Darius Sanderford, a 5-10, 180 senior, was the best cover man in camp. The Ann Arbor Pioneer senior’s 4.5-second 40-yard tied him for the fastest in camp. He was physical, aggressive and cocky enough to come back to make plays if he’d been beat the time before. Sanderford had some terrific mathups with Terrill Wilburn, a 5-6, 150 St. Joseph senior who ran a 4.7 40. Tweak the grades a bit, and Sanderford will have some options. Wilfburn, who had three picks in the regular season, was one of two good St. Joe DBs at camp, along with senior Warren Clark.
Yet another of the Ottawa Hills contingent that looked sharp was Kennedy Akins, a 6-0, 175 senior.
“He has greats size,” one of the coaches said. “He’s long and he can run.”
Kyle Blough played tight end for Lowell as a 6-3, 190 senior. Like his versatility, can also split wide or play running back. Typical fundamentals you’d expect from a Red Arrow, Blough made a good target, saw ball and adjusted accordingly and caught it away from his body. Ran a 4.9 40. A similar do-it-all guy who excelled as a pass rusher in the fall but may work best at receiver is Grandville’s Josh Ham, a 6-3, 180 senior.
While he doesn’t play at a big school like Blugh and Ham, Saugatuck senior Joseph Koscielski is a big man at 6-4, 220. He was a running back and linebacker for the Indians, looks like a tight end or H back. Other tight end possibilities are Petoskey’s Anthony Duran, who went both ways for the Northmen and looks the part at 6-2, 220 with a 4.86 40, and Reed City’s 6-2, 200 Kyle Wright, who caught the ball well all day.
Alex Zimmerman was consistent and dialed in every play, going either way. He’s a 5-11, 165 receiver and defensive back. Sure-handed, he was one of the few athletes to excel at the two-ball receiving drill. Ran 4.7. Coached up and consistent.Grades, test scores help his chances. Ionia’s Colin Prominski is a big, physical receiver at 6-1, 200 with a 4.86 40.
There were a number or senior receivers who you wish were a bit faster, but are productive because of routes and hands like 6-1, 185 Colin Calloway from East Kentwood, 5-11, 175 Tyler McClanahan from Grayling, 5-9 155 Dustin Hejka from East Jordan. Same thing on the defensive side for Comstock Park’s pair of 5-11, 180 Sam “Lucky” LaRoche, an All-Lake pick from their undefeated regular season, and 5-10, 165 Jimmy Whalen. Forest Hills Eastern’s record-setting receiver Sam Harrison has similar skills to those guys, but a bit quicker with a 4.78 40 at 6-0, 180.
The camps two top senior QBs were from Northern Michigan, Grayling’s 6-0, 210 Jake Swander and Reed City’s 6-0, 165 Chad Samuels. Swander arrived and departed on crutches and in a boot, but in between put in a couple good hours of work.
“(Swander) reminds me of Mark Brunnell, a lefty. He could make all the throws,” a coach said. “I asked him to do a five-step drop, he did and just let if fly.”
Samuels is a good athlete (scored 37 points in Reed City’s hoops opener), has a winner’s pedigree off two strong Coyotes teams, and throws a nice ball. Slight frame is all that may give coaches pause.
One of the most intriguing players in camp was Lowell’s 6-1, 190 QB Kyler Shurlow. No one had fatter stats in the fall — or a higher GPA. Not a college quarterback, but someone will find a place for him, just a damn good football player, and strong for his size. Hudsonville Unity Christian’s Tyce Dykstra is another QB who may end up someplace else, a good athlete at 6-2, 175.