Lake Michigan Prospect Watch: Week 1

Class of 2014
Malik King  6-4  280  Sr  OL  Muskegon  Ball State
The only starter back on the offensive line for Division 2 state runner-up Big Reds, it was easy to pick out the future Ball Stater. Looks to have pulled off that trick you hope for — looks bigger, but faster. In a scrimmage, man-handled West Ottawa’s front and got into the next level to swallow the linebackers.

Jared McNitt  6-0  200  Sr  LB  West Ottawa
At WO’s scrimmage, McNitt shared taking snaps with younger brother Caleb. He’s also a standout linebacker, his college destination. Rangy and athletic, Jared is the ideal complement to the Panthers’ leading tackler, junior Mason Dekker the wider, run-plugging middle linebacker. He’s smooth and alert in pursuit, with quick break to be a return threat in pass coverage. Caleb McNitt is a junior and last year’s JV quarterback, is taller and also plays tight end.

Nick Padla  6-5  270  Sr  OL  Berrien Springs
No one would have offered this bet, that going into the first week of the season two of the state’s top three available seniors were from Berrien Springs. Both have BCS offers, Padla and 6-6, 230 Jhonathan Williams. Padla may be playing well enough to get a consensus from the MSU staff for an offer. His versatility helps with depth. What you love about Padla, there’s nothing pretty about his game. He’s not a prima donna athlete being featured at tackle. He’s a pulling guard. Big and athletic enough to be recruited as a tackle. Padla goes both ways and moves well pursuing and finishing as a tackler.

Forest Hills Central's Zach Walker last season against Grand Rapids Christian.

Forest Hills Central’s Zach Walker last season against Grand Rapids Christian. He’s one of the top senior backs in the Lake Michigan Area.

Zach Walker  6-1  197  Sr  ATH  Forest Hills Central
FHC may not have the overall firepower to beat the upper-half of the O-K White. That’s no reflection on Walker’s talent. He impressed as a receiver at Michigan’s camp, but is being recruited primarily as a running back. Single back, 4.5 threat out of coach Tim Rogers’ potent spread offense. Can switch angles with minimal waste of moment and keeps his feet moving. Walker had 1,080 all-purpose yards, 14 TDs and three interceptions his junior year. Defensive playmaker who thrives in zone coverage. Not a big hitter but doesn’t get beat or broken either. Walker has an offer from Buffalo, which has already taken a commitment from another Lake Area player, TCSF lineman Jake Khoury.

Class of 2015
Blake Bockheim  6-4  220  Jr  TE  Grand Rapids Northview
Do-it-all returning starter at tight end. The type of talent you might expect to find at Rockford not Northview. Won’t maul anyone, but as a blocker can consistently beat his man’s pad level and gets big enough pieces to help the running game. Looks natural as a receiver. Adjusts well to ball, can lay out or catch it in stride and take it to the house. Still looks thin, if he can still move like that at 240 is Big Ten caliber.

Tommy Brown  6-2  265  Jr  DL  Grand Rapids Northview
Looks all the part of a defensive tackle, but with Northview low on numbers he’s one of a number of guys going both ways. Quickly improving at offensive right tackle. Low build makes him ideal interior line prospect. Commands attention inside and another standout Northview junior linebacker Zach Skrobot can clean  up.

Nathan Daily  6-1  260  Jr  OL  West Ottawa
Daily’s part of a newly built WO offensive line. He starts at left tackle. Can get caught lunging. Raw but wide shoulders, base to get stronger and end up as a guard in college.

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