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April 20, 2013

Class of 2014 grows to seven

Western Michigan's recruiting class of 2014 continues to grow at an unprecedented rate. At this early stage, the class now stands at seven after the recent commitments of Ladarian Smiley and Deontae Brown.

Smiley, the first commitment from Florida in the class, is a high-level recruit with offers from Illinois, Tennessee, Kentucky, Idaho and Troy as well as in-state rival Central Michigan. He projects as a likely wide receiver at the next level, standing at 5-foot-10 and 155 pounds.

Former Rivals.com analyst Chris Nee watched Smiley at the FHSAA State Championships in December of 2011, and gave his report.

"The sophomore athlete contributes on both sides of the ball, but made his biggest impact on special teams and at wide receiver. He returned a punt 72 yards by showing good vision and allowing his wedge to open up a gaping hole he flew through. At wide receiver, he caught five passes for 116 yards and two touchdowns. He is extremely thin and a bit short, but he is dangerous with the ball in his hands and in space," Nee wrote.

Brown, meanwhile, comes from closer to home, within the six-hour radius of Kalamazoo. A 6-foot-2, 200 pound safety from Chicago's Mt. Carmel High, Brown was getting looks from Ball State, North Dakota, Bowling Green, Northern Illinois and Purdue, but ended his recruitment by committing just after WMU's spring game.

WMU's seven commitments are spread between three states, with Michigan providing four, Illinois two and Florida one. The Broncos are now tied for the ninth-most commits in the nation.

In the Rivals.com national team rankings at this very early stage, WMU checks in at 47th, and tops in the Mid-American Conference as one of two programs with ranked recruits.

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