The 2014 Lake Michigan Football Report Combine was loaded with offensive linemen. While this year’s group didn’t have as much name recognition — yet — it may have been just as talented. The breakout performer was 6-5, 255 sophomore Michael VanHoeven from Paw Paw. The baby-faced big kid was an all-league guard as a 10th-grader and it was easy to see why. VanHoeven consistently had the loudest hits in one-on-ones. He played through the whistle and finished his blocks; got good leverage, when he remembered to plant. While he may not have the speed to be a tackle, VanHoeven still tested overall as one of the best big guys in attendance including the quickest pro shuttle. Making him that much more attractive to college programs will be his 4.0 gpa.
Another 2016 prospect, 6-1, 280 Karson Murley from state power Lowell, got a wake-up call with the first hit of the day, got angry, and was dialed in the rest of the way. He consistently won the battle for pad level. Good kickout in pass block and was able to maneuver his man wide.
The best-known O-line prospect coming in was Bryce Wilker, a 6-5, 285 junior from Belding. He is their left tackle, but projects as a blue-collar interior at the next level. Very good run blocker, violent hands, improving in space. Looked good running at his size with a 5.3 40. Improved strength and flexibility will only help his already solid stock.
Reed City’s 6-3, 260 junior TJ Patterson provided the push for one of the Lake Area’s most potent running games last fall. He was really quick out of his stance to deliver hits. Another impressive junior was 6-0, 280 Caleb Brinks from Hudsonville Unity Christian. Barrel-chested kid moved well with a 5.16 40. Could see him going either way, reminds of East Jordan senior Ben Walton, who signed with Northwood.
Zeeland West’s 6-4, 225 junior Trevor Raby was one of our favorite 2015 tackles from the fall. He worked out with the tight ends, the position he’ll play this season replacing Jordan VanDort. Defending Divisoin 4 state champion West also must replace stalwart center AJ Tinholt, and 6-2, 275 sohomore Colton Overway looks like an option there though he’ll have to improve his quickness, while junior James Driesenga steps in at tackle. He’s small at 5-10, 202, but showed strong technique and was able to lock up and redirect larger D linemen.
One of the younger offensive linemen and one to watch was 6-3, 215 2017 prospect Mason Shirrell, who started as a freshman for Muskegon Orchard View.