The results are in! After five great combines in five great Michigan cities, we have compiled the complete results from each stop on our “Best of the Best” Football Combine Tour!
QB Andrew Duckett 6-1 175 Jr Niles Brandywine
QB Jamison Green 6-4 175 Jr Big Rapids
QB Evan Whitmore 6-2 172 So Petoskey
QB Jake Smith 5-11 165 So Ithaca
RB Marty Ward 5-10 202 Jr Niles Brandywine
RB Deonte Campbell-Smith 5-9 185 Jr Berrien Springs
RB Kevin Hazen 5-11 190 So Troy Athens
OL TJ Patterson 6-2 250 Jr Reed City
OL Jakob Szilagyi 6-3 276 Jr Niles Brandywine
TE Charlie Rodriguez 5-11 210 Jr Niles Brandywine
WR Shawn Kneeland 5-9 165 Jr Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills
DL Tommy Brown 6-2 265 Jr Grand Rapids Northview
DL Juwan Jarnegan 6-0 220 Jr Grand Rapids Christian
DL Mike Rautio 6-4 210 Jr Big Rapids
DL Corbin Newton 6-2 215 Jr Central Lake
DL Jacob Lechner 6-2 225 So Harbor Springs
LB Jack Bates 6-2 210 Jr Grand Rapids Christian
LB Daniel Harazin 6-1 200 Jr Stevensville Lakeshore
LB Brandon Oja 6-0 195 Jr St. Ignace
LB Gabe Gembala 6-2 200 So Stevensville-Lakeshore
DB Luke Sage 6-0 180 So Boyne City
DB Trenton Braman 5-8 155 So Central Montcalm
QB Travis Smith 6-2 200 Sr Ithaca Toledo
QB Tyler Sigler 6-3 200 Sr Grand Rapids Christian
RB Bryan Shaw 5-11 220 Sr Ithaca
RB Marcus Lambert 5-11 195 Sr Zeeland West
OL Tristen Fleet 6-3 275 Sr Mancelona
OL Cory Katterheinrich 6-2 288 Sr Niles Brandywine
OL Matthew Reitsma 6-1 245 Sr Lowell
OL Benjamin Walton 6-2 240 Sr East Jordan
TE Anthony Duran 6-3 220 Sr Petoskey
WR Logan Hessbrook 6-3 195 Sr Ithaca
WR Alex Zimmerman 5-10 163 Sr West Ottawa
DL Jacob Howe 6-2 240 Sr Forest Hills Northern
DL Brandon Hutson 6-2 240 Sr Big Rapids
DL Ryan Gruszka 6-3 210 Sr Comstock Park
LB Jake Achterberg 6-1 200 Sr Stevensville-Lakeshore
LB Brad Fall 6-0 215 Sr Marion
LB Jacob Kaczynski 6-4 230 Sr Ludington
LB Shea Whitmore 6-2 190 Sr Petoskey
DB Wyatt Batdorff 5-11 180 Sr Forest Hills Northern
DB Drew Marion 6-2 195 Sr Lake City
DB Danny Bauder 5-9 185 Sr Zeeland West
DB Kevin Kunkel 5-10 165 Sr Lake City
If you want a sleeper team in Division 6, Niles Brandywine has a lot of pieces off a 7-3 team. Buoyed by that small-school talent and that of the host school Stevensville-Lakeshore, the last stop of the Lake’s Best of the Best combine tour had the largest turnout of the run in both players and college coaches. Brandywine junior Andrew Duckett is an athlete who can go either way. He threw it well as a left-handed QB. He’ll also draw recruiting attention as a cornerback and ran a camp-quickest 4.56 40 and then a 4.22 pro agility. On his high school team Duckett has the luxury of playing behind two talented linemen 6-2, 288 senior Cory Katterheinrich and 6-3, 276 junior Jakob Szilagyi. Once they put the helmets on, so came the light for Katterheinrich. He was there to get better and compete, absorbing the coaching and got sharper as the drills went on. CK has a good motor and is strong — 11 reps at 215 pounds. Szilagyi is just learning to play at his size. A year from now, quicker and more flexible, and he has a chance. Ducket has a legit target in Brandywine senior Kenneth Laurita, a 6-1, 165 quick receiver. But the major offensive threat could be a junior, 5-10, 202 running back Marty Ward. He was the strongest skill position player with nine reps at 225 lbs, with a 4.82 40 and 4.26 shuttle. In one-on-ones, used his strength to get off, hands for the catches and moves to shake free after. For one of the younger players, went hard the whole workout. He’s certainly big enough to make an impact in high school ball and could yet get bigger as he’s a 2015, 5-11 210 tight end Charlie Rodriguez proved himself a capable target. Joining Ward as a promising 2015 running back prospect was Berrien Springs junior Deonte Campbell-Sims, strong for his size at 5-9, 185 with a 30″ vertical.
Lakeshore is a perennial playoff team, and that reputation shouldn’t be endangered given the talent that came out to compete on their home turf. They have almost cloned a talent in three classes. 6-1, 200 senior Jake Achtenberg, 6-1, 200 junior Daniel Harazin and 6-2, 200 sophomore Gabe Gembala all looked the part and backed it up between the lines. Achtenberg burned it up at his size with a 4.57 40, 31″ standing vertical, 11 reps at 185 lbs, 4.4 pro agility. He projects as a linebacker or running back. Harazin had the No.2 vertical jump mark 32″. He is more a lineman who ran a 4.57 40, 4.38 pro agility and did 185 lbs 16 times. 6-0, 230 senior Jordan Grimes benched a combine-best 11 reps of 225. Lakeshore senior Josh Bushu has potential as a pass catcher with some strength to his 6-3, 180 frame, and his 4.0 gpa weighs heavily in his favor. The coaches were on him, but with good reason he has good tools and instincts if he puts it all together — 6-0, 195 Lakeshore junior defensive end Ryan Potts.
Two skill guys from the O-K Red were among the best athletes at Lakeshore. He as overshadowed last year by Ryan Verhelst and Ato Condole, but in retrospect maybe it was in part thanks to the sticky pass coverage of West Ottawa senior Alex Zimmerman that freed them to make plays on the ball. The 5-10, 163 cornerback was dialed in to bump-and-run. He was just as good catching the ball himself. Zimmerman ran a 4.59 40 with a 4.15 shuttle and combine-best 33″ vertical jump. 6-0, 185 senior running back Mark Dieterle looked comfortable with the ball and had the best pro agility time of anyone on the combine tour — 4.07 seconds, and he did it twice.
Wayland brought a couple with potential for the defensive side. Senior Quentin Sweeney is versatile, a middle linebacker by trade with his 6-2, 220 frame you could also see him as an end rusher or tight end. He tested well all-around and ran a 4.85 40. 6-2, 247 senior Brandon Behrens is more of an interior guy.
Sweeney and Achtenberg were part of a strong linebacker contingent that also included 5-10, 245 Loy-Norrix senior Tylan White and 6-1, 185 Watervliet senior RJ Rudel. White is builtt to deliver hits, with 4.89 40 respectable for his size and seven reps at 225 lbs. Rudel is a small-school standout who could be a DB at the small-college level with a 4.32 pro agility and 4.84 40.
COMING SOON! We’ll be announcing out next series of Lake Michigan Football Report Exposure Events in the very near future! Be on the look-out for our Senior Exposure Camp (December 2013 in Grand Rapids), our Underclassmen Exposure Camp (March 2014 in Grand Rapids), and our Spring Exposure Camp & Combine (May 2014 in Traverse City).
The Lake Michigan Football Report made its fourth stop on the “Best of the Best” Football Combine Tour on Friday night at Ithaca High School, home to the three-time defending Division 6 state champion Yellowjackets. With everybody and their brother — and even the Sherriff — coming out to watch the day’s events, the hometown kids didn’t disappoint.
Ithaca quarterback Travis Smith, a Toledo commit, lived up to the hype by displaying a strong arm, great mechanics, and the ability to consistently hit receivers in-stride. At 6-2, 200, he looked and played the part of Division I player all night, and if he keeps developing, he could end up being a steal for the Rockets when it’s all said and done.
The guy he’ll be handing the ball off to this season was quite impressive as well. Senior running back Bryan Shaw showed great feet and good balance throughout drill work, and consistently got open in the one-on-ones. At a very solid 5-11, 220, he could still change direction with ease and will pack a punch when hitting the hole.
On the outside, Ithaca’s Logan Hessbrook (nephew of head coach Terry Hessbrook) may be the most underrated receiver in the state. Good size (6-3, 195), great hands, he won every battle for the football in Friday’s one-on-one drills. Hessbrook’s claim to fame thus far has been saving the team’s state championship hopes when Smith went down with an injury in the title game. Hessbrook filled in at QB and the Yellowjackets clinched their third consecutive ‘ship. Soon, though, the senior will simply be known as a Division I wide receiver prospect.
Another Ithaca receiver who stood out was St. John’s transfer Josh Hafner. He ran good routes, made defenders miss, caught everything near him, and played with an effervescent competitive spirit. The 6-2, 175 senior is a great addition to an already loaded team. Hafner also performed well through the testing portion, turning in top-tier scores at each event (4.69 40, 6 reps at 185, 33.1” vert, and a 4.11 pro-agility shuttle – possibly an all-time Lake Michigan Football Report Combine record).
The Yellowjackets also had some young talent on the rise. Backup QB/WR Jake Smith, soph brother of Travis, showed a strong arm and was bursting at the seams with potential. When he grows into his body, Ithaca should have another great QB on their hands. Another ‘Jacket who caught our scout’s eye was 2016 linebacker Jace Demenov. With good cover skills and great football instincts for such a young player, he has a big upside. With all this talent, it’s no wonder that Ithaca’s Coach Hessbrook had a smile on his face all day.
As good as the talent was provided by the hometown team, the event also drew talented players from around the state. Grayling’s Jake Swander has been working all summer with a Detroit-based coach and it showed. 6-0, 195 Swander turned in his best performance out of any of his appearances at our events. Like many quarterbacks, he won’t blow you away with his testing numbers, but he was accurate all day and looked comfortable both in the pocket and on the move.
6-5, 210 WR Lane Simon from Pewamo-Westphalia showed well all day with a performance that drew the imagination to his potential at TE. He consistently high-pointed the ball and ran a respectable 4.74 over 40 yards. His size and athleticism should win college coaches over. Also at receiver, Fruitport senior Shawn Knox Jr. was not big at 5-8, but he was elusive and caught everything. He was more quick than fast (4.24 shuttle, 4.79 40), but could be a nice slot receiver at the next level.
Two young running backs who turned heads were Troy Athens’ Kevin Hazen and Central Montcalm’s Trenton Braman. Both 2016 prospects played with soft hands and good vision.
On the defensive side of the ball, senior linebacker Brad Fall of Marion turned in a performance worthy of the “best of the best.” At 6-0, 215, Fall clocked the camp’s fastest 40 (4.65 on a grass field), performed well in the drill work and was a beast in one-on-ones with pass break-ups and interceptions. College coaches may be sleeping on Fall, but they better wake up.
Complete results from this combine and all tour event combines will be posted on this website next week. The #LMFRTour resumes action on Monday, July 15, with its fifth and final stop at Stevensville-Lakeshore High School. Please note that this is the only camp that does not have a 6:00pm start time. Players will take the field at 7:00pm. Player check-in and walk-up registration will begin at 6:00pm.
It’s amazing that in small, neighboring towns in the middle of Michigan, that in one senior class there are quarterbacks as talented as Lake City’s Drew Marion, Reed City’s Chad Samuels and Cadillac’s Jalen Brooks. The first two competed Wednesday on the third leg of the Lake Michigan Football Report’s Best of the Best combine tour at Big Rapids High School.
Samuels was in Grand Rapids in March, Traverse City in May, and he really grows on you. While he doesn’t have the size or raw athleticism of the others, of the three QBs Samuel’s the most polished drop-back passer. His ball placement is terrific, has the touch for sure. He does a good job squaring his shoulders and getting off legit throws while rolling out. While not big, he’s solid at 6-0, 175 and put in respectable measurables with a 4.93 40, 4.35 pro agility and 28″ standing vertical.
Just like he was at the Grand Rapids combine, Marion dominated the testing. At 6-2, 195 he had the quickest shuttle in 4.22 seconds; did the most reps at 185 pounds, 13; tied for the highest vertical leap, 35 inches; and ran a 4.68 40, the second-fastest time in Big Rapids (like Cheboygan the night before, they ran on grass). Love his intangibles, as Marion was a vocal, positive leader with his drill group. As an actual QB, he’s polishing his game, as at the small school level he can dominate with his legs and arm. His best chance as a MAC prospect may be as a defensive back. His one-handed interception may have been the highlight play of the Big Rapids workout.
Another senior QB that college coaches need to know is 6-1, 180from Onekama; good arm. A junior QB that will be heard from is Jamison Green, looks the part for sure at 6-4, 175 and already has some big-time camp experience. His balls sank at times, but with time, tools and coaching on his side, love his potential.
None of the quarterbacks had it particularly easy, as they had to throw against a helluva a cornerback in Kevin Kunkel, a 5-10 165 senior from Lake City. He’s quick (4.38 pro agility) and explosive (30″ standing vertical), though he’ll have to shave some off his 40 time. When it went live is when Kunkel really shined. Receivers had a devil of a time getting off the line with how he jammed them, and he was sticky if they did get an initial step. Kunkel played a ton of reps but fought all the way. The fastest player in Big Rapids was Erik Chard, a 5-9, 175 Byron Center senior with a 4.51 40. He’s a running back, but not necessarily a natural receiver so could end up in the defensive backfield. Another one who could make a good corner, though he’s listed as a QB/WR, is Dustin Hejka, a 5-9, 155 East Jordan senior. His 4.15 seconds was the best pro agility time, with a 30-inch vertical and 4.86 40.
While Chard has the big-play ability in the open field, the best-looking power runner at the combine was Garrett Cavendish, a 5-9, 180 senior from Lakeview. Power you say? He had an event-best 10 reps benching 225 pounds. He ran a 4.84 40, 4.22 shuttle, with a 30-inch vertical. He made good adjustments and showed soft hands as a receiver. The top pure wide receiver at the combine was Brad Epplett, a 6-0, 178 Holton senior. He ran a 4.7 40 and 4.32 pro agility.
The host school provided two prospects who could end up amongst the very best defensive line prospects in the 2014 and 2015 classes, respectively. Brandon Hutson, a 6-2, 240 Big Rapids senior, has lost weight, gotten healthy and really helped his cause. A throwback, blue-collar kids who had the energy in drills of a guy just happy to be playing football. He played at White Cloud as a sophomore then played with a shoulder injury as a Big Rapids junior, so few know just how good this kid is. He’s quick with his hand down and has a terrific motor. Not a great athlete, so you stick him on the interior and let him scrap. Conversely, Big Rapids junior Mike Rautio has the lanky frame coaches covet for the ends, at 6-4, 210.
There’s a lot to like about Jacob Kacynski, a 6-4, 230 Ludington senior who worked out as a tight end and linebacker. Loved him in the regular season, and backed it up here with the measurables. Good athlete at his size, with a 4.82 40, 4.34 pro agility and 30″ vertical. No dumb jock, he has high-end grades and test score. Didn’t always look comfortable catching the ball, so best bet at the next level is as an OLB. At this point, it’s up to Jake — he could be one of the Lake Area’s elite 2014 prospects, if he buys in and dedicates himself to the game.
Of the wide-bodied linemen, 6-3, 275 Mancelona senior Tristen Fleet and 6-2, 250 Reed City junior TJ Patterson stood out. Fleet was wearing a “Ferris State” t-shirt, fittingly as he projects as a GLIAC center prospect. Fleet just competes, which is half the battle. Patterson is raw but looks like he could get much bigger. Needs to work on his footwork.
The Lake Michigan combine tour hit its geographic peak Tuesday in Cheboygan. Petoskey was well-represented at the home of their one-time Big North opponent, the workout format perfect for athletes to show what they can do outside their roles in the Northmen’s potent double-wing offense. Anthony Duran will be a blocking tight end in the fall. The 6-3, 220 senior proved to be a legitimate receiving threat. Good target and seemed coachable (he volunteered pushups of his own accord after dropping a ball). Passable straight-ahead speed, he’s more likely to break a tackle for yac than have the quickness to wiggle free. With some work to free up his stride, no reason to think he shouldn’t consistently run sub-5 40s. Duran also end up an outside linebacker. 6-2 190 Petoskey senior Shea Whitmore is being recruited as a linebacker and fullback, and has the athletic ability to be effective both ways, with a pick as a DB in one-on-ones. He ran a 4.8 40 with a 30″ standing vertical and the best pro agility time in the camp 4.28 seconds. Factor those #s by an ACT score North of 30 and he’s going to be a very popular recruit this fall. Shea’s sophomore brother Evan Whitmore will play at QB for the Petoskey varsity squad this fall. It took him just a minute until he was hitting targets consistently. Good size at 6-2, 172, and like his poise for the position having seen the younger Whitmore play elite AAU basketball competition.
Younger yet at QB was John Paramski, a 6-1, 188 rising freshman who came down from Newberry. He didn’t look or throw like his age would suggest. It will be interesting to follow him the next four years, the safe bet is big things will ensue. John Miller is a good high school QB out of Roscommon, but the 5-10 180 senior projects as a DB or possibly receiver. He ran a 4.84 40 with a 4.34 shuttle and 31″ vertical. Also from Roscommon — and getting GLIAC looks — 5-10, 170 senior Brett Jobin was strong in coverage, ran a 4.76 40 and his 10 reps at 185 lbs was tops for a skill position guy. A baby-faced kid who could still have another plane of athleticism latent.
From the hometown contingent, 6-0, 180 senior Cheboygan receiver Ben Pearson had the best vertical jump in the combine at 34″. Also did well in the bench press and ran 4.65 40s. Did a good job adjusting to and getting open with QBs he’d never played with prior. Stayed afterwards to put in more work on his technique. The top bench press was from Cheboygan senior lineman Colton Hudak, 12 reps at 225 lbs.
Like Paramski, St. Ignace’s Luke Sage is an underclassman that didn’t play like one. A 6-0, 180 sophomore, he was dialed in and competed consistently. Good breaks and reads, didn’t bite, changed directions as a linebacker; versatile enough athlete to have position options down the line. Sage’s 30-inch vertical was tops for an underclassman. St. Ignace is dangerous up the middle as 6-0, 195 junior Brandon Oja ran well with a 4.75 40. On the other end of the scale from Sage as a 2016 prospect was Jacob Lechner. He’s all unrefined physical potential right now as a 6-2, 225 Harbor Springs sophomore. Has the long look of a D end or O tackle. Lechner will have one last season to take advantage of a D1 role model in Rams senior David Walker, a rare opportunity at Harbor.
Too often East Jordan has joined Harbor Springs amongst the “gimme” wins in the Lake Michigan Conference. So was Kalkaska at one point but they’ve turned that around. It takes players and it looks like EJ has some, between receiver/defensive back Dustin Hejka who played at the Big Rapids event, and Benjamin Walton who was the top lineman in Cheboygan. He’s a 6-0, 260 senior nose tackle from East Jordan. He’s what you want at the position, stocky but quick. They couldn’t bull-rush in drills with helmets but no pads, no matter Walton just won his one-on-ones thanks to his first stop. Completed 11 reps at 225 lbs. One of my favorite lineman was Corbin Newton, because of the motor on the 6-2, 215 Central Lake junior. He went hard all the way through drills. He’ll have to get faster, but as a 2015 prospect that can still happen. As it can for Chase Woods, a 5-10, 170 Pellston junior who had one of the top verticals in camp at 33″. Made some plays in drills, as well.
The first of the five stops of the Best of the Best Combine tour was at Grand Rapids Christian High School. There was a talented contingent of Eagles amongst the participants, and a vibe that the 2013 entry could be even better than the 2012 state champion. All-American receiver Drake Harris won’t have to convert to running back. GR Christian replaces record-setting QB Alex Vandevusse with Tyler Sigler. Jenison’s struggles turned out to be the Eagles’ gain, as coach Irv Sigler resigned after an 0-9 season and son Tyler transferred. The 6-3, 200 senior was the best passer at Monday’s GR combine, ball left his hand quickly and consistently — ironic he’s such a thrower since grandfather Irv Sigler Sr. won multiple state titles coaching the wing-T. What separates Sigler from the other 2014 quarterbacks in the Lake Area is that he’s not an athlete full of raw potential at the position, but a classic pro style guy who walks into one of the best situations in America. Not that Sigler isn’t athletic. Quite the contrary. He ran a 4.58 40, his 4.13 pro agility tied for the best mark and his vertical leap was 34″. Add strong grades, the football pedigree and exposure to a college-style offense with the Eagles, and it’s easy to call Sigler one of the hottest 2014 recruits in the Lake Area.
Danny Bauder loves the GR Christian turf. The 5-9, 185 senior had a breakout game on it as a Zeeland West in the 2012 Division 4 playoffs. Monday he ran the fastest 40 time, 4.40 seconds. An explosive, well put together athlete, Bauder also was 4.4 in the shuttle and had a 34″ vertical. Measurables aside, Bauder was strong in drills and one-on-ones too, both as a cover guy and showing the ability to separate time and again to make the catch. His Dux teammate, 5-11 195 senior Marcus Lambert, was one of the Lake Area’s most prolific runners in 2012, a between-the-tackles fullback who here showed the physique made for a power back. Lambert ran a 4.7 40. Making the trip over from Macomb County, Fraser senior Ryan Regener physically resembled Bauder, a strong athlete in a 5’11, 185 frame.
Another standout running back was Dominic Paiz, a senior transfer from GR Catholic Central to GR Christian who has all the moves but not D1 size at 5-8, 175. Paiz’ lightness of feet was evident in the pro shuttle, as his 4.13 seconds tie all-state sprinter Bauder for the GR combine’s best mark; 4.6 40.
Ryan Gruszka played well at our March camp, and the 6-3, 210 Comstock Park senior turned heads here with 4.63 40-yard dash on a frame that can get bigger and stronger for a defensive end/tight end. He’s more smooth and quick, than explosive. Other guys who passed the eyeball test then got it done on the field included 6-3, 210 Greenville linebacker/tight end Chase Harrington who ran back-to-back 4.7 40s; and 6-2, 210 GR Christian junior linebacker Jack Bates, who is receiving MAC interest.
The top defensive line prospects may be kind of tweeners, but win you over with their power and motor. The event’s strong man was Juwan Jarnegan, a 6-0, 220 GR Christian junior, with a medicine ball toss of 44’7. He ran a 4.82 40 with a 29″ vertical leap. While undersized for a defensive end, Jarnegan gives you the look of a poor man’s Lamarr Woodley. 6-2, 240 Forest Hills junior Jacob Howe showed quick uptake and quicker hands in drills, and threw 39′. With some senior film and his intangibles, the offers will be forthcoming, just a bit later than originally assumed. Tommy Brown projects as a D tackle, as a 6-2, 265 junior from Grand Rapids Northview, where he played both ways as a soph. Matthew Reitsma is a 6-1, 245 senior two-way lineman from Lowell with a nice combination of 5.19 40 and 40″ medicine ball.
Just like his dad of the same name over 20 years ago, Shawn Kneeland was smooth through his routes and ran a 4.6 40 with an easy, open stride. He’s a 5-9, 165 junior receiver from Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills. He recorded a 43″ vertical. Kneeland Sr. was a standout at East Kentwood. His alma mater has a senior sleeper for 2014 in 6-1, 185 Colin Calloway. He was one of a number of prospects at EK who wasn’t a big name as a junior when the Falcons struggled in the O-K Red after a late coaching change. At the Best of the Best combine, Calloway got it done in one-on-ones, did a good job watching the ball all the way in, and tested a 4.78 40, 34″ vertical. He doesn’t have elite speed, but can do things over the middle and is a third-down conversion threat because he has decent size.
Defending those receivers, Forest Hills Northern senior Wyatt Batdorff just comes out and performs at a high level, at every event. No flukes here for the 5-11, 180 DB. He ran a 4.58 40 with a 31″ vertical. Grandville’s Danil Young, a 5-10, 168 junior, is a nationally-regarded prospect who most recently performed well at Michigan’s camp. Good technique and high-end hand/eye coordination as a cornerback prospect. He already has MAC offers, and as he gets older if there’s another level of athleticism, those opportunities could be at even larger schools.
- Keep reading the rest of the week as the Best of the Best Combine Tour continues, culminating in our All-Combine teams.