Monthly Archives: November, 2012

Lake Michigan Prospect Watch: Week 13

Class of 2013

Brandon DeWitt  6-5  305  Sr  DL  Three Rivers
Not the most agile guy along the line, but DeWitt is a space-eater and run-stopper. Was impressed last Friday that even as South Christian went into blowout mode, DeWitt kept playing hard and eventually made a play in the backfield.

Class of 2014

Jake Bush  5-10  175  Jr  RB  Comstock Park
From the midway point of the season, Bush has given Comstock Park two all-state caliber offensive performers named Jake. He and senior QB Jake Brown have a nice chemistry, and Jake is a big-play threat catching the ball out of the backfield. That spelled doom for Ogemaw Heights on Saturday, as they couldn’t catch up to his swivel when Bush got the ball in space. He had a 42-yard TD run that was beautiful to behold. CP basically has two tight-end sized juniors, Drake Baar and Ryan Gruska, and Bush does a good job reading their blocks in the open field. For the year he has over 1,000 yards from scrimmage, averaging 10 yards a catch, 7 yards a carry.

Demere Ramey  6-1  300  Jr  DL  Muskegon Orchard View
A slender silver lining to missing the playoffs, you can get your season highlight video out sooner. In the case of Ramey, that’s some pretty intriguing footage. So much so that this raw potential D tackle is one of the top 10 defensive line prospects in the Lake’s junior class. He swallows up high school guards in the 2 technique and is somehow able to slip that torso through the B gap from the 3 technique to wreak havoc in the offensive backfield. He keeps his feet alive and driving after the initial engagement with the offensive line. He moves well laterally and has a knack for finding the ball — even if he’s not always the first one there (straight on pursuit speed needs to improve). Perhaps what is most exciting about Ramey he’s not just some fat kid slogging it through the motions. He’s got a good motor and some swagger. He plays through the whistle and through the fourth quarter, which couldn’t have always been easy during OV’s 2-7 campaign. Ramey is wrestling this winter, and if he sticks with that and arrives in the spring as an ever better athlete, most D1 schools in the Midwest should be trying to get him to summer camp. Here’s where Ramey fits among junior defensive linemen in the Lake Michigan area:

      Class of 2014 D-Linemen

  1. Kenneth Finley  6-3  265  Jr  Muskegon
  2. Jordan VanDort  6-6  280  Jr  Zeeland West
  3. Zach Evans  6-3  240  Jr  Kenowa Hills
  4. Chris Hendricks  6-5  270  Jr  Fruitport
  5. Jake Khoury  6-3  265  Jr  Traverse City St. Francis
  6. Demere Ramey  6-1  300  Jr  Muskegon Orchard View
  7. Tommy Doles  6-5  245  Jr  Grand Rapids Christian
  8. Jake Kaczynski  6-5  240  Jr  Ludington
  9. Mitchell Wynkoop  6-3  220  Jr  Traverse City Central
  10. Mitchell Stanitzek  6-3  215  Jr  Grand Rapids West Catholic
  11. Carl Grant  6-2  220  Jr  Dowagiac
  12. Dayton Wierenga  6-2  210  Jr  Allendale
  13. Jeremy Stygstra  6-1  255  Jr  Grand Rapids Christian
  14. Travis Steenwyk  6-2  280  Jr  Grand Rapids South Christian
  15. Jack Brodeur  6-2  215  Jr  Traverse City St. Francis
  16. Todd Postma  6-4  230  Jr  Grand Rapids South Christian
  17. Hunter Sipperly  6-3  230  Jr  Newaygo
  18. Ryan Gannon  6-2  230  Jr  North Muskegon
  19. Zach Poppema  6-2  210  Jr  Zeeland West
  20. Andrew Blok  6-1  255  Jr  Saugatuck

Connor Smith  6-5  250  Jr  OL  Three Rivers
Yet another offensive lineman to track in the junior class. He had his hands full last Friday against a big, deep, active South Christian defensive line, but kept competing. He started at right tackle (playing out of a two-point stance) and looked better as a power run blocker than a pass blocker, though when the pocket did collapse (and it did, a lot) it was usually from another direction than Smith’s.

Travis Steenwyk  6-2  280  Jr  OL  Grand Rapids South Christian
Steenwyk is considered the outstanding member of a South Christian offensive line that gets better and better. Soph QB Jon Wassink can really scramble and create, but hasn’t had to much during the Sailors’ 3-0 postseason domination of the Wolverine Conference as his boys up front have kept him clean. Steenwyck is the right guard, and also plays defensive tackle when South Christian goes to four down linemen. He has a strong base and balance, and shows polished technique with his hands.

Deshaun Thrower  5-11  180  Jr  ATH  Muskegon
Even while Muskegon was rolling to an 8-0 start, the defensive backfield was considered the weakest unit of a strong team. It was bolstered late in the regular season with the entry into the lineup of Thrower, a junior transfer from Muskegon Heights who had broken his foot. Now healthy, Thrower glides around the field with the greatest of ease, and somehow always ends up around the football. He has great ball skills and is very sticky with his man-to-man coverage. He’s also not afraid to stick his nose in there and become a tackler when he has to. Thrower has a great front seven in front of him, so he’s not often forced to make a lot of plays. But, with his speed and playmaking ability, offenses must always know where he is on the field. Ironically though, as good as he is at defensive back, he could be even better at quarterback. With a really good arm and good pocket presence, he has already shown flashes of brilliance. He orchestrated a thrilling comeback against Lowell to win their district championship. Expect more of that excitement next year as he learns the veer offense and officially takes the quarterback mantle. Thrower’s athleticism will also be on display this winter as he’ll play an integral part of a loaded Big Reds basketball team.

Alec Stevens  6-5  270  OL  Ogemaw Heights
Stevens is one of the most highly recruited of what is a promising group of Lake Michigan offensive linemen in 2014. Coaches like that he’s naturally big and strong, without being soft around the middle. Like the rest of his Ogemaw Heights’ teammates, Stevens wasn’t necessarily ready for the speed and pace of Comstock Park, who blew out the Falcons on Saturday. But he was able to show something as a run blocker against a tough, but smaller, defensive line. Though he didn’t do it often, when pass blocking Stevens showed a nice kick and slide. In either scenario though, Stevens too often found himself like Dr. Smith — lost in space. You want your best player finding someone to block and knocking heads on every play, and that didn’t happen.

2015 Watch

Sophomore Mike Egeler is listed on Comstock Park’s roster as a 6-2, 205 “WR/T/DE/DT.” He was outstanding as the fourth of that list against Ogemaw Heights, as he was just too quick for their interior offensive line and repeatedly put his nose in there to stymie the Falcons’ heretofore potent running attack.

Prospect Rankings: Upperclassmen defensive backs

Class of 2013

  1. Ryheem Stokes  5-10  170  Sr  Grand Rapids Catholic Central
  2. Corey Willis  5-10  170  Sr  Holland  Central Michigan
  3. Ryan Verhelst  6-1  175  Sr  West Ottawa
  4. Houston Glass  6-1  185  Sr  East Kentwood  Buffalo
  5. Heath Hoogerhyde  6-1  215  Sr  Caledonia
  6. KC Zenner  6-0  190  Sr  Rockford
  7. Dontel Highsmith  6-2  195  Sr  Dowagiac  Northern Illinois-basketball
  8. Jake Gaunder  5-9  190  Sr  Stevensville Lakeshore
  9. Gary Jones  6-2  190  Sr  Allegan
  10. Davaris Collier  5-10  175  Sr  Grand Rapids Christian
  11. Corey Pierce  5-9  170  Sr  Muskegon Orchard View
  12. Mac Elliott  5-11  175  Sr  Buchanan
  13. Chad Sterk  5-10  160  Sr  Grand Rapids South Christian
  14. Andon Ware  5-11  170  Sr  Baldwin
  15. DeJuan James  5-7  170  Sr  Portage Central
  16. Collin McCaw  6-1  180  Sr  Vicksburg
  17. Trevor Sweeney  5-9  170  Sr  Mattawan
  18. Braden Werley  5-11  195  Sr  Zeeland West
  19. Josh Blauwkamp  5-10  175  Sr  Zeeland East
  20. Jon Pung  5-10  175  Sr  Zeeland West
  21. Jason Miller  6-1  170  Sr  Grand Rapids South Christian
  22. Justin Krueger  5-9  165  Sr  Caledonia
  23. TJ Schepperly  5-8  175  Sr  Traverse City Central
  24. Mitch Bancroft  5-11  160  Sr  Stevensville Lakeshore
  25. Zach Hill  5-11  180  Sr  Kalkaska

Class of 2014

  1. Doug Freeman  6-0  210  Jr  Buchanan
  2. Jalen Brooks  6-3  185  Jr  Cadillac
  3. Deshaun Thrower  5-11  180  Jr  Muskegon
  4. Asantay Brown  6-1  175  Jr  Mona Shores
  5. Dwayne Barfield  6-2  170  Jr  Grand Rapids Christian

Muskegon’s King is having a royal season

On a team full of college prospects, it takes a lot to stand out. But, senior full back John King (5-11, 205) has managed to do just that.  King – a relative unknown a year ago – burst into the spotlight this year with over 1600 yards rushing and 21 touchdowns for the 11-1 Muskegon Big Reds Football Team.

“He’s the heart and soul of our team,” said Muskegon head coach Shane Fairfield. “On the field, John is a warrior. He just loves football.”

King’s meteoric rise is the product of an intense summer conditioning routine with the goal of developing his two-way playing abilities. King, who also plays linebacker, hit the summer football combine/camp circuit to compete against the state’s top players. All of the hard work is paying off; King is having an All-State season and his recruiting stock is trending up as his team marches through the state playoffs.

King does reap the benefit of having a very good offensive line in front of him, but he’s also breaking tackles and running away from the defense. He has good vision and tremendous power with a style reminiscent of former Muskegon great Ashton Leggett. While his combine testing numbers may not blow you away, he is an absolute gamer who gets it done on the field.

College coaches will get another opportunity to catch King this weekend as Muskegon takes on Caledonia in the Division 2 Semifinals.

Regional standouts

With Muskegon’s big uglies dominating the trenches against previously undefeated Midland, senior running back John King took full advantage. He  ran 21 times for 234 yards and four TDs in the Big Reds’ 49-21 win.

Comstock Park QB Jake Brown completed 11-of-14 throws for 144 yards and three TDs while running 22 times for 239 yards and three TDs. Comstock Park routed Ogemaw Heights 62-27.

Grand Rapids South Christian senior Chad Sterk picked off two Three Rivers passes to set up two TDS, and scored a TD on a run of his own, in the Sailors’ 38-24 victory.

Not only is he one of the top defensive players in the Lake Michigan area, Caledonia senior Heath Hoogerhyde got it done with the ball in his hands in a 42-28 win against Mattawan. He carried it 28 times for 207 yards and two TDs.

Beal City QB Sam Schafer threw for 118 yards and ran for 101 yards and two TDs as the Aggies rolled Johannesburg-Lewiston 49-16.

Brant McCollum’s 10 tackles paced a Muskegon Catholic Central defense that held defending Division 8 state champion Mendon to a lone TD, winning 28-6.

Grand Rapids West Catholic junior Andy Corey earned his lunch with 35 carries for 234 yards and a TD. The Falcons beat Newaygo 21-7.

Shelby’s Devin Mussell scored two TDs, one by ground, one by air, in a 26-22 win at Negaunee.

Game Within the Game: Regional can’t miss individual matchups

Kenneth Finley (Muskegon) vs.
Steve Elmer (Midland)
Elmer, Midland’s 6-6, 290 senior headed to Notre Dame, is what Finley aspires too — an All-American, headed to an elite program. With Elmer at offensive tackle and Finley, a 6-3, 265 junior, at defensive tackle, they may not lock horns too often. But they set the tones for their respective lineups in what will be a physical game in Midland.

Harold Wiggins (Stevensville Lakeshore) vs.
Drake Harris (Grand Rapids Christian)
Everyone knows about GR Christian’s junior star Drake Harris. Wiggins isn’t a household name, except amongst D2 coaches who like the big-bodied receiver who gives Lakeshore a major receiving threat of their own. Last week against Hamilton the 6-3, 190 senior caught three passes for 157 yards and a TD.

Alec Stevens (Ogemaw Heights) vs.
Blake Mazur (Comstock Park)
Both these linemen play both ways, while Stevens, a 6-5, 270 junior, is projected to the offensive line in college and Mazur, a 6-3, 250 senior, the defensive side. There’s nothing subtle about these guys, every inch will be earned.

Sam Shutes (Three Rivers) vs.
Jon Wassink (South Christian)
Neither of these quarterbacks, Shutes, a senior, nor Wassink, a sophomore, have any hesitation to launch it. In 2012, Shutes has gone 124-218 passing for 2,134 yards and 16 TDs to three interceptions, while running 94 times for 564 yards and 10 TDs. Wassink has conected on nearly 70 percent of his throws, 128-of-185, for 1,815 yards and 12 TDs and has rushed 73 times for 410 yards and six TDs. Wassink moves well in the pocket, but he really hasn’t had to thus far in the playoffs thanks to continually improving play for the Sailors’ young offensive line. He’s been efficient as ever against Paw Paw and Dowagiac, completing 31-of-39 passes for 436 yards and three TDs, while running for 122 yards and three TDs.

Northern Michigan Game of the Week: Hot Ogemaw Heights travels to Comstock Park

Division 4 Regional

Ogemaw Heights (Big North) 8-3 @
Comstock Park (O-K Blue) 10-1, 1 pm Saturday

Ogemaw Heights had a come to the football gods moment, with a 2-3 record and trailing Cadillac in Week 6. The Falcons won that game and every one since, averaging 44.5 points per game along the way. Saturday they travel to Comstock Park, which is coming off one of the biggest upsets of the playoffs, a 16-7 win over Division 4 No. 1 and previously unbeaten Grand Rapids Catholic Central.

Ogemaw plays physical, no frills football. It helps to have a likely future Big Ten recruit on the offensive line, in 6-5, 270 junior Alec Stevens. Another junior playing well up front has been 5-10, 210 center Todd Henry. They ran for 529 yards last week against Chippewa Hills. Brandon Benac, Tommy DeMatio and Devin Griffus all topped 100 rushing yards, with Benac going for 270 and three TDs. For the year the senior has run for 1,361 yards and 16 TDs. When 6-1, 170 sophomore QB Ben Hartley does have to throw it, he has a nice target in 6-3, 180 senior Jerome Hunter. He’s the Falcons’ leading receiver with 18 catches for 476 yards and six TDs.

In addition to his fullback duties DeMatio, a 5-7, 210 junior, plays defensive tackle, where he leads the team with seven sacks. Another junior, 5-10, 180 linebacker Shane Benjamin, is the Falcons’ leading tacker. Ogemaw’s D will be going up against a Comstock Park offense that doesn’t put up outrageous numbers, but can methodically move the ball and makes plays when it has to.

This is Comstock Park third-straight regional appearance,  looking for its second-straight state semifinal berth. The Panthers are led by one of The Lake’s elite quarterbacks, 6-0, 205 senior Just Win Jake Brown. This will be the 10th playoff game he’s played in his three-year career. This season Brown has throw for 1,438 yards and seven TDs and run for 891 and 21 TDs. If he’s not running it in himself, Brown has a big red zone target in 6-7, 210 junior Drake Baar. His third-down back dujour is junior Jake Bush. He’s Comstock Park’s leading receiver with 591 yards and No. 2 rusher with 345 yards.

6-3, 250 senior lineman Blake Mazur leads a strong Comstock Park defense. They’ve allowed just one touchdown in each of their first two playoff games.

Playoff Picks Part III: November Reign

Division 1
Rockford 9-2 @ Clarkston 11-0

Clarkston and Rockford are East-West cousins. Both are one-time rural schools located about as far North along major thoroughfares as one can get from their respective major cities, Detroit and Grand Rapids, and still be considered part of those metropolitan domains. Between their sheer size of enrollment, farm boy DNA and suburban parent zeal for country club and scholarship sports, Clarkston and Rockford are athletic powerhouses across the board. They’re the rare white, suburban football powers that are also top 10 basketball programs. There is a difference though. When all is said and done, Rockford has won state championships in football and basketball, sent players to the NFL, while Clarkston is “just good.” Westside substance beats Eastside hype every time. Winner: Rockford

Division 2
Muskegon 10-1 @ Midland 11-0

Big boy football right here. Muskegon finished the regular season as The Lake’s No. 1 Division 2 team, while undefeated Midland is the state’s No. 1 ranked D2 team “at large.” Muskegon has played a tougher schedule — Lowell x2, Rockford, Zeeland East, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s — and has more athletic depth. One concern for the Big Reds is that Midland senior Alec Johnson plays a lot like the one QB who beat them, Zeeland East’s Michael Custer. He’s efficient and hard to rattle, and puts up big numbers when he has to. Winner: Muskegon

Caledonia 8-3 @ Mattawan 8-3
So tough most of the season, Caledonia’s defense has allowed 86 points over the last three games. During the same stretch, Mattawan has scored 128. And that’s with Caledonia senior lineman (and punter) Adam Walma questionable after suffering a concussion against East Lansing. Cal’s D will certainly be tested by a Mattawan offense that features two 1,000-yard, double-digit TD runners in seniors Trevor Sweeney and Brok Lamorandier. Winner: Caledonia

Division 3
Grand Rapids Christian 10-1 @ Stevensville Lakeshore 11-0

If you like scoring, check this one out Saturday. Unbeaten Lakeshore is averaging 50 points in the playoffs, GR Christian 56.5. Their offenses are similar in that they’ll give you different looks, and beat you with different parts. It’s just that right now in senior QB Alex VanDeVussen and junior receiver Drake Harris, the Eagles have the two best offensive pieces out there. Winner: GR Christian

Division 4
Ogemaw Heights 8-3 @ Comstock Park 10-1

Ogemaw’s running game is on another level right now. They had three rushers over 100 yards last week, paced, as always, but senior running back Brandon Benac. He had 270 yards and three TDs against Chippewa Hills. Comstock Park’s postseason experience could be the difference here — Just Win Jake Brown may not have the sexiest game out there, but this will be the 10th career playoff start for the senior QB. Winner: Comstock Park

Three Rivers 8-3 @ Grand Rapids South Christian 8-3
In districts, South Christian beat the two undefeated Wolverine Conference champions — Paw Paw and Dowagiac — and did it rather easily. Three Rivers finished third in the Wolverine-South. Winner: South Christian

Division 5
Newaygo 9-2 @ Grand Rapids West Catholic 8-3

West Catholic has just been doing it against a different level of competition; Newaygo hasn’t seen a D this stingy. It’s been a great run under first-year Newaygo coach Andy Busch, but hard to imagine an upset here. Winner: West Catholic

Division 6
Shelby 9-2 @ Negaunee 10-1

Can the Purple Rain get it done in the UP snow? The serious road trip and Negaunee’s serious defense may be too much for Shelby. Winner: Negaunee

Constantine 9-2 @ Hillsdale 11-0
Hillsdale’s undefeated? Shouldn’t faze Constantine, which beat 10-0 Schoolcraft last week 40-27. Constantine’s namesake, the 4th century AD politician, was the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity. His army’s shields bore a cross. The Constantine football team embraces a cross of sorts too — the wing-T. Lots of folks run it, but few have the luxury doing it with a fullback the size of Payton White. Twenty times teams haven’t been able to keep the 6-2, 230 senior out of the end zone. Winner: Constantine

Division 7
Lake City 10-1 @ Ishpeming 10-1

Lake City won’t complain about a trip to the U.P. Who said the road to history is straight, narrow or short? And this is an historic season for the Trojans, coming off their first district championship. What happens when you put a quarterback with college “measurables” in small-town football? Well, for Lake City junior QB Drew Marion it means you’ve thrown for 2,136 yards and 27 TDS while running for 1,162 yards and 28 TDs. Ishpeming’s QB, Alex Briones, doesn’t have gaudy numbers like Marion, in part because he missed four games, but is a formidable dual threat himself. Winner: Ishpeming

Pewamo-Westphalia 8-3 @ Decatur 9-2
Decatur’s peaking at the right time. After losing to Lawton in the regular season, it was no problem in last week’s district final, which Decatur won 34-3. Winner: P-W

Division 8
Johannesburg-Lewiston 9-2 @ Beal City 11-0

These teams met last year in the playoffs too, with Beal City winning the 2011 postseason opener 43-20. Jo’burg has a lot of players back from that squad, but it takes more than revenge motives to stop a machine like Beal City. Winner: Beal City

Muskegon Catholic Central 8-3 @ Mendon 11-0
Mendon is carrying a 25-game winning streak, including last year’s playoff victory over Catholic Central. This could be the defacto state championship game for the second year in a row. Winner: Mendon

Lake Michigan Prospect Watch: Week 12

Class of 2013

Zack Decker  6-5  210  Sr  TE  Schoolcraft
Decker is a really good pass catching tight end that doesn’t have blazing speed but he knows how to use his size to make plays. He plays physical but has very soft hands and catches the ball at it’s highest point. He’s a good athlete and was a key component on Schoolcraft’s basketball team that made it to the Breslin Center last March. Decker is a lunch pail guy that if he adds some weight he can become a big time player at the next level. 

Alex Korhorn  6-2  275  Sr  OL/DL  Grand Rapids Christian
One of the benefits of playing the offensive line for GR Christian is the tutelage of a former NFLer as their position coach, Tony Semple. Semple wasn’t the most talented guy when competing at the highest level, but had an nine-year career with the Lions as a tough, blue-collar guard, and ended up blocking for Barry Sanders in some of the Hall of Famer’s greatest seasons. Korhorn has a true acolyte, in smaller form, in Korhorn. Despite giving up size last Saturday to 6-6, 290 Zeeland West junior Jordan VanDort, Korhorn was able to hold his own blocking one-on-one thanks to his grit, leverage and balance. In addition to his pass blocking, Korhorn is a mean run blocker who can pull from his left guard spot to level more traditionally sized high school players. The Eagles are also playing their two best offensive linemen, Korhorn and junior Tommy Doles, on the defensive line, which helps make this team so tough and a favorite to win it all in Division 3.

Seth McIntosh  5-10  205  Sr  RB  Grand Rapids Christian
He gives the Eagles’ potent passing game some balance on the ground. McIntosh ran 16 times for 128 yards in the GR Christian’s district final win over Zeeland West. For the season he has 754 yards and six TDs on 96 carries. McIntosh is light on his feet for 205 pounds, but also has the power to get tough yards and the knack for bouncing off the first tackle.

Casey Mesbergen  6-2  210  Sr  LB/OL  Zeeland West
A defensive lineman on Zeeland West’s 2011 state championship team, Mesbergen just finished a strong senior season playing guard and linebacker for the Dux. Mesbergen is the kind of leader you like to have at middle linebacker, as up the middle was the strength of a defense that proved susceptible in other ways throughout the year. He played an active game last Saturday against Grand Rapids Christian, but sometimes could get eager and over pursue. With his ideal linebacker size (or the potential for either line were he to put on weight) and the pedigree of where he’s been coached, Mesbergen is a priority recruit for small college programs.

Brett Scanlon  6-0  195  Sr  K  Dowagiac
Scanlon’s high school career ended last Friday at the hands of South Christian, but got a glimpse towards his college future the very next day with a trip to MSU. He didn’t make his lone field goal attempt in the South Christian game — from 62 yards. Scanlon did show his ability to both boom and place punts (he did have a 62-yarder that way the previous week against Otsego) as well as his leg on kickoffs, where he finished the season by putting over 50 of them into the end zone. Scanlon looks thicker and more athletic than your average kicker. He also started at linebacker for Dowagiac and rotated at quarterback.

Seth VanEngen  6-5  215  Sr  LB  Grand Rapids South Christian
He goes both ways for South Christian, providing soph phenom Jon Wassink a big check-down target at receiver whose college future is likely as an outside linebacker. VanEngen played with a better motor in last Friday’s second-round game than when I saw the Sailors earlier in the year. He flows well to the ball and showed some wheels when he ran a Dowagiac running back. VanEngen would sometimes line up at tight end as well as come into motion to block, where he was competent but didn’t really coil and strike through his man. Overall, with his physical tools and versatility, the kind of prospect a small program would love to get in their program and shape for the future.

Class of 2014

Carl Grant  6-2  220  Jr  DL/TE  Dowagiac
He was a defensive playmaker all season for a Dowagiac team that finished 10-1. He finished fourth on the team in tackles and was first with 50 behind the line of scrimmage. South Christian was able to limit his speed rush from left end last Friday, but Grant showed off his wrestling strength against the run. Would like to see him get some counters for when he sees a well-coached line like the Sailors’. With no consistent Dowagiac pass rush, they ended up getting picked apart by QB Jon Wassink. A five technique guy now, Grant moves well so could end up as a linebacker at the next level.

Drake Harris  6-4  180  Jr  WR  Grand Rapids Christian
The Drake lived up to all the hype with an epic playoff performance against Zeeland West. He made seven receptions for 208 yards, including TDs of 32 and 42 yards. He also set up a field goal with a 49-yard catch and a TD with a 32-yard catch. None of those plays were breakdowns where Harris found himself all alone, he had to work for it against two good players in West’s Braden Werley and Jon Pung. Werley did knock away one pass, but then GR Christian QB Alex VanDeVusse started throwing it up where only Harris could get it, and he made the plays despite taking hits. His mix of vertical jump, hand-eye coordination, soft mitts and ability to smoothly but efficiently accelerate into 4.4 mode, just can’t be stopped at the high school level. When they’re not going his way, Drake is a decent blocker for a young, skinny receiver. There are so many combine phenoms who get to college where coaches find out too late they can’t catch or, you know, actually play football. That’s not Harris. He has the “measurables,” but they just start to tell the story of him as a player.

2015 watch

Grand Rapids South Christian has a 2012 district championship to its credit. It could be the start of some terrific things for coach Mark Tamminga’s program. We’ve already recounted the talent of their young QB, 6-2, 175 Jon Wassink. He’s just one of a number of key sophomore contributors to the Sailors. His shotgun partner, 6-1, 210 center Casey Elzinga, is also a 10th-grader. 6-3, 230 sophomore D lineman Mitchell Quakkelaar had a sack last Friday against Dowagiac, a game where 6-3, 180 sophomore receiver Eric VanVoorst and 5-11, 220 sophomore lineman Brendan Huyser also contributed.

Prospect Rankings: Upperclassman Receivers

Class of 2013

  1. Brandon Moore  6-3  195  Sr  Montague
  2. Trent Karcher  6-1  185  Sr  Chippewa Hills
  3. Corey Willis  5-10  170  Sr  Holland  Central Michigan
  4. Ryan Verhelst  6-1  175  Sr  West Ottawa
  5. Dylan Smith  6-2  180  Sr  Kenowa Hills
  6. Gary Jones  6-2  190  Sr  Allegan
  7. Dontel Highsmith  6-2  195  Sr  Dowagiac  Northern Illinois-basketball
  8. Ato Condole  6-1  180  Sr  West Ottawa
  9. Chad Walton  6-3  180  Sr  Grand Rapids Northview
  10. Harold Wiggins  6-3  190  Sr  Stevensville Lakeshore
  11. Bishop Robinson  6-2  170  Sr  Kalamazoo Loy-Norrix
  12. David Kuzma  6-3  175  Sr  Grand Rapids West Catholic
  13. Marcus Smith  5-10  175  Sr  Muskegon
  14. Andon Ware  5-11  170  Sr  Baldwin
  15. Collin McCaw  6-1  180  Sr  Vicksburg
  16. Spencer Nehls  6-1  185  Sr  Forest Hills Central
  17. Sherman Hodges  6-0  170  Sr  Muskegon
  18. Donny Cizek  6-0  185  Sr  Traverse City West
  19. Austin Diekevers  5-10  170  Sr  Grand Rapids South Christian
  20. John Mrosewski  6-1  185  Sr  Three Rivers
  21. Jon Pung  5-10  175  Sr  Zeeland West
  22. Jason Miller  6-1  170  Sr  Grand Rapids South Christian
  23. Jerome Hunter  6-3  180  Sr  Ogemaw Heights
  24. Andrew Woodfin  5-11  170  Sr  Grandville Calvin Christian
  25. Sam Powell  6-3  190  Sr  North Muskegon

Class of 2014

  1. Drake Harris  6-4  180  Jr  Grand Rapids Christian  Michigan State
  2. Kyle Steigenga  6-4  180  Jr  Holland Christian
  3. Dwayne Barfield  6-2  170  Jr  Grand Rapids Christian
  4. Asantay Brown  6-1  175  Jr  Mona Shores
  5. Zach Hill  5-11  170  Jr  Zeeland East

Second Round Standouts

*Grand Rapids Christian junior Drake Harris caught seven passes for 208 yards and two TDs in the Eagles’ 68-44 win against Zeeland West. Dux senior Jon Pung ran 16 times for 245 yards and three TDs.

*Ogemaw Heights junior Brandon Benac added to his school all-time rushing record, carrying the ball 35 times for 270 yards and three TDs in a 48-27 defeat of Chippewa Hills.  Tommy DeMatio and Devin Griffus also ran for over 100 yards. In his last game for Chippewa Hills, senior receiver Trent Karcher caught four passes for 127 yards and two TDs.

*Senior running back Corry Brown rushed for 216 yards and two TDs on 18 attempts, and added an interception, as Three Rivers won at Williamston 33-13.

*Forrest Courtright had a team-high 12 tackles and an interception, pacing a Shelby defense that shut out Maple City Glen Lake 26-0 while forcing five turnovers.

*He was just resting up, apparently. Muskegon junior Deshaun Thrower missed most of the season with a broken foot. He was inserted at QB for the second half against Lowell, and threw a 46-yard pass to Marcus Smith and had a 52-yard run that set up the winning field goal as the Big Reds escaped 15-13.

*Comstock Park senior QB Jake Brown turned in another patented “double-triple”, throwing for 111 yards and a TD and running for 102 yards, in the Panthers’ 16-7 upset of undefeated, Division 4 No. 1 Grand Rapids Catholic Central.

*Beal City sophomore Alex Schafer picked off two passes and caught a TD. Undefeated, Division 8 No. 1 Beal City beat Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart 28-21.

*Finally healthy, Rockford senior running back Connor Darby had 18 carries for 113 yards and two TDs in the Rams’ 35-28 comeback win over West Ottawa. WO senior QB Trevor VanTubbergen was 24-for-41 passing for 285 yards and four TDs.

*Muskegon Catholic Central’s Alex Lewandoski had a banged up ankle but couldn’t be kept off the field. He ran 19 times for 154 yards and two TDs and led the team with nine tackles in a 14-0 win over Fowler.

*Mattawan beat Portage Central 42-21. Brock Lamorandier ran 21 times for 203 yards and two TDs and Trevor Sweeney ran 20 times for 125 yards and two TDs. In his final high school game, Portage Central’s DeJuan James had 261 yards and three TDs on 21 attempts.

*South Christian’s soph QB Jon Wassink was 21-of-27 passing for 284 yards and two TDs and ran for 68 yards and two TDs in the Sailors’ 42-23 win at previously undefeated Dowagiac.