cleveland Glenville’s powerhouse program.  Even though Bookhart and his staff got a late start on the recruiting trail, Akron did a fine job at keeping the five verbals under former coach Lee Owens, and adding some quality talent in these past few weeks or the overall recruiting process.


  • Three of the four players from Cleveland Glenville are Jemall Benjamin, a top 40 recruit in Ohio with several offers who will likely play LB.  Donte Cloud is a speedy SS/OLB prospect Stephon Fuqua who is a track star. 
  • Akron signed two players from the Tampa area, Brandon Williams, a talent WR and Doug Williams, a defensive end.  Both attended Chamberlain high school but they are not related.
  • The Zips found some nice out-of-state prospects in Kevin Grant, an all-state player from Virginia, Eric Lively, an all-state player and top-25 prospect from Maryland, and Brion Stokes, a top-50 prospect from North Carolina. 
  • Akron addressed some immediate needs with so many skilled position players graduating this year by signing three RBs and three WRs.  All six of these prospects will be given a chance to compete for playing time this fall.

Final Thoughts

Akron got a late start at the recruiting game this year but certainly found some nice players and speed in this 22-member class.  Akron also did a wonderful job at mining talent in Ohio and western Pennsylvania, which is positive.  By getting a balanced class and addressing immediate and long term needs, Akron’s class rates as VERY GOOD compared to the other MAC programs this year.  The players from Glenville and the two QB prospects are very talented.  There are several ‘unknowns’ in this class that four or five years from now, we may look back and see that this group of recruits was even better than this initial analysis.


Jesse Arntz             DL      6-6     260     Massillon, Ohio (Perry H.S.)

Jemall Benjamin         LB      6-1     210     Cleveland, Ohio (Glenville H.S.)

Garrett Brewster        OL/DL   6-4     270     Harrisville, Pa. (Franklin H.S.)

Chris Brown             DB      5-9     200     Westerville, Ohio (St. Francis DeSales H.S.)

Jared Cecchetti         OL/DL   6-2     258     Kane, Pa. (Kane H.S.)

Donte Cloud             LB      5-10    195     Cleveland, Ohio (Glenville H.S.)

Doug Fife               TE      6-5     230     Venetia, Pa. (Peters Twp. H.S.)

Brian Flaherty          QB      6-5     215     Stow, Ohio (Stow Munroe-Falls H.S.)

Gary Frisby             WR      6-0     165     Grand Blanc, Mich. (Grand Blanc H.S.)

Stephon Fuqua           DB      6-1     205     Cleveland, Ohio (Glenville High School)

Kevin Grant             LB      6-2     230     Herndon, Va. (Herndon H.S.)

C.J. Grube              OL      6-5     310     Steelton, Pa. (Mercersburg Academy)

Jamail Jackson          RB      5-11    215     Oil City, Pa. (Oil City H.S.)

Eric Lively             TE/DE   6-2     255     Gambrills, Md. (DeMatha H.S.)

Johnny Long             WR      6-1      170    Cincinnati, Ohio (Princeton H.S.)

Joe McDaniel            RB      5-11    210     Turtle Creek, Pa. (Woodland Hills H.S.)

Kurt Shoemaker          QB      6-3     200     Cincinnati, Ohio (Anderson H.S.)

Renaldo Siler           LB      6-1     220     Canton, Ohio (Perry High School)

Brion Stokes            LB      5-11    215     Charlotte, N.C. (David Butler High School)

Andre Walker            RB      5-10    185     Reynoldsburg, Ohio (Reynoldsburg H.S.)

Brandon Williams        WR      6-1     170     Tampa, Fla. (Chamberlain H.S.)

Doug Williams           DL      6-2     241     Tampa, Fla. (Chamberlain H.S.)

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