BALL STATE RELEASE

MUNCIE, Ind. – The Ball State football program announced today the signing of 18 student-athletes who will join the Cardinals next academic year or in the spring.
“We are thrilled about this class and the impact it can have on our program,” head coach Mike Neu said. “It is a talented and versatile class filled with multi-dimensional guys at each position. These players come from tradition-rich, highly successful programs with tremendous coaches. They are already tight-knit as a group, communicating regularly with one another and eager to get started in Muncie.”
The class comes from across the Midwest and beyond with five from Illinois, three from Indiana and Ohio, two from Michigan and Missouri, and one each from Florida, Maryland and Virginia. The Cardinals filled positions all over the field, signing three running backs, three tight ends, three linebackers, three defensive backs, two quarterbacks, two offensive linemen, one receiver and one defensive lineman.
“It is a credit to our coaching staff that we were able to secure a class of this caliber given the recruiting restraints of this past year in the pandemic,” Neu said. “Through virtual visits, video calls and regular communication, we succeeded in securing an outstanding group.”
The incoming crop will join a Ball State program riding high. The Cardinals are champions of the MAC West Division for the first time since 2008 after finishing 5-1 in the regular season, all against league competition. 
Ball State is preparing to play in Friday’s Rocket Mortgage MAC Championship Game against No. 23 Buffalo at Ford Field in Detroit. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. on ESPN and the Ball State Radio Network at 104.1 WLBC.  Ball State Championship Week is presented by Northwest Bank and Community Hospital of Anderson.


2021 Ball State University Football Signees (bios below)
Thailand Baldwin*, CB, 6-0, 170, Fr., Hampton, Va. (Life Christian Academy)
Rico Barfield, RB, 6-1, 210, Fr., St. Louis, Mo. (DeSmet Jesuit HS)
Drayton Charlton-Perrin, TE, 6-4, 235, Fr., Northbrook, Ill. (Glenbrook North HS)
Jaret Frantz, TE, 6-3, 210, Fr., Elyria, Ohio (Elyria Catholic HS)
Phyllip Gunn, OL, 6-3 , 315, Fr., Hammond, Ind. (Merrillville HS)
Drew Hughes, DL, 6-2, 260, Fr., Willow Springs, Ill. (Nazareth Academy)
Brady Hunt, QB, 6-6, 215, Fr., Muncie, Ind. (Delta HS)
Jalen Johnson, OL, 6-3, 330, Fr., River Rouge, Mich. (River Rouge HS)
Kiael Kelly, QB, 6-2, 210, Fr., Tampa, Fla. (Gaither HS)
Tanner Koziol, TE, 6-6, 215, Fr., Bloomingdale, Ind. (Mt. Vernon HS)
Rae’Quin Lee, RB, 5-10, 180, Fr., Southfield, Mich. (Southfield A&T)
Jordan Marshall, SAF, 6-1, 205, Fr., St. Louis, Mo. (Christian Brothers College HS)
Justin Morris, LB, 6-4, 220, Fr., Vernon Hills, Ill. (Vernon Hills HS)
Vaughn Pemberton, RB, 5-11, 210, Fr., Lake Forest, Ill. (Loyola Academy)
Nick Presley, WR, 6-0, 180, Fr., Cincinnati, Ohio (Walnut Hills HS)
Jordan Riley-Scott*, CB, 6-1, 195, Fr., Clinton, Md. (National Christian Academy)
Joey Stemler, LB, 6-2, 230, Fr., Cleves, Ohio (Elder HS)
Jackson Wiegold, LB, 6-2, 220, Fr., Vernon Hills, Ill. (Vernon Hills HS)
Asterisk (*) denotes joining team in 2021 spring semester

Student-Athlete Profiles

Thailand Baldwin, CB, 6-0, 170, Fr., Hampton, Va. (Life Christian Academy)

HIGH SCHOOL: Earned four letters at Life Christian Academy … played for head coach Charles Scott … 3-star recruit via 247Sports … three-time all-state selection … two-time all-region and all-area … helped Life Christian reach the state championship game as sophomore … clocked a time of 4.3 in the 40-yard dash … participated on track team and a won state championship as a sophomore as part of 4×200 relay … PERSONAL: Son of Kimberly Baldwin and Wilken Michel … born March 20, 2002 … full name is Thailand Baldwin.

Rico Barfield, RB, 6-1, 210, Fr., St. Louis, Mo. (DeSmet Jesuit HS)

HIGH SCHOOL: Earned four letters at DeSmet Jesuit as a running back and wildcat quarterback … played for head coach Robert Steeple … 3-star recruit via 247Sports … team captain as a senior … second-team all-state as a junior … twice first-team all-conference … racked up 2,817 rushing yards and 31 touchdowns in high school career … ran for more than 1,100 yards and 18 touchdowns as a junior … had 683 yards and eight touchdowns in only six games as a senior … helped DeSmet go 29-4 over his final three seasons, including a 14-0 record and a state championship as a junior … also competes in basketball … member of the honor roll … PERSONAL: Son of Larria Miller … five siblings … brother Ricky played football at Eastern New Mexico … born Sept. 27, 2002 … full name is Rico Devontae Barfield.

Drayton Charlton-Perrin, TE, 6-4, 235, Fr., Northbrook, Ill. (Glenbrook North HS)

HIGH SCHOOL: Earned four letters at Glenbrook North as a tight end and linebacker … played for head coach Matt Purdy … 3-star recruit via 247Sports … all-conference and all-area as a junior … team captain as a senior … senior season moved to the spring due to the coronavirus pandemic … helped the Spartans win a conference title and reach the state playoffs as a sophomore … also lettered in basketball … PERSONAL: Son of Justin Charlton-Perrin and Stacia McGurn … two older brothers … brother Jackson is a football player at Bluefield College … born Sept. 4, 2002 … full name is Drayton Nash Charlton-Perrin.

Jaret Frantz, TE, 6-3, 210, Fr., Elyria, Ohio (Elyria Catholic HS)

HIGH SCHOOL: Earned three letters at Elyria Catholic … played for head coach Brian Fox … 3-star recruit via 247Sports … second-team all-state as a junior … Great Lakes Conference offensive player of the year as a senior … three times all-conference, including first-team honors as a junior and senior … twice first-team all-district and all-county … had 86 career receptions for 1,493 yards and 23 touchdowns  … caught 10 touchdowns as a junior … had 430 receiving yards and eight touchdowns in six games as a senior … timed at 4.6 in the 40-yard dash … also a two-year letterwinner in basketball … member of the honor roll … PERSONAL: Son of Bob and Jean Frantz … dad played collegiately at Heidelberg … has one sister … born July 14, 2003 … full name is Jaret Michael Frantz.

Phyllip Gunn, OL, 6-3, 315, Fr., Hammond, Ind. (Merrillville HS)

HIGH SCHOOL: Played his senior season at Merrillville for Ball State alumnus Brad Seiss … helped the Pirates to a 10-2 record and a conference championship … 3-star recruit via 247Sports … previously played at Morton High School in Hammond, helping the team to a 9-2 mark his junior year … played both offensive and defensive line in his high school career … first-team all-conference as a junior … also an all-area selection … PERSONAL: Son of Earnestine Carey … born Dec. 19, 2002 … full name is Phyllip Anthony Gunn.

Drew Hughes, DL, 6-2, 260, Fr., Willow Springs, Ill. (Nazareth Academy)

HIGH SCHOOL: Four-year letterwinner at Nazareth Academy … played for head coach Tim Racki … played both offensive and defensive line plus tight end in high school … team captain as a senior … senior season moved to the spring due to the coronavirus pandemic … helped Nazareth to three state championship appearances … member of the honor roll … PERSONAL: Son of Rick and Lynn Hughes … one younger sister… born Nov. 9, 2002 … full name is Andrew Douglas Hughes.

Brady Hunt, QB, 6-6, 215, Fr., Muncie, Ind. (Delta HS)

HIGH SCHOOL: Four-year letterwinner at Delta … played for head coach Chris Overholt … three-time team captain … first-team all-conference as a junior and senior … team MVP as a junior and senior … finished his career with 3,774 yards and 47 touchdowns through the air plus 958 yards and 17 touchdowns on the ground … 27 wins in his career … four-time academic all-conference and academic all-state as a senior … National Honor Society member … also a four-year letterwinner in basketball … a three-time all-conference selection, three-time sectional champion and all-state honorable mention choice as junior on the hardwood …  PERSONAL: Son of Jeremy and Linda Hunt … one brother and one sister … born Aug. 30, 2002 … full name is Braden Jeremiah Hunt.

Jalen Johnson, OL, 6-3, 330, Fr., River Rouge, Mich. (River Rouge HS)

HIGH SCHOOL: Four-year letterwinner at River Rouge … played for head coach Corey Parker … two-time captain … all-state as a junior and senior … also an all-conference selection … earned team MVP honors … helped River Rouge to its first-ever state championship in as a junior in 2019 … the program had a record of 38-7 during his career … member of National Honor Society … PERSONAL: Son of Danielle and Alexzander Carter and Christopher Johnson … four siblings … uncle Curtis Johnson played football at Central Michigan and stepfather Alexzander Carter played football at Hampton … born June 18, 2003 … full name is Jalen Christopher Larry Johnson.

Kiael Kelly, QB, 6-2, 210, Fr., Tampa, Fla. (Gaither HS)

HIGH SCHOOL: Four-year letterwinner at Gaither … played for head coach Kirk Karson … 3-star recruit via 247Sports … totaled more than 5,000 passing yards to go with 60 passing touchdowns and 21 rushing touchdowns in his career … an all-state and all-conference selection … led his team to an 11-0 start as a senior … led his team to the state semifinals twice … team captain as a junior … also plays basketball and baseball … member of the high honor roll … PERSONAL: Son of Jaclyn and Kenny Kelly … two brothers and two sisters … father played quarterback at Miami (Fla.) and played professional baseball in the major leagues … born Feb. 2, 2003 … full name is Kiael Kelly.

Tanner Koziol, TE, 6-6, 215, Fr., Bloomingdale, Ind. (Mt. Vernon HS)

HIGH SCHOOL: Three-year letterwinner at Mt. Vernon … played for head coach Mike Kirschner … played tight end and defensive end … team captain as a senior … compiled 1,110 career receiving yards and 22 touchdowns … had 35 receptions for 450 yards and 14 touchdowns as a senior … helped Mt. Vernon to the state finals as a junior and to conference and sectional championships as a junior … honor roll member … PERSONAL: Son of Sandee Koziol … one brother … cousin Logan Justus was a kicker at Indiana … born Jan. 28, 2003 … full name is Tanner John Koziol.

Rae’Quin Lee, RB, 5-10, 180, Fr., Southfield, Mich. (Southfield A&T HS)

HIGH SCHOOL: Two-year letterwinner at Southfield A&T … played for head coach Reggie Wynns … 3-star recruit via 247Sports … team captain … limited by injury to three games as a senior but managed 300 rushing yards and four touchdowns … registered 1,129 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns as a junior … PERSONAL: Son of Clayton Lee Jr. and Rashell Washington … four siblings … father played football at Ferris State … born April 11, 2002 … full name is Rae’Quin Lamar Lee.

Jordan Marshall, SAF, 6-1, 205, Fr., St. Louis, Mo. (Christian Brothers College HS)

HIGH SCHOOL: Four-year letterwinner at Christian Brothers College HS … played for head coach Scott Pingel … 3-star recruit via 247Sports … first-team all-state and first-team all-district as a senior … two-time first-team all-conference … team captain as a senior … finished his high school career with 94 tackles, six interceptions and three fumble recoveries … had 26 tackles and three interceptions in a shortened senior season … won back-to-back state championships as a freshman and sophomore … PERSONAL: Son of Hermena Murphy … one older brother … brother Theo played football at Missouri State … born Oct. 17, 2002 … full name is Jordan Warren Marshall.

Justin Morris, LB, 6-4, 220, Fr., Vernon Hills, Ill. (Vernon Hills HS)

HIGH SCHOOL: Three-year letterwinner at Vernon Hills … played for head coach Bill Bellecomo … 3-star recruit via 247Sports …all-conference and all-area as a junior … senior season moved to the spring because of the coronavirus pandemic … also played one year on offense, catching 41 passes for 470 yards and eight touchdowns … also competed in basketball … member of the honor roll … high school teammate of fellow BSU linebacker signee Jackson Wiegold … PERSONAL: Son of James and Kelly Morris … two brothers … born Oct. 3, 2002 … full name is Justin Thomas Morris.

Vaughn Pemberton, RB, 5-11, 210, Fr., Lake Forest, Ill. (Loyola Academy)

HIGH SCHOOL: Two-year letterwinner at Loyola Academy … played for head coach John Holecek … second-team all-conference selection as a junior … offensive team MVP as a junior when he helped his team to an 11-3 record … has rushed for more than 1,000 yards with 22 touchdowns in his career … senior season has been moved to the spring because of the coronavirus pandemic … PERSONAL: Son of Steve and Tonya Pemberton … born May 7, 2002 … full name is Vaughn Ellis Pemberton.

Nick Presley, WR, 6-0, 180, Fr., Cincinnati, Ohio (Walnut Hills HS)

HIGH SCHOOL: Four-year varsity letterwinner at Walnut Hills … played for head coach Gerry Beauchamp … played wide receiver and cornerback … two-time team captain … first-team all-conference, second-team All-Southwest Ohio and honorable mention all-district as a junior … piled up nearly 1,200 all-purpose yards and seven total touchdowns as a junior … caught 11 passes for 136 yards and a touchdown in a limited senior season … also a three-year starter in baseball … PERSONAL: Son of Erin England … two siblings … born April 22, 2003 … full name is Nicholas Latrell Presley.

Jordan Riley-Scott, CB, 6-1, 195, Fr., Clinton, Md. (National Christian Academy)

HIGH SCHOOL: Four-year letterwinner at National Christian Academy … played for head coach Andre Kates … played defensive back and wide receiver … first-team all-conference selection … helped his team to an 8-3 record as a senior … had five career interceptions and returned one for a touchdown … also competes in wrestling and track and field. PERSONAL: Son of Danielle and George Riley … five siblings … uncle Mike Scott played at Bowie State … born March 2, 2002 … full name is Jordan Tyree Riley Scott.

Joey Stemler, LB, 6-2, 230, Fr., Cleves, Ohio (Elder HS)

HIGH SCHOOL: Three-year letterwinner at Elder … played for head coach Doug Ramsey … team captain as a senior … 3-star recruit via 247Sports … rated among the top 75 inside linebackers nationally in his class by ESPN … had 80 tackles and four sacks for his career, including 35 tackles and two sacks as a senior … team won a regional championship as a sophomore, finished state runner-up as a junior and won a sectional title as a senior … also lettered in baseball … member of the National Honor Society … PERSONAL: Son of William and Dona Stemler … three older brothers … father played football and baseball at Butler … born July 12, 2003 … full name is Joseph William Stemler.

Jackson Wiegold, LB, 6-2, 220, Fr., Vernon Hills, Ill. (Vernon Hills HS)

HIGH SCHOOL: Three-year letterwinner at Vernon Hills … played for head coach Bill Bellecomo … 3-star recruit via 247Sports …first-team all-conference as a junior … team captain … has 106 tackles, 24 tackles for loss and five forced fumbles in his career … racked up 76 tackles and 14 tackles for loss as a junior … senior season moved to the spring because of the coronavirus pandemic … also competed in baseball and basketball … an academic all-state selection … high school teammate of fellow BSU linebacker signee Justin Morris… PERSONAL: Son of David and Joan Wiegold … two siblings … born April 26, 2003 … full name is Jackson Charles Wiegold.