Here comes the other half of our theoretical college team, the top defensive players whose high school roots are in the Lake Area.
DT Damon Knox 6-5 280 Jr Michigan State (Muskegon)
His redshirt sophomore season was Knox’ first as a regular. He had 22 tackles (2 1/2 for loss) for Michigan State’s Big Ten and Rose Bowl championship team. He was a projected starter this season but is curretnly out with an injury.
DE Anthony Zettel 6-4 279 Jr Penn State (West Branch Ogemaw Heights)
He’s moving inside for new Penn State coach James Franklin, who wants Zettel up to 285. In 2013 he played every game at defensive end, including two starts. For our theortical scheme here, we’ll use him as a 5 technique. One of Z’s two starts was against U-M, and Zettel had his lone career interception. He had four sacks and six tackles for loss as a redshirt soph.
DE Justin Zimmer 6-3 255 Jr Ferris State (Greenville)
Zimmer was a high school middle linebacker at Greenville who the Bulldogs kept at home and now he’s caught the NFL’s attention as a pass-rusher. His first season starting came as a redshirt sophomore, earning Zimmer All-GLIAC honors leading Ferris with 7 1/2 sacks and 10 1/2 tackles for loss. He also returned an interception for a touchdown.
LB Desmond Morgan 6-1 232 Sr Michigan (West Ottawa)
He’s contributed since he was a true freshman and has started over 30 games for the Wolverines. As a junior Morgan had 79 tackles, including 4 1/2 for loss, and an interception. With Jake Ryan moving to middle linebacker, the big hitter out of West Ottawa will move back to the weakside.
LB Brad Horling 6-2 215 Jr Grand Valley State (Zeeland East)
He’s moving to linebacker for Grand Valley after playing his first two seasons as a Lakers strong safety. Despite a broken hand, in 2013 Horling had 55 tackles while intercepting a pass and breaking up three others.
LB Morgan Stenz 6-0 214 Sr Northern Michigan (Alpena)
A quarterback as well during his Big North days, this will be his second season starting in Marquette. As a redshirt junior, Stenz was second in tackles for NMU with 82 tackles. Stenz had two tackles for loss and a fumble recovery.
LB Trent Voss 6-3 220 Jr Toledo (East Grand Rapids)
His second season as a regular started quite well for Voss. He had 33 tackles, including 5 1/2 behind the line, before getting hurt in the Rockets’ seventh game.
DB Justin Currie 6-2 204 Sr Western Michigan (Big Rapids)
A rare Lake Area recruit for the Broncos’ previous coaching regime, the new staff is glad to have him. Had WMU won more, Currie would have been a no-contest All-MAC pick after a junior season in which he led WMU with 113 tackles (7 1/2 for loss) and interceptions with three. Currie had 98 tackles as a sophomore.
DB Major Metcalf 6-2 220 Sr Saginaw Valley State (Muskegon Catholic Central)
Linebacker-sized safety who as a redshirt junior had 56 tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and fumble recovery. Metcalf was an all-stater on Muskegon Catholic Central’s undefeated 2008 stae championship team.
DB Daniel Pittman 6-0 196 Sr Hillsdale (Grand Rapids West Catholic)
He was a star on West Catholic’s 2010 state championship team who hasn’t missed a stride, as this will be Pittman’s fourth season as a Chargers’ starting cornerback. In 2013 he led Hillsdale’s defensive backfield with 42 solo tackles and 11 pass breakups.
DB Devonte’ Jones 5-10 185 Sr Grand Valley State (St. Joseph)
He should be one of the top cornerbacks in the GLIAC. He started a dozen games as a redshirt junior, and made four interceptions. Jones also had 53 tackles and a fumble recovery.