College coaches aren’t as open-minded when recruiting skill talent from the Lake Area, so there are more highly ranked running backs still on the board for 2014 than linemen. But the next Joe the Show is just waiting to happen. West Michigan’s twoleading rushers both performed at the Senior Exposure Camp, Zeeland West’s 5-9, 185 Danny Bauder and Wayland Union’s 5-9, 190 Michael Miklusicak.
Bauder may have the best resume of any of the Lake Area’s uncommitted seniors, fresh off a state championship with Zeeland West and with a 10.6 electronic 100 meters in the spring. So speed is no concern, though he didn’t get the good start in the 40 like he did at our prior events. What he did during his senior season should alleviate concern that Bauder is just a track guy in a football costume. He’s a player, and competed hard in every rep. Will he be a running back? He caught it well enough in drills you could see Bauder as a slot receiver, or defensively on the corners as he has the build and wheels for it.
It’s not quite the dreaded friend zone, but Miklusicak may be put in the fullback zone because he’s wide, can catch, secure with the ball and ran a 4.9 40. Pass blocking remains to be seen, as that wasn’t too common given Wayland’s dominant running game. Good grades aid the cause.
Two running backs ran 4.5 40s. Thais Grays is Elk Rapids’ answer to Western Michigan’s Dareyon Chance, at 5-5, 180. Like the other running back at 4.5, Grand Rapids Northview’s 5-8, 158 Brandon Lawrence, an out-of-state juco may be the best option.
Shaquille Mobley is a good-looking athlete who came over from Belleville. He was listed as a running back but maybe more natural as a receiver. Lanky and quick at 6-0, 180, was able to high-point the ball and ran a 4.75 40.
Gull Lake’s Odell Miller was the camp’s top linebacker prospect and Byron Center’s Alexander Lake the best pass rusher. They worked out with the defensive linemen so are profiled there. There were some other good ones. 6-1, 190 senior Kody Bauswell was the leading tackler for the Hudsonville team that made a Divisoin 1 playoff run. He has a 30+ ACT and ran a 4.8 40. Middleville’s Kameryn Kidder looked good both on defense or as a tight end. Not just fast with a 4.8 40-yard dash, but was quick at 6-2, 220. A 5-11, 200 senior who ran a 4.9 40, Jahara Phillips was Ottawa Hills’ leading tackler in the fall. Coaches loved the closing speed from 5-10, 200 Evart senior Robert Young-Burge. Easy to see how he led Evart with 14 tackles a game. Ottawa Hills senior Jeffery Hudgins is 6-0, 185 and ran a 4.7 40. It’s hard to pencil him into a position just yet, but Grandville senior Josh Ham can help someone because at 6-2, 180 he plays bigger and tougher, can rush the passer or catch the ball. Otsego’s 6-1, 190 senior McLane May has some possibilities as he can both blitz and cover. He ran a 4.9 40.
A two-way linebacker-running back to remember is Marty Ward, a 5-10, 210 junior from Niles Brandywine.