Best of the Best Part 2: True North, true talent

#LMFR Tour Stop No. 2: Cheboygan

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.

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