QB Jon Wassink 6-2 180 Jr Grand Rapids South Christian
Other than Ithaca or Cass Tech, if you want a 2012 state champion with the best chance of repeating in 2013 South Christian is a strong choice. The Sailors dominated Country Day in last year’s Division 4 final 40-7 without Wassink. He’s back from a shoulder injury that ended in the state semifinals a season in which he threw for 2,800 yards and 22 TDs and ran for 800 and nine TDs. Playing with a big, experienced line, expect more numbers, and more wins.
RB Spencer Viening 6-2 220 Sr Zeeland East
He’s eying a third 1,000-yard rushing season. Viening helped the Chix close out an undefeated regular season in 2012 with big plays on both sides of the ball, the best player on the field in an OT Classic with Muskegon. He ran for 1,300 yards and 20 TDs while sharing the 2012 backfield with another 1,000-yard rusher Josh Blauwkamp.
RB Marcus Lambert 5-11 195 Sr Zeeland West
The Dux graduated speedy run-catch threat Jon Pung and one of the Lake Area’s most versatile backs Braden Werley. And their rushing game will still dominate and make them a state championship threat with Lambert and Danny Bauder at running back and Jordon Lambert at QB, who is coming back from a knee injury. A holdover from the 2011 state championship team, Marcus Lambert ran for 1,600 yards in 2012.
OL Tommy Doles 6-5 260 Sr Grand Rapids Christian Northwestern
Northwestern’s 2014 recruiting class is already being hailed in some circles as the school’s best in the “ranking era.” Doles’ commitment provides for a healthy dose of that optimism. He’ll fit in well there, playing an uptempo offense like defending D3 state champion GR Christian, and the Wildcats favor fluid, athletic linemen like Doles.
OL Connor Hayes 6-4 280 Sr Traverse City West Pitt
Coaches coast to coast know to look to TC West for offensive linemen. Hayes is headed to the ACC, while Oregon’s Jake Fisher is a rising star in the Pac 10. Two 2015 West linemen, Thiyo Lukusa and Tommy Roush, will have legit options themselves over the next three seasons (Lukusa already has an offer from MSU). They’d do well to adopt some of Hayes’ nastiness, as he separates himself at workout events with his toughness and chin-first resiliency.
OL Malik King 6-4 270 Sr Muskegon Ball State
The lone returning starter from the state’s dominant line in 2012. But if you had one guy to build around, could do much worse than King, who embodies the Big Reds aggressive ground game. And he’s a competitor, on record saying he wants to end his high school career ranked ahead of Connor Hayes as the state’s top guard in 2014.
OL Elliot Jordan 6-6 250 Sr East Kentwood Western Michigan
He could really thrive from there now being a solid coaching situation at EK. As he proved on the off-season circuit, Jordan is a sponge to the coaching and has the long, athletic body they’re looking for at tackle. That combination makes him one of the Lake Area’s fastest rising recruit and member of PJ Fleck’s first true recruiting class to WMU. Jordan plays with another top line recruit on the Falcons, versatile junior John Kenoy.
OL Alec Stevens 6-5 265 Sr West Branch Ogemaw Heights
There was a coaching changeover at Ogemaw but a return playoff trip isn’t out of the question. Because linemen rule the day in the Big North, and Stevens is as talented as any of them. Projects as an athletic guard with natural tools and explosion off the ball.
TE Jordan VanDort 6-6 280 Sr Zeeland West Western Michigan
Dating back to when he was a sophomore on Zeeland West’s 2011 D4 state championship team, VanDort has shown the gift for making big plays when needed. Not just as a pass-catcher, but defensively and special teams as well. Projects to the offensive line for WMU, right now just a big, nimble kid who can dominate at the high school level.
WR Drake Harris 6-4 180 Sr Grand Rapids Christian Michigan
His 2012 state championship performance was as good as any Michigan prep athlete’s in a quarter century. Encore? With D1 prospect Tyler Sigler answering the questions at quarterback, Harris could continue to obliterate the state record books and the Eagles repeat as Division 3 state champions.
WR Kyle Steigenga 6-5 180 Sr Holland Christian
Steigenga’s receiving number actually compared well to Harris’, another basketball star turned football player who makes big plays in the air. It remains to be seen if Steigenga can match his 2012 totals of without Ross Schreur chucking it up there.
QB Jalen Brooks 6-3 185 Sr Cadillac
RB Jake Bush 5-10 175 Sr Comstock Park
RB Dominic Paiz 5-8 175 Sr Grand Rapids Christian
OL Hunter Lassiter 6-4 255 Sr Portage Central Central Michigan
OL Austin Labus 6-6 300 Sr Portage Northern Bowling Green
OL Troy Gotch 6-2 200 Sr East Grand Rapids
OL Evan Akins 6-6 285 Sr Hudsonville Navy
OL Casey Elzinga 6-2 220 Jr Grand Rapids South Christian
TE Anthony Duran 6-3 220 Sr Petoskey
WR Asantay Brown 6-1 175 Sr Muskegon Mona Shores Western Michigan
WR Nick Marosi 6-2 195 Jr Grand Rapids Catholic Central