1. Jon Wassink 6-2 190 Sr Grand Rapids South Christian Western Michigan
In a brutal 2013 in Kalamazoo, Western Michigan’s quarterbacks were as problematic as everything else, with 12 TDs to 18 interceptions. Clearly QB was a position of need, and the Broncos brought in Sturgis’ Chance Stewart this fall, and next season will add another talented signal caller in Wassink. He can throw, he can run, and best of all, he wins. He’s led South Christian to consecutive Division 4 state finals. As a junior he threw for 2,178 yards and 16 TDs and rushed for 696 yards and 16 more TDs.
2. Tyree Jackson 6-4 190 Sr Muskegon Mona Shores Buffalo
It’s no coincidence that Jackson’s quarterback tenure — he’s a fourth-year starter — coincided with unprecedented success for Mona Shores, including the schools’ first-ever playoff appearance in 2013. He’s matured physically and can now make all the throws. Jackson’s 31 passing touchdowns were the sixth-best single-season total in Lake Area history.
3. Adam Trautman 6-5 210 Sr Elk Rapids
Apparently they do do it bigger and better in Texas, as this Lone Star State native looks the part more than any other QB is the Lake Michigan Area. Tall, strong and lanky, he gives the look of an old school pocket gunner but with enough wiggle he can leave the pocket to make plays as well. He runs a 4.7 40 with that big frame. As a junior Trautman had the most prolific passing season in Elk Rapids history, throwing for 1,421 yards and 17 TDs while also running for seven scores. Good grades make him that much more recruit-able.
4. Andrew Duckett 6-1 185 Sr Niles Brandywine
Easily the fastest member of this quarterback group, as Duckett runs a 4.4 40. More evidence of those wheels? Duckett was state champion in the 300-meter hurdles, and all-state in the 110. He’s not just running around out there though. This lefty can throw it too, handles the ball well in play action, is strong enough to throw against his body and keys the offense of one of the Lake Area’s most talented small school teams.
5. Travis Russell 6-2 190 Sr Grand Rapids West Catholic
Russell is a game manager who when he doesn’t have to overextend himself, he’s more efficient and West Catholic wins. And wins big, he’s the only QB on this list to have won a state championship game. Russell had his best dual-threat game in the Division 5 final against Menominee, throwing for 176 yards and two TDs and running for 106 yards and a TD. 2013 was the second straight season Russell has thrown for over 2,400 yards, and added 21 TDs while running for 610 yards and 10 scores.
6. Brandon Childress 6-3 180 Sr Baldwin
With multiple D1 offers in basketball, Childress is one of the state’s top three-sport athletes (he also plays baseball) and a problem on the football field for small school competition. As a junior he both passed and rushed for over 1,000 yards apiece.
7. Kyle Friberg 6-2 175 Sr East Kentwood
East Kentwood has yet another new coach. Luckily for the Falcons Friberg is sharp enough to help ease the transition. He has a good arm and 4.7 speed and what you like about him, he just turn over the ball. Friberg had just one pick in 2013 while throwing for 1,745 yards and 13 TDs. He plays behind a strong line and has some talented weapons at his disposal. He would be that much more dangerous if EK can run the ball better than they have recently.
8. Mason Opple 6-3 207 Sr Hudsonville
If you’re looking at mechanics, aesthetics, somone who will look good throwing in a combine setting, Opple may not be your guy. Put on the pads, need someone to lead a fourth quarter drive, and he is your guy. Tebow-type playmaker as a big, physical runner with 4.6 speed. Opple starred on Hudsonville’s 2013 postseason run to the Division 2 semifinals. On the season he threw for 16 TDs and ran for 13.
9. Jay Doll 6-0 190 Sr Paw Paw
A dangerous spread quarterback. His junior numbers — 1,800 yards, 20 TDs — are impressive enough, and more so as they came in just seven games before he broke his collarbone. He can run the ball too because Doll is both quick and fast. After Duckett the fastest player on this list, running a 4.5 40.
10. Keagan James 6-2 210 Sr Central Montcalm
Not quite Jalen Brooks running the ball, but James is deceptive with great vision and on on track for his third 1,000-yard rushing seaon. He’s smart and well-versed in CM’s no-huddle offense with a good not great run who can place it and has touch on timing routes. In 2013 James threw for 704 yards and six TDs while running for 1,147 and 12 TDs.