Midwest Recruiting: Dakota’s Jaylen Hall, Kaiser Carleton, Brandon Siwajek sign with Western Michigan
Macomb – Over the course of the past couple of weeks, Jaylen Hall had become one of the fastest rising names and most coveted uncommitted players in Michigan leading up to Wednesday’s National Signing Day.
And on Wednesday, Hall made the decision that he would be joining his Macomb Dakota teammates in Kalamazoo, committing to Western Michigan and joining running back Kaiser Carleton and defensive tackle Brandon Siwajek, who will be a walk-on for the Broncos.
Hall, who will play wide receiver at the next level for the Broncos after hauling in a school record 18 touchdown passes as a senior in 2016, said that while the recruiting process was stressful for him, he knew he would end up a Bronco after receiving an offer from Western Michigan last week.
The trio of Dakota players all signed their National Letter of Intent on Wednesday afternoon, as did Brett Droski (Saginaw Valley State), Coty Bastian (Davenport), Evan Sivec (Michigan Tech) and Nicholas Carl (Sienna Heights).
“It’s a very overwhelming process as you can tell,” Hall said. “Everything came in at the last minute, rushed me at the end. From experience, I liked Western Michigan from the beginning, from my sophomore year, so when they came in and offered me on Tuesday or Wednesday, I knew that was the school I wanted to go to.”
Dakota head football coach Greg Baur said that he was surprised that it took as long as it did for some schools to offer Hall and later added that after Hall’s recruitment picked up just last week, he feels the 6-3 wide receiver made the right choice.
“It’s weird because once one school offers, they all chime in, no one wants to be the first,” he said. “He had an offer from Eastern, he had some offers from GLIAC schools, so he had offers, but we were kind of waiting for that bigger offer to come and we were kind of puzzled why it didn’t and on that Friday, Western came in, UCONN came in, offered and they all wanted him to come out the next day and it’s difficult to go three places at once, but I think he ended up in the right spot.”
Carleton made his commitment to the Broncos and head coach P.J. Fleck at the beginning of January, before Fleck departed Kalamazoo to take over as the coach at Minnesota, which did make Carleton’s recruitment difficult at times while he waited for Western Michigan to name its new head coach.
But after Tim Lester was hired to lead the program in mid-January and Carleton had the opportunity to talk with him and running backs coach Eric Evans, he was reassured that Kalamazoo was still the right choice for him.
“It was hard at times with the whole situation with coach Fleck leaving,” he said. “That was probably the hardest time because he’s a big part of the reason why I’m going over there. But the new coaches, coach Lester, coach Evans, I have good connections with, so they made it feel like home for me and I’m just looking forward to going over there and playing for them.”
Despite Fleck leaving Western Michigan, Baur said he Carleton didn’t waiver from his commitment to the Broncos and also added that all three of his players headed to Kalamazoo cited that they were not only comfortable with the football program, but the University as well.
“I texted him (Carleton) the night that P.J. left and I asked if this changed anything, and he said No, I committed to a school, not a coach,” he said. “So that was a very mature way of thinking about things and that’s the way we try to encourage our kids, if football ended tomorrow, would you be happy at this school? And all three said absolutely.”