The news keeps getting for Ferris State fans. The Bulldogs went 7-3 in coach Tony Annesse’s debut season. Now they have received a commitment from Ryheem Stokes, the top senior in Grand Rapids.
Stokes, 5-10, 170, did it all for 10-1 Grand Rapids Catholic Central. He’s a true playmaker, a threat whenever he got his hands on the ball. Stokes scored TDs this season running, catching, returning a kick, after making an interception and after recovering a blocked kick.
With the 2012 high school football season officially in the books, recruiting efforts are kicking into high gear for the state’s senior college football prospects. As players strive to catch the attention of college coaches with highlight films and on-campus visits, there’s a new opportunity on Sunday, Dec. 2 in Grand Rapids. The Lake Michigan Football Report’s Senior Exposure Camp will bring college coaches and high school seniors together under one roof for an afternoon of talent evaluation and networking.
With so many great players competing during the high school season, it can be difficult for college coaches to see each and every player with college potential. The idea of this event is simple: bring together top high school seniors and allow them to showcase their skills in front of college coaches. Players who can stand out amongst top competition will generate the most interest.
The interest from college coaches wanting to scout players at this first-time event has been strong. Coaches have confirmed their attendance from more than a dozen programs, including from Ferris State, Grand Valley State, Hillsdale, Michigan Tech, Northern Michigan, Northwood, Saginaw Valley State, Wayne State, Alma, Hope, Ohio Northern, Albion, Adrian, Wabash, Olivet, and Trine.
The interest from the state’s top players has been strong as well. Numerous players with state championships and All-State, All-Area, and All-Conference honors have registered, including Trevor Sweeney (Mattawan), The Lake’s #1 RB prospect of the 2013 class.
“Trevor is pumped about the camp; a lot of kids have been talking about it,” said Sweeney’s father, John. “The Lake Michigan Football Report has been great in creating exposure for the kids in West & Northern Michigan.”
Sweeney had a break-out season for Mattawan, rushing for 1,754 yards en route to unanimous Division 1-2 Associate Press First-Team All-State honors. Sweeney has drawn interest from Western Michigan and several Division 2 schools.
Other outstanding prospects registered include The Lake’s No. 1 ranked senior QB prospect, Zeeland East’s Michael Custer; All-Lake WR Trent Karcher of Chippewa Hills; All-Lake RB John King of Muskegon; All-Lake LB Seth VanEngen and DB/WR/QB Derek Woltjer, two of five athletes registered from state champion Grand Rapids South Christian; from Mancelona, All-State RB Wyatt Derrer and All-Lake OL Dalton Sulz; Lowell ATH Reed Stormzand; All-Lake LB Matthew Hall of state champion Grand Rapids Christian; All-Lake ATH Andon Ware of Baldwin; All-Lake RB Geovante Weston from Kalamazoo Hackett; from state semifinalist Comstock Park, All-Lake QB Jake Brown and All-Lake DL Blake Mazur; out of Schoolcraft, All-Lake TE Zachary Decker; Hamilton QB Nick Kronemeyer; All-Lake LB Nathan Pupel from Traverse City Central and also from TC Central, ATH TJ Schepperly; West Ottawa QB Trevor Van Tubbergan; All-Lake OL Casey Mesbergen of Zeeland West; and one of the state’s top juniors getting a head start on the off-season, All-Lake LB Jacob Howe of Forest Hills Northern.
Division 2 schools have become an attractive option for many of the state’s talented prospects. It’s a trend that’s understandable, as the Division 2 landscape has changed quite a bit over the last decade. The GLIAC is arguably the best Division 2 conference in the country, and boasts an interesting statistic: currently, there are more former high school players from Michigan in the NFL by way of the Division 2 GLIAC than the Division 1 MAC.
Division 3 schools also provide a great opportunity for student-athletes to pursue their education and sport at the next level. In fact, there are more football programs available at the Division 3 level than any other level. While “athletic” scholarships are not available in Division 3, financial aid packages are available based on academic performance and financial need.
During the camp, players will have their 40-yard dash timed before competing in position-specific and one-on-one drills. They will also be able to speak with college coaches and exchange highlight film in a post-event meet-and-greet.
All players who have yet to secure college scholarship offers or who want to broaden their recruiting pool are encouraged to sign-up by December 1st. Registration is available online at LakeMichiganFootballReport.com/SeniorExposureCamp.
Grand Rapids South Christian entered the playoffs 6-3, not on the radar other than showing some resolve to qualify, and for some young talent on the roster. But after the most prominent of those players, sophomore quarterback Jon Wassink, broke his collarbone in the semifinals, few gave the Sailors a chance in Friday night’s Division 4 state championship game with Detroit Country Day. Maybe a defense that delivered throughout the playoffs would at least keep the score respectable.
The defense did more than that, and who could have imagined that backup QB Derek Woltjer would fulfill his moment in cinematic fashion and South Christian would win 40-7.
Woltjer, a 5-11, 165 senior, moved over from flanker and ran for two TDs and threw for two more while not having one incomplete pass. He ran like, well, a running back, totaling 136 yards, including a 69-yard TD. Woltjer played both ways, and added a 28-yard interception return. South Christian consistently picked up yardage on first and second downs, keeping Woltjer out of scary third-and-longs. When he did throw it he hit, completing 7-of-7 passes for 88 yards, including a 41-yard TD to senior receiver Jason Miller.
Seth VanEngen was the defensive MVP of a unit that for the third time in the playoffs held the opponent to a max of one TD, this one a 54-yard catch-and-run by Country Day’s promising receiver prospect Maurice Ways. VanEngen’s a 6-5, 215 senior linebacker who made plays up and down scrimmage and led South Christian with seven tackles, including one behind the line. He also made crucial blocks both on offensive and special teams, and had a receiving first down.
South Christian’s three down linemen — 6-4, 230 junior Todd Postma, 6-3, 230 soph Mitchell Quakkelaar and 6-1, 275 soph nose guard Brendan Huyser — were too athletic for a very legit DCD offensive line. They opened the way for Sailors linebackers VanEngen, junior David Boomsma, senior Jordan Sundelius and senior Alex Haan — to hold DCD’s star back Richard Wilson to 53 yards on 11 carries. Quakkelaar twice brought the wood on Jackets QB Tyler Wiegers, one of them for a nine-yard sack loss. That was a common theme for Quakkelaar throughout the playoffs, which is why he’s one of the Lake’s top early prospects for 2015.
While South Christian rightfully celebrates its 2012 championship, there will be high expecations for coach Mark Tamminga‘s. They will five starters returning on defense in 2013, not to mention the best player who didn’t see the field Friday — Jon Wassink.
Division 8, 10 am
Beal City 13-0 vs. Harbor Beach 12-1
Beal City is just three years removed from a state championship. After going 8-19 in 2008-10, Harbor Beach is 23-2 the past two seasons. Their defense allows 12 points a game. 5-11, 180 junior Eli Kraft makes Harbor Beach go. He’s completed 71-of-95 passes for 1,129 yards and 11 TDs to one interception, while running for 740 yards and 14 TDs. On defense Kraft has five interceptions, one he returned for a touchdown. Beal City doesn’t have a running QB, 6-1, 180 senior Sam Schafer has completed 74-of-107 throws for 1,546 yards, 19 TDS and four interceptions. He works with five backs — Ty Rollin, Hayden Huber, Joe Rau and Austin Cook — who have rushed for at least five TDs, paced by Rollin a 5-6, 180 junior with 124 carries for 869 yards and 18 TDs.
Division 2, 1 pm
Muskegon 11-1 vs. Birmingham Brother Rice 11-2
These are historically elite programs in the state of Michigan. Brother Rice is synonymous with head Al Fracassa, now in his sixth decade of coaching and the state’s all-time leader with 415 wins. He still knows what he’s doing apparently, as the Warriors are the defending Division 2 champion. They and Muskegon have one common opponent this year. The Big Reds beat Division 3 finalist Orchard Lake St. Mary’s 21014, while Brother Rice lost 24-14. BR’s only other loss was to another team playing for as state title, Cass Tech. Muskegon has run for over 4,000 yards behind what might be the state’s best offensive line. But they have yet to have to contain a player as good as linebacker Jon Reschke, a 6-3, 232 senior who is the heir apparent to Max Bullough at Michigan State. Muskegon will need to play with more discipline than it did Saturday against Caledonia. That mean both in execution, such as crisper decision-making on the option and holding onto the ball, and after the whistle, as the Big Reds were flagged twice for unsportsmanlike conduct. You can’ t give a team like Brother Rice those kind of additional chances.
Division 6, 4:30 pm
Contantine 11-2 vs. Ithaca 13-0
When these teams met in the 2011 state final, Constantine was without injured QB Tommy Reed. Reed, now a senior, is back, but now Constantine doesn’t one of their top two running backs, senior Peyton White who was suspended and missed last week as well. But they do have All-Lake pick Ben Mallo, who last year at Ford Field ran for 189 yards and two TDs. And in the wing -T it really is the x-and-o’s no the Jimmys and Joes, and Constantine’s offense has rushed for 5,532 yards and 75 TDs. Hopefully the Falcons learned from experience and can put together two halves. Last season’s championship was tied 14-14 before Ithaca marched to a 42-14 win, as QB Travis Smith threw for 300 yards and a TD and ran for two more scores. If anything, Ithaca is stronger this time around, because that quarterback is no longer an underclassman. The 6-2, 200 junior has completed 140-of-226 passes for 36 TDs to four picks, while running for 732 yards and 13 TDs. Ithaca is in dynasty mode — 41 straight wins. Unfortunately for Constantine, which looks to be on the verge of another runner-up finish, and win No. 42 for the Yellowjackets.
Division 4, 7:30 pm
Grand Rapids South Christian 10-3 vs. Detroit Country Day 11-2
What looked like an entertaining game between two of the state’s top quarterbacks likely won’t come to fruition because of a collarbone injury to South Christian super soph Jon Wassink. DCD junior Tyler Wiegers, who has completed 129-of-209 passes for 18 TDS, one interception, is good to go. He’s protected by a front five averaging 6-3, 250 and has helped Richard Wilson run for 1,074 yards and 24 TDs. But they’ll have their hands full with an athletic South Christian defensive front seven led by 6-5, 215 senior linebacker Seth VanEngen.
Class of 2015, Debut Top 25
- John Keenoy 6-3 285 OL East Kentwood
- Jon Wassink 6-2 175 So QB Grand Rapids South Christian
- Dekurtis Murphy 6-5 300 So OL/DL St. Joseph Lake Michigan Catholic
- Carter Masek 6-3 215 So LB East Grand Rapids
- Mitchell Quakkelaar 6-3 230 So DL Grand Rapids South Christian
- Nick Marosi 6-2 185 So WR Grand Rapids Catholic Central
- Tyree Jackson 6-1 165 So QB Mona Shores
- Nate Couturier 5-10 135 So WR Allendale
- Travis Russell 6-2 165 So QB Grand Rapids West Catholic
- Michael Androsiak 6-0 180 So LB Caledonia
- Casey Elzinga 6-1 210 So OL/DL Grand Rapids South Christian
- Mason Dekker 5-10 185 So LB/DB West Ottawa
- Josh Colegrove 6-0 220 So DL Lowell
- Juwan Jarnegan 6-0 215 So DL Grand Rapids Christian
- Brandon Childress 6-2 170 So QB Baldwin
- Mike Egeler 6-2 205 So ATH Comstock Park
- Qi’ante Ewing 6-2 215 So LB Grand Rapids Christian
- Mikey Roth 5-11 165 So QB East Grand Rapids
- Malik Swain 6-2 280 So DL Kenowa Hills
- Ethan Campbell 5-10 175 So RB Traverse City Central
- Dakota Scholten 6-4 235 So DL White Cloud
- Ethan Hovingh 6-0 180 So RB Allendale
- Eric VanVoorst 6-3 180 So WR/DB Grand Rapids South Christian
- Joe Schepperly 6-0 200 So RB/LB Traverse City Central
- Adam Trautman 6-2 165 So QB Elk Rapids
Among the many artifacts in Muskegon head coach Shane Fairfield’s office hangs a special picture: the Big Reds offensive line sitting on a bulldozer. And just like a bulldozer, the 2012 Muskegon O-Line has paved the way for its team, all the way to Ford Field.
The Big Reds are averaging 400 yards rushing a game. They’ve had many 100-yard rushers, including a breakout year for All-Lake fullback John King. They’ve had thrilling plays from quarterback Jalen Smith. But, the players you rarely read about in the paper or watch on the highlights are the ones who make it possible: the Big Reds offensive line.
These guys are nasty and for our money, the best offensive line in the state. Week in and week out, the Big Reds offensive line has provided the consistency all great teams search for.
“I couldn’t be prouder of this group of guys,” Fairfield said after Muskegon’s 34-21 semi-final win over Caledonia. “I have no problem giving our offensive line the credit; they’re the reason why we’re here.”
Not only do they play with great technique, but they have a chemistry about them like a great symphony orchestra; everyone is on key.
Offensive line coach, Matt Bolles, has seen this synergy up close and personal. “These five kids are the best offensive line I have ever coached. I had the pleasure of coaching the 2008 State Championship offensive line and those kids were really good, but these five are collectively better.”
They’re also standouts in the classroom; each of the starting five boast a 3.2 or higher grade point average.
As the Big Reds prepare for this weekend’s state championship game against Birmingham Brother Rice, let’s meet the big guys up front:
Antwan Billings RT 6-4 275 SR
Billings is the most physical lineman for the Big Reds; he’s just plain nasty. The offensive tackle plays the game with great passion and a motor that never quits. He has 70+ pancake blocks on the season and has not allowed a single sack. He’s also a gem in the classroom, ranking in the Top 10 of his class with a 3.9 GPA. Billings is currently being recruited by many of the GLIAC schools, and has potential to get a late MAC offer.
Chandar Ricks LT 6-4 290 SR
The biggest member of the Big Reds OL may also be the most underrated. Physical, tenacious, and smart, Ricks has protected QB Jalen Smith’s blindside well. Like Billings, Ricks has not given up a sack this year. He’s very strong (330 lb bench/450 lb squat) and also carries a 3.2 GPA. He’s being recruited mostly by Division 2 schools, but has visited Northwestern.
Quincy Crosby C 6-3 290 SR
Put in the game film from when Muskegon faced Orchard Lake St. Mary’s earlier this season, and Crosby gives a clinic on how to play Center. Playing with good pad level and the ability to finish blocks with the best, Crosby has tallied 62 pancake blocks and zero sacks on the year. He is not only the leader of the Big Reds line, but of the whole team. He is being recruited by Division 2 schools and has an offer from Ferris State. He has also visited Harvard, and carries a 3.7 GPA.
Noah Tozer G 6-1 275 SR
What Tozer lacks in height, he makes up for with his passion and tenacity for the game. After transferring to Muskegon in the middle of his sophomore year, Tozer has made big gains over the last two years. A very physical interior lineman, Tozer has great strength (335 lb bench, 500 lb squat). He’s a versatile player that also plays back-up Center when needed. Tozer is drawing interest from both Division 2 and Division 3 schools, and carries a 3.2 GPA.
Malik King G 6-4 275 JR
The only non-senior in the starting five, King’s development has been a delightful surprise for the Big Reds. Only 15 years old, the Jamaican-born King plays with the highest motor on his offensive line. He’s a great athlete with the ability to run side-by-side with skill players while blocking downfield. He’s aggressive and loves to “flatback” opposing defensive linemen. With 41 pancakes on the year, King has given up only 1 sack. His freakish athleticism and on- and off-field smarts (3.6 GPA) are a draw for BCS schools like Iowa, Wisconsin, TCU, ECU, Michigan, Michigan State, Indiana, Illinois, Baylor, Florida, and Ohio State. As his frame fills out, he could move to tackle at the next level.
Rockford 10-2 vs. Novi Catholic Central 8-4
@Battle Creek Central
Between Rivals and the Detroit News, eight prep football aficionados picked Clarkston to beat Rockford. And sure, we like to joke about Eastide hype. But you’d be a fool to deny any legit team or players. It doesn’t get more legit than Catholic Central football. It’s a credit to the strength of the Catholic League that a 5-4 team can go this deep in the playoffs.Winner: Rockford
Muskegon 11-1 vs. Caledonia 9-3
The Fighting Scots had an easy playoff path relative to their rugged league schedule in the O-K White, where they took their three losses. Muskegon got to rest last week against an overrated Saginaw Valley Conference foe, but now it gets real again with a West on West matchup. Unlike Midland, Caledonia’s bigs are athletic enough to play with Muskegon’s. Winner: Muskegon
Grand Rapids Christian 11-1 vs. DeWitt 10-2
@ East Kentwood
Grand Rapids Christian has the perfect team for the fast track at EK. In Week 9, DeWitt beat Fruitport 21-20. A week later, the Eagles began the playoffs with a 45-6 win over that same Fruitport team. This has blowout written all over it. The big question may be, will Drake Harris set the state receiving yardage mark this game, or in the state final? Winner: GR Christian
Comstock Park 11-1 vs. Grand Rapids South Christian 9-3
In a contrast of styles, working class hero Just Win Jake Brown vs. Everybody’s All-American Jon Wassink, this is the state’s most intriguing QB matchup.This game could resemble the Panthers’ playoff opener, when they had to gut it out and come from behind against a young but talented Allendale team. South Christian gets better by the week, but the state championship run starts next year. Winner: Comstock Park
Grand Rapids West Catholic 9-3 vs. Menominee 11-1
Menominee may have a new coach, but the product remains top-notch. West Catholic has to hope its long trip North to Marquette brings a better result than their long trip South, a season-opening loss in Indianapolis. Winner: West Catholic
Shelby 10-2 vs.Ithaca 12-0
@ Ferris State
Each win is history for Shelby, which is playing with nothing to lose against the consensus Division 6 favorite. Winner: Ithaca
Constantine 10-2 vs. Monroe St. Mary Catholic
@ Battle Creek Harper Creek
These teams play, like, all the time in the semifinals. Constantine has too much offense. Winner: Constantine
St. Ignace 12-0 vs. Beal City 12-0
@ Thirlby Field
The only semifinal in the Lake Michigan area with two undefeated teams. The Saints’ all-state linebacker, Joe Ostman, is committed to CMU, so he’ll see better days in the Mt. Pleasant Metroplex. Because on Saturday … Winner: Beal City
Muskegon Catholic Central 9-3 vs.Harbor Beach 11-1
@ Alma College
Harbor Beach will have the top prospect on the field, senior Sloan Klaski. But MCC has the team speed and strength of schedule. Winner: Catholic Central
Unlike our player rankings, the All-Lake Team isn’t based on college potential (though there are certainly potential college players on the list) but for their performance in the 2012 high school season. The big school team covers Division 1-4 teams.
MVP Drake Harris 6-4 180 Jr WR Grand Rapids Christian
Coach of the Year: Mark Tamminga, Grand Rapids South Christian
This is Tamminga’s fourth season as South Christian’s head coach, where he is 22-18. The Sailors were good if not spectacular in the regular season, 6-3, 4-1 for second place in the O-K Gold. But along the way Tamminga and his staff did a terrific job of introducing young talent to what was a solid core of upperclassman, regrouping from a 4-3 start to make the postseason. Their playoff roster looks a lot different than their season opening roster, and it’s not just underclassmen along for the joy ride, but key parts clicking like vets. And since one of those sophs is QB Jon Wassink, look for this to be the first of three seasons in which Tamminga has South Christian in state title contention.
QB Jake Brown 6-0 205 Sr Comstock Park
A unique player who combines power running with deliberate yet strong throwing. The result? Comstock Park has made playoff runs in all three years Brown has been under center, reaching the Division 4 semifinals this season. He’s completed 134-of-234 passes for 1,600 yards and 10 TDS to two interceptions; and run for 1,130 yards and 24 TDs.
RB John King 5-11 205 Sr Muskegon
A punishing runner — he also starts at linebacker — who embodies the physical style of a Big Reds team that has earned a Division 2 state semifinals berth. King has run the ball 184 times for 1,474 yards and 17 TDs.
RB Spencer Viening 6-0 215 Jr Zeeland East
Zeeland East was the only team to beat Muskegon, and Viening was the dominant athlete on the field in that one as both a runner and linebacker. He topped 1,000 rushing yards for the second-straight season, taking the ball 186 times for 1,337 yards and 20 TDs, while sharing the backfield with another 1,000-yard rusher, senior Josh Blauwkamp.
OL Jack Ford 6-6 270 Sr Cadillac
He was committed to Central Michigan before the season began, and went on to show the potential of being yet another good Chippewa lineman as his pass blocking improves. Not just big but a bit mean and a hard worker, he and fellow senior tackle Riley Norman helped junior QB Jalen Brooks to run for 1,699 yards and 27 TDs.
OL Antwan Billings 6-4 275 Sr Muskegon
Tackle on the state’s best offensive line, where he’s helped the Big Reds’ veer average over 400 rushing yards per game. Billings didn’t allow a sack all season, and has 73 pancake blocks.
OL Casey Mesbergen 6-2 210 Sr Zeeland West
Mesbergen got it going at guard for a Dux wing-T that no one was able to stop all year. If Zeeland West lost, it was just because the other team outscored them. They had three backs with at least 850 rushing yards and double-digit touchdowns, led by junior Marcus Lambert’s 1,659 yards and 16 TDs. Mesbergen also started at linebacker.
OL Connor Hayes 6-3 290 Jr Traverse City West
There were five possible D1 offensive lineman in the Big North, but Hayes is the only one who doesn’t play a tackle. He’s a mauler who also has to mix it up and pass block for TC West. Hayes has offers from CMU, WMU, Pitt, Syracuse and Indiana.
OL Adam Klage 6-2 295 Sr Mattawan
He was an all-conference center the past two seasons. He keyed the trap blocking that afforded Mattawan’s wing-T offense two 1,000-yard rushers, Trevor Sweeney and Brock Lamorandier. Klage is committed to Northern Michigan.
WR Drake Harris 6-4 180 Jr Grand Rapids Christian
So often with the Eastside recruiting hype machine, you get kids who are workout warriors or look nice in tight shirts and the Internet fanboys go gaga, only to find out that when the pads go on it’s a different story, dude can’t really play football. Often this happens too late — once they’d signed with a top 25 team. Harris is different, embodying his Westside roots with substance to justify the buzz. The Michigan State commitment earned his stock by dominating on the field of play. If GR Christian reaches the Division 3 state final, he will likely end up setting the state single-season receiving record. He’s caught 76 balls for 1,556 yards and 15 TDS — finding the end zone in all 12 of the Eagles’ games.
WR Dylan Smith 6-2 180 Sr Grand Rapids Kenowa Hills
The all-time receiving leader at Kenowa Hills by nearly 600 yards, Smith was the top offensive threat on a playoff team. He caught 64 passes for 1,237 yards and 13 TDs and also had two special teams TDs.
TE Patrick Cvengros 6-2 180 Sr East Grand Rapids
EGR coach Peter Stuursma calls Cvengros one of the most versatile tight ends he’s had with the Pioneers. He caught 22 passes for 325 yards and four TDs. He was also an outstanding blocker, with Cvengros and another undersized but fast lineman, junior Troy Gotch, helping clear the way for senior Jahaan Brown to run for 1,612 yards and 15 TDs.
K Joel Schipper 5-11 180 Sr Grand Rapids Christian
Going into Grand Rapids Christian’s Division 3 semifinal game, Schipper has connected on 11-of-13 field goals, with a long of 48 yards. On PATs he’s a perfect 61-of-61. Of 82 kickoffs, 42 have been touch-backs. He’s narrowed his college choices to Michigan State and Western Michigan.
DL Jacob Howe 6-2 240 Jr Forest Hills Northern
From his D-end spot, Howe had 78 tackles, including 14 for loss with four sacks. He forced two fumbles. Howe is an all-around contributor, a three-year, two-way player, as well as the Huskies’ kicker and punter. Howe’s 42.3 yards per punt is a school record, as is his 67-yard punt. He rushed for eight TDs.
DL Kenneth Finley 6-3 255 Jr Muskegon
He was already being recruited across the nation, and that attention should increase after last Saturday in Midland, where Finley and senior teammate Ronald Jenkins overwhelmed who Tom Lemming says may be the country’s No. 1 tackle prospect, Midland’s Steve Elmer. The scary thing for offensive linemen of the future is that Finley is still just learning how to play defensive tackle. Going into the Division 2 semifinals, Finley has 76 tackles and three recovered fumbles.
DL Blake Mazur 6-3 250 Sr Comstock Park
He’s been a dominant two-way lineman for Comstock Park’s playoff teams.You know Mazur is good when he’s one of the rare players to have squarely leveled Catholic Central’s Ryheem Stokes.
DL Chris Hendricks 6-5 265 Jr Fruitport
In his first season at Fruitport, Hendricks had a major impact on both sides of the ball as a defensive and offensive tackle for this playoff team. Hendricks collapsed lines, pressured QBs and had 60 tackles. He’s being recruited by U-M, MSU, WMU and Temple.
LB Will Hunt 5-11 225 Jr Muskegon
As strong as Muskegon is up front, perhaps the purest football player in the unit is this junior linebacker. Hunt is fast and delivers a wallup. He’s the Big Reds’ leading tackler.
LB Joe Craven 5-11 205 Sr Grand Rapids Catholic Central
The big hitter from a defense that held five opponents scoreless. Craven had over 100 tackles and finishes up as Catholic Central’s career tackles leader.
LB Matthew Hall 6-1 210 Sr Grand Rapids Christian
The veteran stalwart of a young defense that has improved to state championship form. Hall is the Eagles’ leading tacker for the second year in a row. Going into the Division 3 state semifinals, he has 130 tackles.
LB Nic Lamica 6-4 210 Sr Forest Hills Central
The Rangers didn’t have enough players to field a JV team. With the energy Lamica plays with, he could’ve held down multiple positions for them on Thursday, and still starred on Friday in the Lake Michigan area’s toughest league — the O-K White. He covered the whole field with his big frame and 4.6 speed. Lamica was also Forest Hills Central’s leading receiver with 364 yards and three TDs.
DB Ryheem Stokes 5-11 170 Sr Grand Rapids Catholic Central
The most dynamic, exciting player in the Lake area whenever he got his hands on the ball. Line him up at any skill position and he becomes the dominant player on the field. Over the course of CC’s 10-1 season, Stokes had an 183-yard, three TD game receiving; a 181-yard, two TD game rushing; returned an interception 103 yards for a TD; returned a kickoff for a 75-yard TD; blocked a punt and returned it for a TD; ran for over 100 yards against Comstock Park’s loaded defense. Stokes finished the year with 1,400 all-purpose yards, four interceptions and 16 TDs.
DB Heath Hoogerhyde 6-1 215 Sr Caledonia
Versatile, impact player for one of the Lake’s best defenses. Hoogerhyde is big and tackles like a linebacker, but is athletic enough to be a cover guy. He had one of the top performances anyone has turned in all season in Caledonia’s regional win at Mattawan. Hoogerhyde spied All-Lake running back Trevor Sweeney holding him to his lowest output of the season, while himself rushing for 207 yards and two TDs. He finished the year with 112 tackles and nine interceptions, while totaling over 1,400 yards running and receiving from running back.
DB Ryan Verhelst 6-1 175 Sr West Ottawa
He rarely left the field for West Ottawa, and was the most dangerous skill position player in the O-K Red. Verhelst made 41 tackles, caused two fumbles, broke up six passes and made five interceptions, two of which he brought all the way back for TDs. As a receiver he caught 39 passes for 630 yards and 13 TDs. He had an 85-yard punt return TD.
- QB Jalen Brooks 6-3 185 Jr Cadillac
- RB Marcus Lambert 5-11 175 Jr Zeeland West
- RB Trevor Sweeney 5-9 170 Sr Mattawan
- OL Quincy Crosby 6-2 275 Sr Muskegon
- OL Alex Korhorn 6-2 275 Sr Grand Rapids Christian
- OL Tommy Doles 6-5 245 Jr Grand Rapids Christian
- OL Nate Jeppesen 6-4 265 Sr Portage Central
- OL Riley Norman 6-7 305 Sr Cadillac
- WR Kyle Steigenga 6-4 180 Jr Holland Christian
- WR Trent Karcher 6-1 185 Sr Chippewa Hills
- TE Jordan VanDort 6-6 290 Jr Zeeland West
- K Brett Scanlon 6-0 190 Sr Dowagiac
- DL Zach Evans 6-3 240 Jr Kenowa Hills
- DL Ronald Jenkins 6-1 255 Sr Muskegon
- DL Pierce Watson 6-0 190 Sr Lowell
- DL Dayton Wierenga 6-2 210 Jr Allendale
- LB Jack Jennings 6-2 220 Sr Paw Paw
- LB Seth VanEngen 6-5 215 Sr Grand Rapids South Christian
- LB Nate Pupel 6-0 215 Sr Traverse City Central
- DB Houston Glass 6-1 185 Sr East Kentwood
- DB KC Zenner 6-0 190 Sr Rockford
- DB Jake Gaunder 5-9 170 Sr Stevensville Lakeshore
- DB Braden Werley 5-11 190 Sr Zeeland West
Quinn Ameel Sr DB Petoskey; Isaac Andrusiak Sr WR Caledonia; Mitch Bancroft Sr DB Lakeshore; Patrick Banks Sr DL Zeeland East; Utah Bartholic Sr LB Grandville; Cal Beck Sr OL Paw Paw; Colin Beebe Jr LB Allendale; Riley Bell Jr DB Portage Northern; Brandon Benac Sr RB Ogemaw Heights; Cody Berkobien Sr RB Spring Lake; Johndries Betts-Retter Sr RB Reeths-Puffer; Josh Blauwkamp Sr RB Zeeland East; Chris Bradford Sr DB Mona Shores; Asantay Brown Jr DB Mona Shores; Correy Brown Sr RB Three Rivers; Demetrius Brown Sr LB Muskegon; Jahaan Brown Sr RB East Grand Rapids; Paul Brown Jr LB GR Union; Josh Buie Jr LB Reeths-Puffer; Jake Bull Sr DL Hudsonville; Josh Burdewyik Sr LB Unity Christian; Ethan Buresh Sr LB Hamilton; Jake Bush Jr RB Comstock Park; Zac Caldwell Sr TE Gull Lake; Brandan Campbell Sr LB Otsego; Treshawn Campbell Sr LB Loy-Norrix; Justin Chopp Sr QB Forest Hills Central; Josh Colegrove So DL Lowell; Tabias Coleman Sr LB Byron Center; Ato Condole Sr WR West Ottawa; Miguel Correa Sr OL West Ottawa; Zach Crouch Sr TE GR Christian; Nate Couturier So WR Allendale; Garrett Cross Sr RB Byron Center; Jake Daugherty Sr LB Big Rapids; Mason Dekker So LB West Ottawa; Derrick Diver Sr LB TC West; Zac Drake Jr RB Lakeshore; Dan Dyer Sr OL Lowell; Tanner Ellens Sr DL Caledonia; Tyler Fehler Sr QB Fruitport; Amilio Flores Sr DL Fruitport; Randy Garvin Jr LB Rockford; Tyler Gildersleeve Sr OL TC Central; Dakota Gordon Sr RB Fruitport; Stephen Hanson Jr OL Reeths-Puffer; Colt Harrington Sr DL Greenville; Dontel Highsmith Sr WR Dowagiac; Nate Hollern Sr LB GR Catholic Central; DJ Hunt Sr LB Dowagiac; Zach Huser Sr LB Lowell; Tyree Jackson So QB Mona Shores; DeJuan James Sr RB Portage Central; Gary Jones Sr RB Allegan; Jake Kaczyinski Jr DL Ludington; Brian Killinger Sr LB GR Northview; Malik King Jr OL Muskegon; Nick Kronemeyer Sr QB Hamilton; Justin Krueger Sr DB Caledonia; Louis Lamberti Sr K Petoskey; Austin Labus Jr DL/OL Portage Northern;Brock Lamorandier Sr RB Mattawan; Justin McCauley Sr QB Paw Paw; Collin McCaw Sr WR Vicksburg; Jason Miller Sr DB South Christian; Matt Mulcahy Sr OL Grand Haven; Isaak Newhouse Jr WR Grand Haven; Corey Pierce Sr DB Orchard View; Quinton Pully Sr LB Ottawa Hills; John Pung Sr RB Zeeland East; Chandar Ricks Sr OL Muskegon; Bishop Robinson Sr WR Loy-Norrix; Jack Rozema Sr QB Wyoming; Ryan Schaefer Sr DL Lowell; Collin Schlosser Sr LB Forest Hills Central; TJ Schepperly Sr QB TC Central; Cody Schneider Jr DB Mona Shores; Zack Schneider Sr WR Grandville; Stephen Shafer Jr RB Hastings; Kyle Short Sr QB Rockford; Brent Showers Jr LB Rockford; Sam Shutes Sr QB Three Rivers; Kyler Shurlow Jr DB Lowell; Preston Simon Jr LB Portage Northern; Jalen Smith Sr QB Muskegon; Marcus Smith Sr RB Muskegon; Trevor Steenwyk Jr OL South Christian; Chad Sterk Sr RB South Christian; Alec Stevens Jr OL Ogemaw Heights; Reed Stormzand Sr LB Lowell; Shomari Tate Sr DL GR Catholic Central; Alex VanDeVusse Sr QB GR Christian; Luke VanEssen Sr TE Kenowa Hills; Trevor VanTubbergen Sr QB West Ottawa; Adam Walma Sr DL Caledonia; Jon Wassink So QB South Christian; Chad Walton Sr WR GR Northview; John Weldon Sr LB Comstock Park; Tyler White Sr TE Plainwell; Harold Wiggins Sr WR Lakeshore; Mitchell Wynkoop Jr DL TC Central.
Unlike our player rankings, the All-Lake Team isn’t based on college potential (though there are certainly potential college players on the list) but for their performance in the 2012 high school season. The small school team covers Division 5-8 teams.
MVP: Daniel Green 6-0 280 DL/OL Grand Rapids West Catholic
Coach of the Year: Andy Busch, Newaygo
Busch became Newaygo’s head coach a week before practice started in August. All the Lions did was go 9-3 and reach a Division 5 regional where they lost to Grand Rapids West Catholic, but gained nearly unanimous respect in the game. All this at a school that as recently as 2009 and 2010 had consecutive 0-9 seasons.
QB Jake Swander 5-11 170 Jr Grayling
It was his first year as Grayling’s starting quarterback in what proved to be the perfect merger of arm and system. Swander simply lit it up. He completed 175-of-340 passes for 2,888 yards and 22 TDs and 8 interceptions. He also ran for two TDs.
RB Geovante Weston 5-11 190 Sr Kalamazoo Hackett
Weston was a classic workhorse back for Hackett. He carried the ball 197 times for 1,575 yards and 14 TDs. He had a game to remember against Parchment, when Weston’s number was called 52 times — the third-highest single-game total in state history — and ended up with 423 yards, the 16th best effort in state history.
RB Adam Vosberg 6-2 185 Sr RB Gobles
A Division 7 Eric Dickerson, this was Vosberg’s third season topping 1,000 rushing yards. He ran 223 times for 1,707 yards and 26 TDs. For his career Vosberg ran for 4,314 yards and 60 TDs.
WR David Kuzma 6-3 175 Sr Grand Rapids West Catholic
The varsity transition for West Catholic sophomore quarterback Travis Russell was eased by the presence at receiver of Kuzma, a big, veteran target. At no time did that connection prove more crucial than in their comeback playoff opening win at Hopkins, when Kuzma had two fourth-quarter TD catches. Going into the Division 5 semifinals, Kuzma has caught 93 passes for 1,486 yards and 15 TDs.
WR Brandon Moore 6-3 195 Sr Montague
He started the season at QB, but also got in some reps at receiver along the way, and is the Lake’s No. 1 senior prospect at the position. He ended up passing for 506 yards and three TDs, running for 535 yards and 11 TDs and receiving 219 yards and three TDs. A four-year letter winner and state champion, Moore will be remembered as one of the all-timers in the proud history of Montague football.
OL Dalton Sulz 6-2 255 Sr Mancelona
He just leveled defenders trap blocking in Mancelona’s double-wing offense. Mancelona coach Boo Derrer called Sulz the toughest, most hard-nosed kid he’s had in 18 years coaching. He was also a standout linebacker for the Ironmen, who went 9-0 in the regular season.
OL Devin Ruppert 6-2 195 Sr Pine River
Ruppert was Pine River’s top player on both sides of the ball. He was the offensive leader at tackle, while collecting 131 tackles as a linebacker. He’s the school’s all-time leader with 238 tackles.
OL Matt Modreske 6-7 300 Sr Hopkins
There was nothing fancy about Hopkins’ power offense, or Modreske’s approach, but they worked. At left tackle, he was the most physically intimidating small school lineman in the Lake area. Modrekse man-handled the competition in the O-K Silver as Hopkins went 9-0 in the regular season.
OL Tony Kucharski 5-11 200 Sr Hartford
How versatile and valuable is Kucharski? A one-time running back, as a senior he was first-team SAC South as both an offensive lineman and linebacker. He helped clear the way for an Indians rushing game that totaled over 3,000 yards in while averaging over 8 yards per carry. Defensively he totaled 99 tackles, including three sacks.
OL Zach Murphy 6-3 210 Sr Muskegon Oakridge
An outstanding center who also played on the defensive line and blocked a field goal attempt on special teams. Opened holes for talented junior running back Dan Shoop as Oakridge went 9-0 in the regular season and won the West Michigan Conference crown.
TE Zach Decker 6-5 210 Sr Schoolcraft
Schoolcraft could line him up from various spots, and with his size was a very tough cover at the Division 6 level. Decker was the leading receiver for a Schoolcraft team that went 9-0 in the regular season.
K Tanner Nutting 5-10 140 Jr Saugatuck
Nutting connected on 6-of-10 field goals, including a long of 41, and 26-of-29 extra points. He hit the game-winning field goal in overtime against Bangor. On kickoffs, Nutting had 14 touch-backs on 42 attempts.
DL Daniel Green 6-0 280 Sr Grand Rapids West Catholic
Green has been a stalwart of three West Catholic teams that won the Division 5 state championship his sophomore season, and has now won two more regional titles. He gives you everything you need at defensive tackle, as he can occupy double teams, bull rush one-on-one or avoid blockers altogether with surprising agility. As a senior Green had 51 tackles, including 11 for loss.
DL Nate Schafer 6-0 200 Sr Beal City
Schafer is a two-way defensive tackle and center for Beal City, which is undefeated and playing in the Division 8 semifinals. In the regular season, Shafer had 43 tackles, including two sacks, and two fumble recoveries.
DL Cari Campbell 6-2 220 Sr Muskegon Catholic Central
He’s been a three-year starter on some terrific MCC teams, including the current version which is still alive in the Division 8 playoffs. He dominates as a rush end at the Class D level, recording 54 tackles and returning an interception for a 68-yard TD.
LB Mike O’Brien 6-3 215 Sr Maple City Glen Lake
An all-state basketball player, O’Brien’s athleticism and strength served him on the grid as well. He was named Northwest Conference MVP after Glen Lake went through the league schedule with a clean slate. He also started at tight end. He had the play of the game in Glen Lake’s Division 6 playoff win against Boyne City, shutting down a fourth-and-goal attempt. O’Brien was also at his best against the best team on the Lakers’ schedule, leading the way with 12 tackles in a playoff loss to Shelby.
LB Ben Schroeder 5-11 175 Sr Shelby
Shelby’s defense has strong players at all three levels, with the likes of Kyle McGrew and Dillion Ankney up front, and Nathan Lentz and Shane Kajtazi in the backfield. Cleaning up at linebacker is Schroeder. Going into Shelby’s Division 6 state semifinal with Ithaca, Schroeder has 140 tackles (including 20 against Whitehall) and two interceptions. In Shelby’s second-round playoff win, it was Schroeder’s hit on Glen Lake’s QB that caused a fumble resulting in a 39-yard TD.
LB Jacob Marsh 5-11 205 Sr Montague
He leads the All-Lake team with 145 tackles, two more than his junior campaign when Marsh had 143 stops. He had some ridiculous efforts, like 27 against Mason County Central and 26 against Whitehall. A three-year starter, Marsh had two sacks and two interceptions.
LB Larry VanBuren 5-10 190 Jr Evart
VanBurn anchored a defense that helped Evart reach a Division 6 district final, the best playoff run in school history. He had 97 tackles, including nine sacks, and recovered three fumbles.
LB Ben Mallo 5-7 170 Sr Constantine
Mallo is bueno, a two-way standout for Constantine’s 2011 Division 6 state finalist team, and this year’s state semifinalist version. He is the Falcons’ leading tackler and also the top rusher having run for 1,251 yards and 12 TDs.
DB Andon Ware 5-11 170 Sr Baldwin
He’s so talented, Ware is receiving GLIAC and MAC recruiting attention despite playing at a Division 8 school. He had 74 tackles and eight interceptions — three of which he returned for TDs. As a running back, Ware ran 90 times for 1.074 yard. He had 20 total TDs.
DB Alex Lewandoski 5-10 180 Jr Muskegon Catholic Central
Even on a team with a lot of speed for Division 8, Lewandoski stands out with his playmaking ability. After starting at linebacker as a sophomore, he’s evolving into the star MCC needed back there after the graduation of Jacob Budde, and he’s still playing into the state semifinals. He had 70 tackles in the regular season, while rushing for 806 yards.
DB Travis Bolin 5-9 165 Sr Watervliet
When you can run in the 4.5 range at a Division 6 school, you’re likely to make an impact, and Bolin put together monster back-to-back years as a two-way receiver and defensive back. He made six interceptions and recorded 30 tackles as a senior. Bolin ended up with 15 career picks. Offensively he caught 45 passes for 969 yards and 24 TDS and ran for 448 yards and 5 TDs. He also served as the Panthers’ kicker, averaging over 40 yards a punt while converting 35 PATs.
THIS JUST IN: The following college football programs have confirmed their attendance for the Lake Michigan Football Report Senior Exposure Camp:
Grand Valley State
Saginaw Valley State
All high school seniors interested in playing football at the collegiate level have one last opportunity to showcase their talent in front of college coaches. On December 2nd, The Lake Michigan Football Report will host our first-ever “Senior Exposure Camp” at Woodland Sports in Grand Rapids. To learn more about the event and secure your spot, please visit the link below: