Class of 2014
Drake Baar 6-8 220 Sr TE Comstock Park
He’s actually a receiver, and not tight end, for Comstock Park, whose starter there is the talented two-way senior Ryan Gruszka. Baar’s that kind of athlete, the over-sized cousin to receiver/hooper all-staters from the Lake Area like GR Christian’s Drake Harris and Holland Christian’s Kyle Steigenga. And it’s actually basketball that Baar plans to play in college, having committed to Grand Valley. Nevertheless, had to write about him, he was too impressive to not think he could be a high-end football recruit had he chosen that route. He moves to the ball like a receiver, brings it in like a power forward, then drags defenders along like a tight end.
Lake Area Senior Football/Hoops Starting 5
Drake Harris 6-4 180 Sr Grand Rapids Christian Michigan (fb)
Deshaun Thrower 6-0 200 Sr Muskegon Stony Brook (bb)
Jalen Brooks 6-4 185 Sr Cadillac
Kyle Steigenga 6-5 180 Sr Holland Christian
Drake Baar 6-8 220 Sr Comstock Park Grand Valley State (bb)
Chris Hendricks 6-5 275 OL/DL Fruitport
He’s an impact two-way tackle for Fruitport, just too much physically for most of the Lakes 8. Such as the Week 5 whupping of Ludington, when the Trojans’ offense rolled up 50 points, and Hendricks leading the team with eight tackles on the other side. He already had a college frame, and has put on 10 pounds from last season. He can move, run or pass block, and is physical on D. He’s the top-ranked two-way lineman in the Lake Area after Grand Rapids Christian’s Tommy Doles and Zeeland West’s Jordan VanDort — Hendricks comes in at No. 4 amongst defensive tackles, and No. 7 amongst offensive lineman, the top remaining uncommitted in a bumper crop of big boys.
Lake Area Top Senior Offensive Linemen
1. Tommy Doles 6-5 260 Sr Grand Rapids Christian Northwestern
2. Connor Hayes 6-3 300 Sr Traverse City West Pitt
3. Jordan VanDort 6-5 300 Sr Zeeland West Western Michigan
4. Nick Padla 6-5 270 Sr Berrien Springs Michigan State
5. Elliot Jordan 6-6 260 Sr East Kentwood Western Michigan
6. Malik King 6-4 280 Sr Muskegon Ball State
7. Chris Hendricks 6-5 275 Sr Fruitport
8. Hunter Lassiter 6-4 255 Sr Portage Central Central Michigan
9. Alec Stevens 6-5 270 Sr West Branch Ogemaw Heights
10. Austin Labus 6-6 300 Sr Portage Northern Bowling Green
Sam LaRoche 6-0 190 SR DB/WR Comstock Park
This as the third time we’ve seen LaRoche in a live game, and he’s always impressed. Moves and reacts well, light on his feet so you don’t realize he’s as big as he is at cornerback. He had an interception against Traverse City West, though not as dramatic as last season’s against Allendale when he stepped in front of all-stater Nate Couturier with under a minute to play. Against West, LaRoche’s clutch play was a stop which came at the line on fourth-and-three from CP’s 35 with the Panthers up just a point late. He’s also taken on a larger offensive role, as a consistent receiving threat, which helps because Jake Bush has become mostly a runner out of the backfield. Comstock Park’s soph QB Pat Naughton has a live and talented, albeit interesting, arm, and LaRoche can make some tough grabs. Low ball? No prob.
Class of 2015
Nick Marosi 6-2 195 Jr WR Grand Rapids Catholic Central
He had his biggest game against defending state champion South Christian, with seven catches for 154 yards and two TDs — including one of 62 yards — in an OT loss to the Sailors. Marosi has good size for a junior receiver (and could add more, his brother Jon is a 6-5 basketball player at Saginaw Valley State), and utilizes his strength getting off the line, bringing in contested balls, and breaking tackles. Marosi is difficult to jam, and is productive on slants and crossing routes. He’s being recruited by the MAC as well as MSU and Indiana. College level could hinge heavily on how he runs in the spring and summer.
Jon Wassink 6-2 185 Jr QB Grand Rapids South Christian
Wassink was an underclassman star, who continues to improve and it’s still just the midpoint of his high school career. He ran in a 10-yard option TD for South Christian’s OT win over Catholic Central, concluding a comeback win for the Sailors which saw Wassink complete 24-of-27 attempts for 312 yards and one TD and running for 82 yards and two TDs. Two South Christian receivers topped 100 yards against the Cougars. He’s a rare young QB who is both and efficient passer and runner. Wassink uses his athleticism as an asset and weapon, not a bailout or crutch — runs on running plays, uses his feet to keep alive passing plays. Trusts his arm enough to put it into some crowded fits, without being capricious with the ball. Makes sense Northwestern is recruiting him. Should be in the discussion as the state’s top soph QB with Brother Rice’s Alex Malzone and Cass Tech’s Jayru Campbell.
Class of 2016
Traverse City West
This was an impressive group of sophs, playing on the road against an undefeated Comstock Park team. CP is a dangerous offensive team built around senior running back Jake Bush. Big play met big school D and though West lost, they held the Panthers to under 200 yards of offense. 6-1, 192 TC West soph linebacker Jacob Benker and 6-0, 179 soph safety Keegan Kenny did well closing off holes, while 6-0, 192 soph linebacker Grant Ellison had two sacks of fellow 10th-grader Pat Naughton. There’s terrific size in the titans’ 2016 class as well. 6-5, 300 lineman Thiyo Lukusa was out injured, and 6-4, 260 Jake Cerny played hurt. That left 6-3, 270 soph Tommy Roush, playing right guard in the stead of injured Pitt commitment 6-3, 300 senior Connor Hayes. That’s a good look for Roush’s versatility and future, as he’s compact, powerful, and runs hard.