Best of the Best Part I: New QB helps GR Christian’s chance to repeat

Lake Michigan Football Report - Grand Rapids

Players from throughout West Michigan participated in drills, combine testing, and one-on-ones at the “Best of the Best” Football Combine Tour in Grand Rapids (Photo: Latara Appleby | MLive.com)

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.
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2 responses

  1. As a big GR Christian Eagles fan the words “2013 team has the vibe that it might even be better than the 2012 version” is music to my ears. My advice to the 2013 team, COVER YOUR EARS. Potential is great for this years team, but the 2012 team was the number 1 team in the state of Michigan and in the top 50 teams in the nation! The 2012 team has 9 kids that were offered scholarships to play football at the next level. A lot of talent to replace at QB, RB, TE and in the trenches on both sides of the ball. Defense has the potential to be even better than they were last year. That said, I will not be too surprised if Coach Fellows works his magic with this team as well and certainly the goal will be another trip to Ford Field. Lot’s of work to do before then, see you soon on Friday nights.

  2. Thanks for the great combine! Very proud of Marcus Lambert for the hard work and dedication it took to recover from the acl tear. 4.7 40 is amazing nine months after surgery.

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