Class of 2013
Jake Brown 6-0 205 Sr QB Comstock Park
As Comstock’s Park QB, all he’s done is won. He led them to the Division 4 semifinals in 2011, and the Panthers are the O-K Blue champion and into the second round of the playoffs. Oh yeah, those numbers. In the regular season he completed 97o-of-172 passes for 1,132 yards and seven TDs, while running 160 times for 780 yards and 20 TDs. Brown throws maybe the tightest ball we’ve seen all season. And while he’s a running QB, he does most of it as an interior power runner and doesn’t have the breakout speed of a guy who might move to another position in college. Sweetening the deal for recruiters, Brown ranks first in his class academically.
Jake Daugherty 6-3 275 Sr OL/DL Big Rapids
He’s the rare high school lineman that plays with aggression and swagger. Big Jake has good speed and is very light on his feet, which is why he plays middle linebacker at 275 pounds. At the next level, he will probably be an offensive tackle because he should add about 20 pounds of muscle mass via the college weight room and training table. On the O-Line, he does a great job of finishing his blocks and plays with good pad level. He’s also a good post player on Big Rapids’ basketball team. Daugherty could be a steal for a college program; if he were at a bigger high school he would be a much more highly recruited player.
Blake Mazur 6-3 250 Sr DL Comstock Park
He’s 6-3, 250, and if anything plays larger than that. He plays with a big, wide base and weathers the offensive line’s initial hits. That allows him to be the team’s fourth-leading tackler despite playing defensive end. Mazur also starts as Comstock Park’s left offensive tackle. A D lineman all the way, probably doesn’t have the flexibility or speed for linebacker. GLIAC loves him all the same.
Nate Pupel 6-0 215 Sr LB/FB Traverse City Central
He’s the leader of the Trojans’ defense, has great football instincts and is always around the football. In the Trojans’ opening round playoff game last week, Pupel played tailback for the injured TJ Schwannecke. Pupel came up big with 116 yards rushing and 3 TDs to help lead TCC to an overtime win over Bay City Western. His athleticism was on display at our Northern Michigan Football Combine & Exposure Camp in July, placing in the top 10 of the vertical jump, broad jump and pro agility shuttle. He’s a hard-nosed football player with a knack for making big plays, and should find a home at the next level in the GLIAC.
Dylan Smith 6-2 180 Sr WR Kenowa Hills
The career of the most prolific receiver in Kenowa Hills history came to an end last Friday. Fittingly, Smith finished with nine catches for 152 yards and two TDs in Kenowa’s loss to Muskegon. For the year he caught 64 balls for 1,226 yards and 13 TDS, plus two special teams TDs. He has a mix of what you want in a receiver with size, hands, sharp routes that create openings and the speed that helped him have five games with at least two touchdowns. There’s room to improve with strength and ball security, as in college Smith’s 4.68 speed may have him going underneath more often. He also started at cornerback and rarely left the field.
Nick Steinke 6-3 280 Sr DL Watervliet
Steinke stands out in small school ball by benefit of his size alone. He goes both ways for the Watervliet team that was eliminated by Constantine in the opening round of the D6 playoffs. The Panthers’ run a fast-paced no-huddle offense so it’s basically spot duty for Steinke at left tackle. It would be interesting to see how Steinke would fair as a power run blocker, but all their linemen start out on two feet. He is a stalwart at defensive tackle however. Teams run away from him, though against good linemen he doesn’t demand a double-team. Need to see more pop and meanness out of him in there.
Class of 2014
Dayton Wierenga 6-2 210 Jr DL Allendale
Allendale was knocked out in the first round of the Division 4 playoffs by Comstock Park. Don’t be surprised if the Falcons don’t make a much longer run in 2013. They return all kinds of talent, including their three leading tacklers — Wierenga, 6-1, 200 junior linebacker Colin Beebe and 5-11, 180 soph linebacker Jon Nielson, plus two promising interior linemen in 6-4, 230 Glenn Geurink and 6-3, 220 Aareon DeWeerd, both juniors. Wierenga not only led the team in tackles, but he and Beebe both finished the season with six sacks apiece. Wierenga plays defensive end for Allendale and projects to the next level as an outside linebacker because of his speed. He doesn’t just get by on being fast, there’s some nice technique for a young player, showing quick hands on his swim move.
Allendale’s young talent isn’t limited to the defensive side of the ball. In 2013 they’ll also return 5-11, 165 junior QB Haiden Majewski, leading rusher Ethan Hovingh a 6-0, 180 sophomore and leading receiver Nate Couturier, a 5-10, 130 sophomores. Hovingh was injured and didn’t play in October, including the playoff loss to Comstock Park. But Couturier did, and is the kind of playmaker who has to be accounted for at all times. He’s a flyer, and kind of has to be at 130 pounds. As a freshman, he finished second in the 300-meter and fifth in the 110-meter hurdles a t the Division 2 state finals. For this football season, he had 44 catches for 836 yards and 12 TDs, and also had a 90-yard kickoff return.