When quarterbacks produce at the rate Cadillac’s Jalen Brooks and Lake City’s Drew Marion did in their junior year, you’re going to get notice even when doing it in Northern Michigan. MAC schools like Brooks as an athlete at 6-4, 185, a possible Harrison Smith-type at the next level; while CMU and Ball State love how Marion can not just toss it but run and create. Playmakers you say? Last fall they accounted for 90 TDs between them.
No Michigan high school had a tougher pair of tackles than Cadillac’s Jack Ford and Riley Norman. That size and strength would’ve been for naught had they not had someone to block for, an opportunity filled ably by the smooth-striding Brooks. In the regular season he ran for 1,700 yards and 27 TDs (with only one fumble), while throwing for 712 yards and four TDs for a Cadillac team that made its fourth-straight playoff appearance (second with Brooks at QB), and starting at DB. He twice set the Big North Conference single-game record with a pair of six TD efforts.
Twenty minutes East in Lake City, Marion, a 6-2, 190 junior, was tearing up the Highland Conference. He led Lake City to a 10-2 mark, getting knocked out of the D7 playoffs by eventual state champion Ishpeming. Marion earned all-state accolades in a season which saw him throw for 2,300 yards and 27 TDs and run for 1,300 and 30 TDs.
Brooks and Marion will be among those athletes competing at the Lake Michigan Football Report’s combine Sunday, March 17 at the Woodland Sportsplex in Grand Rapids. Though both are scholarship locks, but it’s still a matter of solidifying what level and will be just two of the all-state caliber athletes competing. The combine provides a step to further their resumes and exposure level, and possibly expanding their college options.