From Cincinnati to Cheboygan, and those we meet along the way

The Lake Michigan Football Report’s first birthday isn’t until next month, enough time for one more new adventure before Season 2 kicks off. Season 1 had us covering Lake Area prospects all the way down to Cincinnati, where Grand Rapids Christian played Cincinnati Moeller. This week’s Best of the Best Combine Tour will include a trip North on 75 to Cheboygan for Tuesday’s workout. The first of five stops is 5 pm Monday at Grand Rapids Christian. Our last two Grand Rapids events were loaded with scholarship talent and this one should be no different.

When you pull back the curtain, Northern Michigan is ripe with talent even beyond the regular Traverse City crop. Who will be the next David Walker (Harbor Springs/WMU), a small-town kid to get it done under the gun and parlay it into a college career? What better place to go for true North football than the Tip of the Mitt, home of Jack Coon’s long-time successful program at Cheboygan.

The next stops are Big Rapids Wednesday, small-school superpower Ithaca Friday and finally Monday, July 15 at Stevensville-Lakeshore, a school that isn’t just a perennial playoff participant but provides the bonus of one of the best stadium locales in Michigan, perfect for a July on the Big Lake.

As new talent and targets emerge, there are a few guys going in we’re curious to see. Chief amongst them are three talented QB/DB tweeners who we’ve liked in the past not just in camp settings but live games. In 2012, Lake City’s Drew Marion (6-1, 195) threw or ran for over 3,500 yards and nearly 60 TDs. He was the coaches’ consensus top then-junior QB at our March event in Grand Rapids. It wasn’t just as a signal caller, Marion turned in some legitimate athletic bona fides to make you think he could easily transition to safety.

Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian’s Nick Swore has similar size and athleticism at 6-2, 192. He was injured and only played defense when we saw NorthPointe against Hopkins last seasons, and he got in on a lot of plays. More recently at MSU’s 7-on-7 we liked his reads and break to the ball. Swore’s a coach’s son and it shows, in addition to the physical ability. He’ll be at Monday’s Grand Rapids combine.

Reed City Chad Samuels is helping his cause as a true QB after throwing well at the Traverse City camp in May. He moves well in the pocket, and he’d better at 6-0, 170. A dual threat in the field/books sense with a 3.9 gpa. Samuels and Marion will both be competing at Wednesday’s Big Rapids combine.

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