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Big 10: Michigan
While U-M only has one Lake Area recruit, he is one who, the last time he played football, achieved the greatest receiving game in state final history. The only problem for Drake Harris — that was 2012, and he hasn’t played since. The former Grand Rapids Christian two-sport all-stater is already enrolled at Michigan. Harris is the Lake Area’s No. 1 prospect. No. 2 is his former teammate Tommy Doles, an athletic lineman headed to Northwestern. Michigan State has the largest Big Ten class in numbers, with two Lake Area kids St. Francis LB/DB Byron Bullough and Berrien Springs lineman Nick Padla, though both are ranked lower here than on national recruiting sites.
MAC: Western Michigan
It was a regrettable debut on the field for first-year WMU coach PJ Fleck, but he did row the boat the right direction on one front — prioritizing in-state recruiting. That included locking down the Broncos’ own backyard, which was never the case during Bill Cubit’s tenure. WMU landed two of the Lake Area’s top 5 seniors, in defensive tackle Kenneth Finley of Muskegon and do-it-all mammoth athlete Jordan VanDort from Zeeland West. Not only do these guys have Big Ten measurables, but they’re winners. VanDort started on West’s 2011 and 2013 state championship teams, while Finley did the same on the Big Reds squads that twice finished state runner-up to to Brother Rice. WMU also added Asantay Brown, an all-state receiver from Mona Shores who spurned a Minnesota offer to play DB in Kazoo; and Elliot Jordan, a lanky, athletic tackle prospect from East Kentwood. Preferred walk-on Cory Carr is a brawling offensive lineman and linebacker who played on the Portage Central team that went undefeated before losing to Muskegon in the Division 2 semifinals.
HM in the MAC is CMU. The Chippewas have long thrived recruiting the Lake Area, from their first All-American Leo Wisneski, through Jim Bowman, Curtis Adams, Gary Hogeboom, to Ray Bentley or Dan Bazuin, and Rockford’s finest Bryan Anderson and Joe Staley. Central has smaller scholarship numbers in 2014 with a fewer than 20-man class, slow-playing the Lake Area before swooping in to add some quality prospects. They flipped Grand Rapids West Catholic’s Mitchell Stanitzek from EMU and also took Bridman’s Cooper Mojsiejenko. Both have the size, versatility and athleticism to be quality starters. Mojsiejenko’s talent won’t be fully realized if CMU uses him only as a punter, the position his father played in the NFL. Portage Central running back Jerrod Davis made the most of his one season in the Lake Area after moving from Detroit King, and Maple City Glen Lake’s Trevor Apsey is a walk-on with scholarship athletic ability.
GLIAC: Ferris State
The Bulldogs hit up the Lake Area hard for what was a nationally-recognized Division 2 class in 2013, with the likes of Montague’s Brandon Moore, Grand Rapids Catholic Central’s Ryhem Stokes and Rockford’s KC Zenner amongst their dozen local signees. There are eight on Ferris’ board in 2014, and the high quality continues led by the Lake Area’s top running back or linebacker, Zeeland East’s Spencer Viening, and top quarterback, Cadillac record-setter Jalen Brooks. Viening, injured most of his senior season, is a top 10 overall prospect (ahead of three BCS recruits) and Brooks top 20 (ahead of four MAC scholarship players). Ferris State is fond of Division 2 semifinalist Portage Central, taking three Mustangs — RB/LB Jacob Allen; TE/DL Matt Capasso; and TE/OL Hunter Lassiter, originally a CMU commitment. The linebacking corps is impressive — Grand Rapids Union’s Paul Brown; pass-rusher Carl Grant from Dowagiac; and Muskegon’s Will Hunt.
It would be remiss not to mention GLIAC HM Northern Michigan. Marquette came out of nowhere in previous recruiting cycles to enter West Michigan and land one of the best defensive players in Rockford history, all-state linebacker Brent Showers, and the Lake Area’s most explosive running back, Danny Bauder from state champion Zeeland West. NMU also added two guys who didn’t just put up sterling numbers against legit competition, but did it with college bodies, 6-1 195 Muskegon Reeths-Puffer running back Julian Munday and 6-4 240 GR Catholic Central receiver Austin Gordon.
Small College: Siena Heights
The Saints have a sweet star logo and had a number of big recruiting wins in the Lake Area. Ogemaw Heights lineman Alec Stevens, Traverse City St. Francis linebacker Adam Armour, Grand Rapids Christian WR/DB Dwayne Barfield and Forest Hills Eastern receiver Sam Harrison are all in the Lake 100.
Preliminary prospects rankings for the Lake Area’s current junior class.
- Bryce Wilker 6-6 280 OL Belding
- Jon Keenoy 6-3 285 OL East Kentwood
- Bryce Witham 6-5 225 DL/TE Grand Rapids West Catholic
- Carter Masek 6-3 235 LB East Grand Rapids
- Jon Wassink 6-2 185 QB Grand Rapids South Christian
- Brandon Childress 6-3 185 QB Baldwin
- Tyree Jackson 6-3 185 QB Muskegon Mona Shores
- Travis Russell 6-3 190 QB Grand Rapids West Catholic
- Blake Bockheim 6-4 220 TE Grand Rapids Northview
- Cole VanOosten 6-7 270 OL Kalamazoo Christian
- Kasey DeWitt 6-4 220 DL Shelby
- Jarad Whited 6-2 225 DL/LB Vicksburg
- Qi’antae Ewing 6-3 235 LB Grand Rapids Christian
- Chase VanHoef 6-4 280 OL Grand Haven
- Wesley French 6-5 275 DL/OL St. Joseph
- Nate Couturier 5-10 150 WR Allendale
- Corey Redman 6-5 180 QB Boyne City
- Jack Bates 6-2 215 LB Grand Rapids Christian
- Dereko Riley 5-8 170 DB/RB Muskegon Reeths-Puffer
- Dakota Scholten 6-4 220 TE/DL Grant
- Josh Branagan 6-4 210 TE Lowell
- DeKurtis Murphy 6-5 295 OL/DL St. Joseph Lake Michigan Catholic
- Mikey Roth 5-11 185 QB East Grand Rapids
- Mitchell Quakkelaar 6-3 245 OL/DL Grand Rapids South Christian
- Danil Young 5-11 165 DB Grandville
- Nick Marosi 6-2 185 WR Grand Rapids Catholic Central
- Malik Swain 6-2 280 DL Grand Rapids Kenowa Hills
- Chase Herrington 6-3 210 LB Greenville
- Joviear Kennedy 6-3 180 WR Muskegon
- Juwan Jarnegan 6-0 220 DL Grand Rapids Christian
- Josh Colegrove 6-0 220 DL Lowell
- Trevor Raby 6-4 235 OL Zeeland West
- Tommy Brown 6-2 265 DL/OL Grand Rapids Northview
- Marty Ward 5-9 200 LB Niles Brandywine
- Sam Heyboer 6-4 200 WR Grand Rapids South Christian
- Alezay Coleman 5-9 175 DB Muskegon
- Smith Saenbouttarah 6-0 245 OL/DL Zeeland West
- Mike Parker 6-0 170 WR/DB Muskegon Orchard View
- Eric VanVoorst 6-2 180 DB/WR Grand Rapids South Christian
- Seth Tice 6-2 265 OL Traverse City Central
- Tony Curry 6-5 300 OL/DL Muskegon Oakridge
- TJ Patterson 6-3 250 OL Reed City
- Corey Westra 5-9 175 RB Zeeland West
- Mason Opple 6-2 195 QB Hudsonville
- Andrew Duckett 6-1 175 ATH Niles Brandywine
- Sam Beal 6-2 170 WR Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills
- Ben Hartley 6-2 180 ATH West Branch Ogemaw Heights
- Caleb Brinks 6-1 280 OL Hudsonville Unity Christian
- Adam Trautman 6-4 200 ATH Elk Rapids
- Zach Hellman 6-4 220 DL/OL Muskegon Mona Shores
- Drake Harris 6-4 170 WR Grand Rapids Christian Michigan
- Tommy Doles 6-5 260 OL Grand Rapids Christian Northwestern
- Kenneth Finley 6-3 285 DL Muskegon Western Michigan
- David Walker 6-4 230 ATH Harbor Springs Harvard
- Jordan VanDort 6-5 320 OL/DL Zeeland West Western Michigan
- Jhonathan Williams 6-6 235 DL/TE Berrien Springs Notre Dame
- Spencer Viening 6-2 220 RB/LB Zeeland East Ferris State
- Malik King 6-4 280 OL Muskegon Ball State
- Kyle Steigenga 6-5 185 WR Holland Christian
- Connor Hayes 6-3 300 OL Traverse City West Pittsburgh
- Nick Padla 6-5 270 OL Berrien Springs Michigan State
- Asantay Brown 6-1 190 DB/WR Muskegon Mona Shores Western Michigan
- Byron Bullough 6-3 225 LB/DB Traverse City St. Francis Michigan State
- Mitchell Stanitzek 6-4 235 DL/TE Grand Rapids West Catholic Central Michigan
- Elliot Jordan 6-7 260 OL East Kentwood Western Michigan
- Jacob Howe 6-2 240 DL Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern Grand Valley State
- Evan Akins 6-6 285 OL Hudsonvile Navy
- Cooper Mojsiejenko 6-4 215 K/WR/TE Bridgman Central Michigan
- Jalen Brooks 6-3 180 QB Cadillac Ferris State
- Alex Lewandoski 5-11 185 DB Muskegon Catholic Central Saginaw Valley State
- Chris Hendricks 6-5 275 OL/DL Fruitport Eastern Michigan
- Danny Bauder 5-9 185 ATH Zeeland West Northern Michigan
- Drew Marion 6-2 185 QB Marion Michigan Tech
- Brent Showers 5-10 225 LB Rockford Northern Michigan
- Jerrod Davis 5-11 190 RB Portage Central Central Michigan
- Hunter Lassiter 6-4 255 TE Portage Central Ferris State
- Austin Labus 6-6 300 OL/DL Portage Northern Bowling Green
- Will Hunt 6-1 220 LB Muskegon Ferris State
- Zach Evans 6-2 240 DL Grand Rapids Kenowa Hills Michigan Tech
- Jake Khoury 6-3 290 DL Traverse City St. Francis Buffalo
- Ryan Gruszka 6-4 215 DL Comstock Park Saginaw Valley State
- Wyatt Batdorff 5-10 180 DB/LB Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern Hillsdale
- Paul Brown 5-11 200 LB Grand Rapids Union Ferris State
- Quinton Sweeney 6-3 220 LB Wayland
- Matt Capasso 6-3 220 TE/DL Portage Central Ferris State
- Connor Smith 6-5 275 OL Three Rivers Cornell
- Austin Gordon 6-4 240 WR/TE Grand Rapids Catholic Central Northern Michigan
- Marquon Sargent 6-1 170 WR Muskegon Mona Shores Grand Valley State
- Cory Carr 6-1 240 OL Portage Central Western Michigan
- AJ Tinholt 6-3 245 OL Zeeland West
- Trevor Apsey 6-0 205 ATH Maple City Glen Lake Central Michigan
- Doug Freeman 5-11 200 DB/RB Buchanan
- Isaak Newhouse 6-0 185 WR/DB Grand Haven Butler
- Randy Garvin 6-1 210 LB Rockford Wayne State
- John Hall 6-0 195 LB Muskegon
- Alex Zimmerman 5-11 165 DB/WR West Ottawa Hillsdale
- Jacob Kaczynski 6-4 230 LB/TE Ludington Michigan Tech
- Jake Achterberg 6-1 200 LB Stevensville Lakeshore
- Jake Bush 5-11 185 RB Comstock Park
- Jacob Allan 6-3 195 RB/LB Portage Central Ferris State
- Darohn Scott 6-8 225 DL Grand Rapids Christian
- Kyler Shurlow 6-1 195 ATH Lowell Mount Union
- Todd Postma 6-5 240 DL Grand Rapids Christian
- Carl Grant 6-2 220 DL/LB Dowagiac Ferris State
- Connor Conaboy 5-11 260 OL East Grand Rapids Butler
- Julian Munday 6-1 195 RB Muskegon Reeths-Puffer Northern Michigan
- Alec Stevens 6-5 270 OL West Branch Ogemaw Heights Siena Heights
- Adam Armour 6-1 210 LB Traverse City St. Francis Siena Heights
- Luke Diekeers 6-5 200 TE Jenison
- Buck Tottingham 6-2 220 DL Muskegon Reeths-Puffer
- Shea Whitmore 6-2 190 LB Petoskey Hillsdale
- Mike Miklusicak 5-9 190 RB Wayland
- Zach Walker 6-0 195 ATH Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central
- Dominic Paiz 5-8 175 RB Grand Rapids Christian
- Andy Corey 5-8 175 RB/DB Grand Rapids West Catholic Saginaw Valley State
- Ian Tyler 6-4 215 DL Muskegon Catholic Central Columbia
- Matt Reitsma 6-2 260 OL Lowell
- Stephen Hanson 6-4 285 OL Muskegon Reeths-Puffer
- Kaleb Hauser 62- 225 LB Kalkaska
- Colin Beebe 6-2 230 ATH Alledale Grand Valley State
- Colin Calloway 6-1 185 WR East Kentwood Mount Union
- Nick Swore 6-2 190 QB Grand Rapids NorthPoine Christian Malone
- Josh Olson 6-3 185 WR Rockford
- Timothy Wielenga 6-0 215 RB/LB Paw Paw Concordia
- Tyler Sigler 6-3 200 ATH Grand Rapids Christian Wheaton
- Trent Kujawa 5-9 190 LB/DB Zeeland West
- Dwayne Barfield 6-2 175 WR/DB Grand Rapids Christian Siena Heights
- Jordan Waire 6-1 175 DB Muskegon
- Trevor Martin 6-1 265 DL Cadillac
- Rodney Davis 6-1 180 QB Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills
- Jeremy Stygstra 6-3 260 DL Grand Rapids Christian
- Ben Walton 6-0 245 DL East Jordan Northwood
- Preston Simon 6-3 210 LB Portage Northern
- Alex VanVossen 6-4 245 OL Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central
- Ethan Badger 6-1 185 LB Grand Rapids Christian
- Jarret Sobkowiak 6-0 250 DL Rockford
- Jack Phillips 6-3 215 RB/LB Wayland
- Jack Turak 6-2 190 RB/LB St. Joseph
- Brad Fall 6-0 215 LB Marion Concordia
- Jared McNitt 6-0 200 LB West Ottawa
- Sam Kuiper 5-9 175 ATH Grand Rapids Christian Butler
- Alexander Lake 6-2 225 DL/LB Byron Center
- Logan Smith 6-4 215 WR/TE Muskegon Mona Shores Wayne State
- Jacob Compagner 6-5 230 OL Zeeland East
- Kennedy Akins 6-0 175 DB Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills
- Kameryn Kidder 6-2 220 LB Middleville
- Cameron White 6-4 300 OL Saugatuck
- Sam Harrison 5-11 175 WR Grand Rapids Forest Hills Eastern Siena Heights
- Sam LaRoche 6-0 190 DB Comstock Park
- Kyle Blough 6-3 200 TE/WR Lowell
QB Jake Swander 6-0 205 Sr Grayling
OL Colton VanDyke 6-1 245 Sr Wayland
OL Cameron White 6-4 300 Sr Saugatuck
OL Cory Carr 6-1 240 Sr Portage Central
OL Stephen Hanson 6-4 285 Sr Muskegon Reeths-Puffer
OL Matt Hoover 5-11 285 Sr Muskegon Reeths-Puffer
TE Kyle Blough 6-3 190 Sr Lowell
RB Danny Bauder 5-9 185 Sr Zeeland West
RB Michael Miklusicak 5-9 190 Sr Wayland
WR Colin Calloway 6-1 185 Sr East Kentwood
WR Alex Zimmerman 5-11 165 Sr West Ottawa
DL Malik Green 5-7 200 Sr Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills
DL Trevor Martin 6-1 265 Sr Cadillac
DL Buck Tottingham 6-0 220 Sr Muskegon Reeths-Puffer
DL Ben Walton 6-0 245 Sr East Jordan
LB Kody Bauswell 6-1 190 Sr Hudsonville
LB Kameryn Kidder 6-2 220 Sr Middleville Thornapple-Kellogg
LB Alexander Lake 6-2 225 Sr Byron Center
LB Odell Miller 6-4 230 Sr Richland Gull Lake
DB Kennedy Akins 6-0 175 Sr Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills
DB Sam LaRoche 5-11 180 Sr Comstock Park
DB Darius Sanderford 5-10 180 Sr Ann Arbor Pioneer
Darius Sanderford, a 5-10, 180 senior, was the best cover man in camp. The Ann Arbor Pioneer senior’s 4.5-second 40-yard tied him for the fastest in camp. He was physical, aggressive and cocky enough to come back to make plays if he’d been beat the time before. Sanderford had some terrific mathups with Terrill Wilburn, a 5-6, 150 St. Joseph senior who ran a 4.7 40. Tweak the grades a bit, and Sanderford will have some options. Wilfburn, who had three picks in the regular season, was one of two good St. Joe DBs at camp, along with senior Warren Clark.
Yet another of the Ottawa Hills contingent that looked sharp was Kennedy Akins, a 6-0, 175 senior.
“He has greats size,” one of the coaches said. “He’s long and he can run.”
Kyle Blough played tight end for Lowell as a 6-3, 190 senior. Like his versatility, can also split wide or play running back. Typical fundamentals you’d expect from a Red Arrow, Blough made a good target, saw ball and adjusted accordingly and caught it away from his body. Ran a 4.9 40. A similar do-it-all guy who excelled as a pass rusher in the fall but may work best at receiver is Grandville’s Josh Ham, a 6-3, 180 senior.
While he doesn’t play at a big school like Blugh and Ham, Saugatuck senior Joseph Koscielski is a big man at 6-4, 220. He was a running back and linebacker for the Indians, looks like a tight end or H back. Other tight end possibilities are Petoskey’s Anthony Duran, who went both ways for the Northmen and looks the part at 6-2, 220 with a 4.86 40, and Reed City’s 6-2, 200 Kyle Wright, who caught the ball well all day.
Alex Zimmerman was consistent and dialed in every play, going either way. He’s a 5-11, 165 receiver and defensive back. Sure-handed, he was one of the few athletes to excel at the two-ball receiving drill. Ran 4.7. Coached up and consistent.Grades, test scores help his chances. Ionia’s Colin Prominski is a big, physical receiver at 6-1, 200 with a 4.86 40.
There were a number or senior receivers who you wish were a bit faster, but are productive because of routes and hands like 6-1, 185 Colin Calloway from East Kentwood, 5-11, 175 Tyler McClanahan from Grayling, 5-9 155 Dustin Hejka from East Jordan. Same thing on the defensive side for Comstock Park’s pair of 5-11, 180 Sam “Lucky” LaRoche, an All-Lake pick from their undefeated regular season, and 5-10, 165 Jimmy Whalen. Forest Hills Eastern’s record-setting receiver Sam Harrison has similar skills to those guys, but a bit quicker with a 4.78 40 at 6-0, 180.
The camps two top senior QBs were from Northern Michigan, Grayling’s 6-0, 210 Jake Swander and Reed City’s 6-0, 165 Chad Samuels. Swander arrived and departed on crutches and in a boot, but in between put in a couple good hours of work.
“(Swander) reminds me of Mark Brunnell, a lefty. He could make all the throws,” a coach said. “I asked him to do a five-step drop, he did and just let if fly.”
Samuels is a good athlete (scored 37 points in Reed City’s hoops opener), has a winner’s pedigree off two strong Coyotes teams, and throws a nice ball. Slight frame is all that may give coaches pause.
One of the most intriguing players in camp was Lowell’s 6-1, 190 QB Kyler Shurlow. No one had fatter stats in the fall — or a higher GPA. Not a college quarterback, but someone will find a place for him, just a damn good football player, and strong for his size. Hudsonville Unity Christian’s Tyce Dykstra is another QB who may end up someplace else, a good athlete at 6-2, 175.
College coaches aren’t as open-minded when recruiting skill talent from the Lake Area, so there are more highly ranked running backs still on the board for 2014 than linemen. But the next Joe the Show is just waiting to happen. West Michigan’s twoleading rushers both performed at the Senior Exposure Camp, Zeeland West’s 5-9, 185 Danny Bauder and Wayland Union’s 5-9, 190 Michael Miklusicak.
Bauder may have the best resume of any of the Lake Area’s uncommitted seniors, fresh off a state championship with Zeeland West and with a 10.6 electronic 100 meters in the spring. So speed is no concern, though he didn’t get the good start in the 40 like he did at our prior events. What he did during his senior season should alleviate concern that Bauder is just a track guy in a football costume. He’s a player, and competed hard in every rep. Will he be a running back? He caught it well enough in drills you could see Bauder as a slot receiver, or defensively on the corners as he has the build and wheels for it.
It’s not quite the dreaded friend zone, but Miklusicak may be put in the fullback zone because he’s wide, can catch, secure with the ball and ran a 4.9 40. Pass blocking remains to be seen, as that wasn’t too common given Wayland’s dominant running game. Good grades aid the cause.
Two running backs ran 4.5 40s. Thais Grays is Elk Rapids’ answer to Western Michigan’s Dareyon Chance, at 5-5, 180. Like the other running back at 4.5, Grand Rapids Northview’s 5-8, 158 Brandon Lawrence, an out-of-state juco may be the best option.
Shaquille Mobley is a good-looking athlete who came over from Belleville. He was listed as a running back but maybe more natural as a receiver. Lanky and quick at 6-0, 180, was able to high-point the ball and ran a 4.75 40.
Gull Lake’s Odell Miller was the camp’s top linebacker prospect and Byron Center’s Alexander Lake the best pass rusher. They worked out with the defensive linemen so are profiled there. There were some other good ones. 6-1, 190 senior Kody Bauswell was the leading tackler for the Hudsonville team that made a Divisoin 1 playoff run. He has a 30+ ACT and ran a 4.8 40. Middleville’s Kameryn Kidder looked good both on defense or as a tight end. Not just fast with a 4.8 40-yard dash, but was quick at 6-2, 220. A 5-11, 200 senior who ran a 4.9 40, Jahara Phillips was Ottawa Hills’ leading tackler in the fall. Coaches loved the closing speed from 5-10, 200 Evart senior Robert Young-Burge. Easy to see how he led Evart with 14 tackles a game. Ottawa Hills senior Jeffery Hudgins is 6-0, 185 and ran a 4.7 40. It’s hard to pencil him into a position just yet, but Grandville senior Josh Ham can help someone because at 6-2, 180 he plays bigger and tougher, can rush the passer or catch the ball. Otsego’s 6-1, 190 senior McLane May has some possibilities as he can both blitz and cover. He ran a 4.9 40.
A two-way linebacker-running back to remember is Marty Ward, a 5-10, 210 junior from Niles Brandywine.
Combine some descendants of large nationalities in West Michigan; country strong farm stock; good coaching with winning programs; and an ethos that would rather do it than talk about it, not surprisingly the Lake Area consistently produces college and pro offensive linemen. Fittingly, it was a line prospect, Portage Central’s Cory Carr fresh off a state semifinal appearance with Portage Central, who brought a different level of energy to, and left the coaches impressed at, the Senior Exposure Camp. It’s easy to see how he was a core two-way player for one of the best teams in school history. Sometimes it sounded like they were in pads when Carr hit em. He’s an athletic, tough guard at 6-1, 240. Physical, naturally strong kid, Carr won all his one-on-ones, even against one of the day’s dominant defenders, Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills senior Malik Green.
Carr also had some nice matchups with a fellow quick, physical from an undefeated regular season team, Cadillac senior Trevor Martin. Martin moves well at 6-1, 265, tough and finished plays because he kept his balance and feet going through the initial hit. He was a first-team D lineman in the Big North, meaning he has gotten the job done against some of the top O line prospects in the state. He also played some offense for Cadillac, guard in goal line situations. Carr was the top offensive lineman, Martin the best defensive lineman, at camp. Watching them up close, explains a lot about their teams’ success this fall. Justin Liptak was Martin’s senior teammate from the Cadillac team that pushed Comstock Park to the last play of the D4 regionals. It was Liptak’s first healthy season and made a difference for the Vikings. He’s not explosive, but solid and smoothly athletic with a terrific frame, 6-4, 220. Liptak worked out with the tight ends, good target though fought the ball a couple times. With his good grades, D3s should love this kid because he has the size and attitude, work ethic he showed to get back from the shoulder injury, to potentially fill a lot of roles.
Malik Green was amongst a strong contingent of Ottawa Hills seniors, a group that made up for average physical size with energy and speed. Green only ran a 5.3 40 but was very quick at 5-7, 200 and gave the bigger linemen fits. Size will make coaches pause, but this is a player for right fit. Liked the motor and strength on another Ottawa Hills senior Rajamon Watkins, 5-10, 250 with a 5.0 50. Owen Schafer, from Pewamo-Westphalia, is another guy built like a linebacker who gave bigger guys fits with his quick feet. Ditto Josiah Buys, a 6-1, 185 Lowell senior, with good technique and quick hands, he was hard to get into.
Byron Center senior Alexander Lake didn’t just have an appropriate last name for this camp, he looked like the top pass rusher. Good lean, violent hands at 6-2, 225 and a 5.0 40. Lake is built like a long, outside linebacker, if he can contain consistently becomes that much more valuable.
We’d seen him excel in AAU basketball and were excited to see what Gull Lake senior Odell Miller can do under the helmet. He’s still raw, but with a rebuilt, trim 6-4, 230 chassis and running a 4.9 40, there’s all kinds of utility value with Miller — down or up; middle, strong or outside LB; or maybe tight end. Didn’t always stay low, but when he did showed good quickness and an effective rip move. Frame to put on a lot of college muscle. And he hasn’t lost the hoop touch, scoring 18 in Gull Lake’s opener.
The talent level is rising in the Lake Michigan Conference. Even East Jordan has legit guys, like 6-0, 245 senior Ben Walton. He moonlighted as a fullback rushing for 700 yards, to the eternal jealousy of some of the other D linemen in his drill group. His future is as a 3 technique, he can beat you with the bull rush or his quickness. Keeps driving to occupy his man.
Muskegon Reeths-Puffer had talent at every level during its playoff season, and their seniors well-represented with offensive linemen Stephen Hanson and Matt Hoover, and Big School All-Lake defensive lineman Buck Tottingham. Hanson has some edge to go with his size at 6-4, 285. Much improved over the past year — more agile, smooth and assured — he was the best pure tackle prospect at camp. Good kick and consistently steered his man off path. Hoover was Reeths-Puffer’s other tackle. You wish he were taller at 5-11, 285, but love the initial push and how regularly he gets his hands in there. He’ll have to play on the interior and while he has the pop as a blocker, may not have the speed to pull. Maybe center? Wayland’s 6-1, 245 senior Colton VanDyke was the top center in camp. He’s another who won’t impress in a 40, but is explosive in short spaces. A bit undersized, but competitive, blue-collar blocker.
From two of the smallest schools, both in the SWAC North, came two of the camp’s biggest, strongest players, 6-4, 300 Saugatuck senior Cameron White and 6-1, 255 senior Adam Harris. Both have added value as long snappers. Harris is physically solid, did as well as any of the offensive lineman at consistently staying in his cylinder in pass protect and won the leverage game. From the other side of the Metropolitan Holland area, West Ottawa senior Cody VanTubergen was one of the pleasant surprises at camp. He was a 6-4, 235 defensive end for the Panthers, with surprising 4.9 speed. Quick off his stance for a big kid. Good frame just not in 100-percent shape but easy to fix.
When we had him at our Big Rapids combine, the local kid Brandon Hutson worked out primarily on defense. Now he’s plying his trade on the offensive line. Even when he was thinking things through, footwork was pretty smooth. A project but will mix it up at 6-1, 240, similar in size and ability to Cory Carr, just not at his level with technique and consistency.
Intriguing because he’s only a junior is Greenville’s 6-4, 255 senior Steve Eipper. He plays like Grand Rapids South Christian’s Todd Postma, big, wide and strong at the point of attack.
The Lake Michigan Football Report’s “Senior Exposure Camp” is officially in the books. Thanks to all of the student-athletes, high school coaches, families, friends, fans, college coaches, and camp staff who helped make the day a success! Stay tuned for our recap of this exciting event! Follow us on Twitter @TheLakeFootball for up-to-the-moment updates.
College football teams are made in December, as teams fill their recruiting classes leading up to the February 5 National Signing Day. With that date looming, for the second year the Lake Michigan Football Report’s Senior Exposure Camp gives college coaches the chance to observe and meet over 100 prospects in one spot. The event will be held 5 pm Sunday, Dec. 8 at Woodland Sportsplex in Grand Rapids.
Note: Online registration is now closed, but on-site registration will be available for walk-up participants.
No one plays better football than in the Lake Area, so there will be ample talent, local and beyond, competing. Here are 15 seniors that the college coaches are excited to see Sunday in Grand Rapids.
Danny Bauder 5-9 190 Sr RB/DB Zeeland West
He’s long been an LMFR cult hero for his ability to rip off 4.4 40s like they’re dollar bills. The entire state got to see what the Bauder Buzz was about during Zeeland West’s trek to the Division 3 state title. For the year he rushed for 1,796 yards and 28 TDs.
Jake Bush 5-11 175 Sr RB Comstock Park
He’s part of a strong Comstock Park camp contingent which also includes DBs Sam LaRoche and Jimmy Whalen. As a senior Bush had 1,875 yards and 28 TDs running and catching.
Cory Carr 6-1 240 Sr DL/OL Portage Central
Portage Central had a lot going for it, going undefeated until the Division 2 semifinals. Even amidst a talented group, Carr stood out with his motor, enthusiasm and old school football gene.
Stephen Hanson 6-4 285 Sr OL Muskegon Reeths-Puffer
Reeths-Puffer had one of the Lake Area’s toughest lines, and both tackles will be in the house Sunday, Hanson and 5-11, 285 Matt Hoover.
Sam Harrison 6-0 180 Sr WR Grand Rapids Forest Hills Eastern
The QBs should get to know Harrison early. He’ll make them look good after a prolific career at Forest Hills Eastern, where he and another camp participant, David Andrusiak, helped the FHE become one of the Lake Area’s most improved teams in the Lake Area in coach Eddie Ostopow’s first season.
Joseph Koscielski 6-4 220 Sr ATH Saugatuck
A similarly-sized running back with the physical tools to project all over, and hailing from a Class C Lake Michigan resort town, Harbor Springs’ David Walker is one of the state’s top prospects in 2014. It will be interesting to see how the big fella runs.
Alexander Lake 6-2 225 Sr LB Byron Center
Should help himself in this environment, as Lake looks the part out of his pads. Major league pass rush threat from one of the Lake Area’s surprise playoff teams.
Justin Liptak 6-4 220 Sr TE Cadillac
The Lake Area’s best Northern Michigan team will have a couple of its main cogs taking the trip down 131, Liptak and lineman Trevor Martin.
Tyler McClanahan 5-11 175 Sr WR Grayling
The Lake Area’s most productive pitch-catch combo will be putting it up in Grand Rapids, with McClanahan and Grayling QB Jake Swander. McClanahan led the Lake area with 80 catches for 1,223 yards and 18 TDs.
Michael Miklusicak 5-9 190 Sr RB Wayland
There’s a strong running back contingent headed for the camp, and Milusicak takes a backseat to none of them after rushing for 1,821 yards and 14 TDs.
Odell Miller 6-4 230 Sr LB/TE Gull Lake
Miller reconstructed his body, and with increased mobility excelled as a stand-up linebacker, leading Gull Lake in tackes.
Jahara Phillips 5-11 200 Sr LB Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills
There’s a large camp contingent from Ottawa Hills, which had its first winning season since 2009. Phillips was their leading tackler.
Kyler Shurlow 6-1 190 Sr QB/DB Lowell
He’s always done well in combine environments. Oh, not to mention the football field, where as a senior Shurlow threw for 1,944 yards and 28 TDs and ruan for 889 yards and 18 TDs. A lot going for him as a recruit, as an athlete and student.
Ben Walton 6-0 245 Sr DL/RB East Jordan
The Lake Michigan Conference was as strong at it has been, for having college-quality talent and not just stockpiled at one or two schools. Walton is indicative of that positive trend, a powerhouse at nose tackle or fullback.
Alex Zimmerman 5-11 165 Sr WR/DB West Ottawa
We liked him back at our July combine at Stevensville Lakeshore, and Zimmerman didn’t disappoint once the pads went on, leading WO in receiving against a rugged schedule.