Nolan Meekhof was impressive at the 2013 Lake Michigan Football Report Combine as just a freshman. He returned in 2014 with a season of varsity ball on his resume and was even better. He’s a powerhouse 6-1, 217 sophomore running back from Grandville who brings to mind physically and stylistically another O-K Red back, Lake Area all-timer Jon Anes from East Kentwood. Meekhof twice ran 4.69 in the 40, had a 30″+ vertical and the top powerball toss over 40 feet.
Meekhof projects as either a running back or linebacker. So could Cadillac’s Michael Holdship or Caledonia’s Eddie Kelly. Holdship, a sophomore, was one of the top underclassman defensive players, but could also be MAC fullback with his 4.68 speed at 6-0, 210.
Kelly is a 6-0, 204 junior who plays like Portage Central senior Jacob Allan, a long-stride runner who can deliver a hit with or without the ball while showing the hands of a natural receiver. Kelly had a 4.75 40 with a 32 1/2″ vertical. Caledonia should be as tough as ever if their combine contingent is an indication. 5-11, 170 junior QB Kobe Wilson looks like the kind of athlete who could transition to other positions, 6-0, 175 junior running back Logan Soule did well as did Zane Gorby. Gorby really intrigues as a 6-3, 200 sophomore tight end. He was able to create space and give a consistent target. Right now he’s all frame, and no beef.
Other standout tight ends were Trevor Raby, a 6-4, 225 Zeeland West junior making the transition from tackle; 6-2, 225 Vicksburg junior Jarrad Whited, who was one of the event’s dominant pass rushers but also took some time to work out with the offense, showing the ability to bring in the ball in traffic; 6-3, 185 junior Cole Butler, a smart, fundamentally strong player from one of Northern Michigan’s top programs, Boyne City; and from one of the top programs regardless directoin, Lowell’s 6-4, 185 junior Josh Branagan.
With Meekhof the big back of choice, it was a Woodhead type Plainwell junior Jacob Geter who was the most dominant testing player at camp. At 5-8, 170, he ran combine-best 4.37 40 with a 32 1/1″ vertical and surprisingly also one of the event’s best power ball throws. Those physical tools were evident in the actual football portion, quick in and out of cuts and shifty he was able to repeatedly juke free of would-be defenders. Plays with a lot of confidence and swagger. Geter could be this year’s Danny Bauder. Another standout small back was Reed City’s John Green, at 5-7, 175 and coming off a standout junior season. He ran a 4.65 40.
We mentioned Jon Anes. His brother Curt of course was a star QB at EK and then Grand Valley. The Falcons now have another promising signal caller in 6-2, 175 junior Kyle Friberg. He’d be better known but for being born into the Lake Area’s epic QB class. Threw a nice deep ball and has the athleticism (4.7 speed) to make plays outside of the pocket. What really separated Friberg was how quickly he was able to develop a rapport with the receivers he’d just met. His reps had to have had the highest completion percentage of the combine QBs. Frieberg won’t lack for weapons at EK. A couple of his teammates, 5-11, 180 junior David Cutts (with a 34 1/2″ vertical) and 5-8, 150 sophomore Shane Harris, were two of the combine’s top receivers.
Another O-K Red QB impressed, 6-2, 215 West Ottawa junior Caleb McNitt, who last season was a tight end while his older brother Jared was WO’s signal caller. If not as quarterback, Caleb will still find his way onto a college roster thanks to 4.75 speed and a 37’8 power ball toss. Oh yeah, and the 4.0 gpa never hurts the cause. McNitt has a promising target in 6-4, 190 junior Braden Carl. He’s a good receiver but not a blazer, so Scott’s best bet for the next level would be to bulk up for tight end.
Before he was hurt, Paw Paw’s Jay Doll was one of the most prolific Lake Area quarterbacks in 2014. The 6-0, 190 junior showed the tools behind the number, looks and moves like an athlete. Doll threw a tight ball though the touch varied. A couple Northern Michigan QBs pass the looks test. 6-3, 175 Baldwin junior Brandon Childress has mid-major offers in both football and basketball. His arm was evident here, though he wasn’t always on the same page as his receivers. From Elk Rapids, junior Adam Trautman could project at a bunch of positions at 6-4, 205 with a 4.84 40 and 30-inch vertical.
Solid all-around running backs were 6-0, 175 Independence, Tenn. junior Dom Childress; 5-9, 175 West Ottawa junior James Lacy; and 5-10, 210 Holland junior Elroy Payne.
Fremont sent a pair of interesting prospects with college position to be determined. 5-11, 185 junior Dylan Collis ran sharp routes and did it with 4.75 speed. 6-2, 160 Fremont sophomore Logan Heddon has an easy stride, can throw or catch, needs some explosiveness that may come with age.