Monthly Archives: September, 2014

Third-Annual Senior Exposure Camp This Sunday in Grand Rapids

lmfr recruiting

Participants at the LMFR Senior Exposure Camp meet college coaches one-on-one after showcasing their skills on the field.

For the third straight year, high school seniors with the desire to play college football will have a chance to showcase their skills in front of college coaches, media, and scouts on 12:30 pm Sunday, December 7. The LMFR’s Senior Exposure Camp — held at Woodland Sportsplex in Grand Rapids — gives players one more opportunity to square off against top talent in combine testing, position drills, and one-on-ones before National Signing Day on February 4th, 2015. Click the picture for more information or to register.

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Lake Michigan Prospect Watch: Week 5

Class of 2015
Rhys Adle 6-3 215 Sr LB Traverse City Central
TC Central had a rude awakening to downstate football against perennial state power Detroit Catholic Central, but remains the favorite on the more comfortable ground of the Big North. One of the reasons is Adle, a gifted edge rusher. He starts both ways for TC Central as a tight end, but moves well enough that sometimes he’ll line up split wide. The key will be for Adle to retain that 4.7 speed as he adds requisite weight.

Thompson McWatters 6-4 250 Sr OL/DL Grand Haven
Grand Haven’s most highly regarded recruit is at right tackle, 6-4, 280 senior Chase VanHoef. But the Bucs have an intriguing prospect starting opposite him at left tackle as well. McWatters doesn’t have VanHoef’s sheer mass and power, but shows good technique as both a run and pass blocker. Does he have the athleticism and foot speed to play in space against bigger, faster college linemen, or will it call for a move to the interior or even defense?

Class of 2016
Tyler Bradfield 6-1 185 Jr  ATH Rockford
In the first half of last Friday’s win at Hudsonville, Rockford’s offense resembled the anemic 2013 version. But the Rams were saved by their defense and the big-play special teams punch of Bradfield. A 30-yard interception return by Spencer Andrus was Rockford’s first TD, and their second was set up by a 50-yard punt return by Bradfield. He also picked off Hudsonville QB Mason Opple at the end of the first half. The week before, he ran for the winning touchdown against Mona Shores; ran for a TD, returned a kickoff 70 yards and led the team in tackles against Holt; and had a pick and returned a fumble 37 yards in the opener with Utica Eisenhower. Bradfield was already an impact speed weapon as a sophomore, when he was an honorable mention All-OK Red safety. Now he’s bigger, a top 10 overall Lake Area prospect in 2016 who will beat you as a kick returner, running between tackles or hunting down passes in the defensive backfield. Rockford has also lined up Bradfield at QB and gotten the ball to him on a fake punt. He’s dangerous as he can both cut back and break away. He’s a real football player, too, and makes hits at the line as Rockford’s second-leading tackler of the season.

Juanye Johnson 6-4 275 Jr OL Muskegon
Johnson is yet another high-end O Line propsect in the Lake Area for 2016 .A flexible, mobile and tough run plow for the Big Reds at right tackle. He has quick hands and typically beats the opposing lineman to the punch. A strongside momentum-maker who will roll right into the second level and play through the whistle. Johnson needs to work on his vertical quickness, and footwork in pass protect.

2017
Jonathan Berghorst 6-3 230 So DL Zeeland East
He’s been getting Big Ten interest since being called up to play varsity as a freshman in 2013, then performing well at school’s cams and Sound Mind Sound Body. A former linebacker who many are looking at as a De end, Berghorst had the strong legs, now as a sophomore he’s filled out all over. He runs a sub-5 second 40 and that straight-line speed is evident in his pass rush. Michigan is considered the early leader for Berhorst, a quarter-century after Jay Riemersma left the Chix for Ann Arbor a quarterback, and returned an NFL tight end.

Steven Spenner 6-3 205 So LB Berrien Springs
Berrien Springs, of all places, had two big-time recruits last year, with Jhonathan Williams going to Notre Dame and Nick Padla to MSU. There could be another making his way through for the Shamrocks in Spenner, who was an was honorable mention All-Wolverine linebacker as just a freshman. He’s a two-way starter, also a tight end, who thrives as a middle linebacker. Between making the right reads and his smooth approach, Spenner is too quick for linemen and has a knack for getting cleanly to ball-carriers. He’s a high tackler and with his big frame keeps the backs from falling forward, but will have to work on pad level and power to finish as the talent, speed and strength of the opposition increases. He plays like a classic run-stopping middle linebacker, Spenner needs to be able to show sideline-to-sideline speed and the pass cover ability needed for the position in the modern game, and could end up as an OLB. Certainly one to remember as he fills out over the next two-and-a-half seasons, and keep an eye on Berrien Springs’ other sophomore linebacker 6-3, 225 Phillip Paea.

David Thompson 5-8 175 So WR Ravenna
Like Berghorst and Spenner, Thompson was a freshman phenom on varsity who has matured and is even better as a sophomore. He already has over 1,000 career receiving yards for the Bulldogs, still undefeated in 2014. What you like best about Thompson is he’s not just some speed guy, but someone who will make grabs across the middle and break tackles after the catch. Thompson had a rushing TD last week in Ravenna’s blowout of Hart. He has the athleticism and toughness to play running back, defensive back or linebacker as his career progresses.

Lake Area Prospect Watch: Week 4

Class of 2015
Ethan Campbell 5-9 185 Sr RB/DB Traverse City Central
The best running back in the Big North, and it’s not really close. Teams plan for him and stack the line, but Campbell continues to produce. His 61-yard TD run down the left sideline gave Traverse City Central it’s first and go-ahead score in their rivalry win over TC West. He added a 10-yard TD in the second half and finished with 121 yards on 10 carries. Campbell identifies and explodes through the hole and can make it happen in the open field with 4.5 speed. He’s also a dangerous kick returner and had an interception against West.

Tony Curry 6-6 320 Sr OL Muskegon Oakridge
One of the largest players in the Lake Area, he absolutely dwarfs his Oakridge teammates on the line and there just aren’t many, if any, like him at the Division 5 level in Michigan. Curry is on track to be a two-time all-leaguer in the West Michigan Conference, where he also starts at D tackle. While his mass would be reapportioned in college, Curry doesn’t carry a lot of bad weight and runs a 5.6 as a pulling guard. He’s not a bad athlete, as a pretty good basketball player in the winter. Where he needs to improve is in space, whether to try and use his size and wingspan to get a look as a college tackle, or getting out to the next level to hunt linebackers. He doesn’t have that kind of range yet.

Johnny Nutter 6-2 180 Sr WR/DB Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central
One of the most stunning results of Week 3 came in O-K White opener as Forest Hills Central got its first win 31-19 over Caledonia. Nutter had 15- and 16-yard TD catches. He’s a very good athlete — a former quarterback who is also a basketball standout, now producing at receiver while playing both ways as a physical starting cornerback. He was formerly a safety and would be his likely college spot of not as a receiver. He has good hands, good feel, football toughness and a nose for the goal line and down marker. Nutter and junior Dylan Otosiki give senior QB Brett Miller perhaps the best pair of receivers in the O-K White — no small compliment given the talent in that league.

Daniel Shanley 6-2 235 Sr LB Grandville
Grandville is one of the Lake Area’s surprise teams at 2-1, the lone loss a strong showing against Muskegon. Shanley is part of a solid senior class that has helped ease the transition of new Bulldogs coach Eric Stiegel. Shanley is a run-stopping linebacker who gets a good jump and uses his strength to navigate lineman and has a keen sense for the ball in traffic. He won’t wow you but has a nose for the backfield and will consistently pile up tackles. Tends to shuffle more than let loose and just run which, while it’s a safeguard against over-committing, can limit Shanley’s finishing power. At the college level, will need to get quicker as he won’t be able to out-muscle the offense.

Will Stecker 6-4 270 Sr OL Gaylord
Gaylord has already won as many games this year, all three, as it did in the previous four seasons. But only one of those four, 2013, came with coach Will Cleaver on the sideline. While it remains to be seen if the Blue Devils will return to the golden days of Cleaver’s first tenure at the beginning of the century, they’re playing with a toughness and confidence that could make them a playoff threat out of the Big North. Traverse City West isn’t the only team in the league with two big, talent linemen, as Gaylord has a couple productive ones in Stecker and 6-3, 300 junior Kyle Augustine. Stecker is Gaylord’s left tackle, where you like his size and strength that would be even more useful with improved flexibility and pad level. In pass pass protect he uses his hands well to redirect edge rushers, and is able to block down against a four technique in the run game. Likely guard at the next level.

Seth Tice 6-3 270 Sr OL/DL Traverse City Central
Traverse City West may have the sexy tackle prospects. Tice toils on the interior but with a toughness and intent that was needed last Friday at a rainy Thirbly Field, and which embodies the approach of a Trojans team that is 3-0 heading into this week’s matchup with Detroit Catholic Central. Tice is physical, mean, and made an impact on the line going either direction, a space-eater on defense and run-puncher on offense. Much better run than pass blocker at this juncture.

Class of 2016
Daymion Archuleta 5-9 180 Jr RB  South Haven
The combination of the return of Archuleta from a two-game suspension and a size and experience advantage on Sturgis up front, were enough to give South Haven its first win of the season. Archuleta made up for lost time, carrying the ball 38 times for 308 yards. It will be interesting to see how he goes from here — if he can stay on the field, and against better competition.

Jake Cerny 6-5 272 Jr OL Traverse City West
He starts at right tackle as a counterbalance to his more renown junior teammate, left tackle Thiyo Lukusa. Cerny also spent some time at left guard when the Titans went big against TC Central with 6-7, 255 senior Cody Gravette at right tackle. Cerny impressed at our Traverse City camp in May and continues to improve, having added CMU and WMU offers since then. He has the frame of a tackle, good lateral movement and balance. Don’t be surprised if he were to eventually follow the path of TC West linemen Jake Fisher, Connor Hayes and Lukusa to a BCS school.

Thiyo Lukusa 6-5 302 Jr OL Traverse City West
He’s the Lake Area’s No. 1 ranked and most widely recruited 2016 prospect, who today, Tuesday, said on Twitter he will make his college announcement on December 1. As of now, he’s TC West’s starting left tackle. It’s easy to see why Lukusa is so highly regarded in the recruiting world, as his 3 bills moved well both straight ahead and side-to-side. He gets lots of work in pass protect as he continues to work on technique. For the attention he’s received, one may forget that this is still a very young football player who was hurt most of his sophomore seasons and for whom until recently basketball was his first sport. The nastier he gets on the field, the closer Lukusa will come to realizing his potential. He could be headed for guard, as he’s not as long and fast as a real high-end tackle prospect.

Lake Michigan Prospect Watch: Week 3

Class of 2015
Dan Harazin 6-2 210 Sr OL Stevensville Lakeshore
First-year Lakeshore head coach Bryan Keim has some solid seniors to transition from the tenure of legendary Denny Dock. They improved to 2-0 with a win Saturday at Kalamazoo Loy-Norrix. Amongst those seniors is Harazin, who is an ideal high school center. His fundamentals are strong, with good initial quickness, violent hands and is fast into the second level to put down linebackers. We liked his enthusiasm and leadership as Lakeshore’s running game picked up momentum. If he’s not able to put on enough weight to anchor the line at the college level, Harazin’s 4.7 speed and football IQ will find him a spot somewhere on the field.

Nick Marosi 6-2 195 Sr WR Grand Rapids Catholic Central
He’s seen a lot of football, as a rare four-year starter who now doesn’t just go both ways for Catholic Central, but all over the field including special teams. That versatility contributed to Marosi’s over 200 yards from scrimmage and a TD in the Cougars’ opening loss to EGR. Saturday against Indiana state champion Gary Andrean, it was tougher going. Marosi’s best and likely college position is receiver, but lines up most often in the backfield so as to ensure more touches. If not, he’ll start split wide or in the slot. Defensively Marosi starts at cornerback. It’s not hard to project him physically to linebacker, but would have to greatly improve his tackling.

Mason Opple 6-3 207 Sr QB Hudsonville
The Big North’s a pretty good conference. But it’s the talent equivalent of the O-K Blue, and last Friday Traverse City West found itself once again overwhelmed by an O-K Red opponent when Hudsonville headed North and beat the Trojans 48-17. Opple was the best athlete on the field, with his rugged body and 4.6 speed running 13 times for 181 yards and three TDs. He also went 8-of-14 passing for 153 yards and a TD. Athleticism is a given for Opple, who starts for statewide top 10 teams in both football and basketball and whose best sport may be baseball. If he were to focus just on football there’s a lot of upside, whether red-shirting for a crash course in quarterbacking or moving him to another position.

Derek Smith 6-4 250 Sr OL/DL Grand Rapids Kenowa Hills
Terrific looking prospect who was injured his junior season and is just coming into his own. With a lean 250 on an athletic frame, jersey No. 55 and a neck roll, Smith looks like a linebacker. That fitness reaped its reward with consistent production in Kenowa Hills’ win over Greenville at both left tackle and left defense end. Kenowa’s biggest offensive plays for senior running back Andrew Wawrzyniak came behind Smith and 6-2, 280 junior Jake Boonstra on the left side of the line, Smith able to run right with him 20 yards downfield. Kenowa is strong on both sides of the line, which includes 6-3, 240 junior two-way tackle Brenden Bott and 6-2, 310 senior Malik Swain a double-team magnet at defensive tackle. But Smith is a cut above, and it’s hard not to get excited about a kid who seems right out of the mold of the under-recruited athletes that have gone to CMU and, in some cases, gone on to become wealthy NFL tackles. Right now he’s a top five Lake Area senior, not a bad starting point.

Lake Area’s 2015 Top 25 Recruits
1. Wesley French 6-5 295 DL/OL St. Joseph
2. John Keenoy 6-3 285 Sr  OL East Kentwood Western Michigan
3. Tyree Jackson 6-4 190 Sr QB Muskegon Mona Shores Buffalo
4. Derek Smith 6-4 250 QB OL/DL Grand Rapids Kenowa Hills Central Michigan
5. Jon Wassink 6-3 190 Sr QB Grand Rapids South Christian Western Michigan
6. Carter Masek 6-3 235 Sr LB East Grand Rapids Miami-OH
7. Sam Beal 6-2 175 Sr WR Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills Western Michigan
8. Brandon Childress 6-3 185 Sr QB Baldwin
9. Bryce Witham 6-4 240 Sr DL/TE Grand Rapids West Catholic
10. Matt Seybert 6-4 230 Sr DL/TE Traverse City St. Francis Buffalo
11. Gabe Andree 6-0 185 Sr DB Grand Rapids Christian Toledo
12. Qiantae Ewing 6-3 235 Sr LB Grand Rapids Christian
13. Mason Banbury 6-4 225 Sr TE East Grand Rapids
14. Steve Eipper 6-4 270 Sr OL Greenville Central Michigan
15. Adam Trautman 6-5 210 Sr QB Elk Rapids
16. Jacob Geter  5-8  180  RB  Plainwell  Davenport
17. Deontay Moffett 5-9 210 Sr RB Muskegon Mona Shores
18. Andrew Duckett 6-1 185 Sr QB Niles Brandywine
19. Travis Russell 6-2 185 Sr QB Grand Rapids West Catholic
20. Bryce Wilker 6-6 280 Sr OL Belding
21. Mason Opple 6-3 207 Sr QB Hudsonville
22. Jarrad Whited 6-2 225 Sr DL Vicksburg
23. Trevor Raby 6-4 240 Sr OL/DL Zeeland West
24. Eddie Kelly 6-1 215 Sr RB/LB Caledonia
25. Alezay Coleman 5-9 175 Sr DB Muskegon

Grant Tennehill 5-10 210 Sr LB Grand Rapids Catholic Central
Gary Andrean had Notre Dame linebacker recruit in Josh Barajas and a big-play back Trevor Berg. But the most “wow” plays in Andrean’s shutout win under a bearing late summer sun at Houseman Field, came from Tennhill. The Catholic Central outside linebacker got to Andrean’s QB three times in the first half alone. And all were whallops. He also had a sack in CC’s season opening loss at EGR. Tennehill has a terrific motor — he’s a wrestler — and can either out-quick or out-last bigger blockers and recover with power finishes.

Class of 2016
Jake Martin 5-11 175 Jr DB/QB Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern
We loved the poise Martin showed last season as a sophomore safety on Northern’s O-K Bronze championship team, when we saw the Huskies in the playoffs at Grand Rapids Christian. His athleticism and leadership have been further mined this season as he’s also the quarterback for first-year head coach . He threw for a TD and ran for over 100 yards in FHN’s opening win against Kenowa Hills while sharing snaps with Spencer Peterson, then threw for two TDs and ran for another against Byron Center as Northern improved to 2-0. What really stands out his just how he competes.

Class of 2017
Kalamazoo Loy-Norrix Linemen
Loy-Norrix started three sophomores in their Saturday afternoon home loss to Lakeshore, 6-3, 225 right tackle Joe Hruska, 6-1, 240 left tackle Jeudevine McClain and 6-1, 220 one technique Nick Reed.

Keegan Cossou 6-5 200 So TE/LB Greenville
Greenville has a strong group of linebackers with 6-2, 210 senior Chase Harrington, senior Kolton Dunham and Cossou. Cossou is a member of another talented group, and that is the Lake Area’s pass-rushing prospects in sophomore class. The Lake Area’s sophomore class has a Big Three of potential BCS ends with St. Joseph’s Corey Malone-Hatcher, Zeeland East’s Jonathan Berghorst and Alledale’s Nate Umlor. Cossou doesn’t yet have the mass and/or technique of that group. But there were certainly flashes during Greenville’s loss at Kenowa Hills, moving well for his age and frame . Once he learns to like blocking, he projects as a tight end prospect as well, taking advantage of the athleticism that also has Cossou a future basketball standout.

Lake Michigan Prospect Watch: Week 2

Class of 2015
Sam Beal 6-2 175 Sr WR Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills Western Michigan
Beal doesn’t just look and move the part of a college receiver — long arms and smooth sprinter’s speed — he produced like it in Ottawa Hills’ opener, admittedly against by far the worst team we’ve seen in the now third season of the LMFR, Grand Rapids Union. Beal needs to work on his strength getting off the jams, but with his knee fully healthy once he reaches gear watch out. Against Union he made life simpler for Ottawa Hills’ sophomore QB Jeremy Glasco. Beal caught three balls from Glasco for 103 yards and two TDs, and scored twice more on an end-around and interception return. Unlike last year’s Western Michigan recruit from the Lake Area, Mona Shores’ Asantay Brown, we like Beal as a natural receiver instead of DB in the MAC.

Chris Pearl 6-4 185 Sr WR Otsego
He could be this year’s Kyle Steigenga, using his basketball hops and timing to pile up TDs. In his first high school football game, Pearl was a bright spot in a big loss to Paw Paw with four catches for 73 yards and a TD. Obviously behind from a football perspective, but Pearl has tools that will intrigue college coaches, such as his 6-8 wingspan and 30″ standing vertical.

Jon Wassink 6-3 190 Sr QB Grand Rapids South Christian Western Michigan
There was a sense on the Grand Rapids Christian side of the stands that Wassink might have had a magical comeback from a 21-0 deficit last Friday, but that never came to pass as the Eagles beat South Christian for the fourth year in a row 28-14. Despite that streak it was GR Christian playing with the edge of the underdogs, and put pressure on Wassink all night. When he ran the ball Wassink did fine, a game-high 116 yards. It was when he threw it under duress that the mechanics and decision-making suffered, including a pick. He was 14-of-27 for 179 yards passing with two TDs, one of them 51 yards to senior Ryan Veenstra who made a tough catch. When he did have time, Wassink made legit college throws able to put it through traffic to tight targets. South needs more production from the wide receivers, as senior running back Geff Plasman was the most reliable target.

Class of 2016
James Haverkamp 6-5 247 Jr OL Grand Rapids Christian
Haverkamp has some big cleats to fill. He’s GR Christian’s starting left tackle in the stead of Tommy Doles, who has matriculated to Northwestern. Doles may have been the best overall football player in the Lake Area in 2013. Haverkamp doesn’t have that kind of talent. But he has the frame and coaching to project as guys like current seniors like Greenville’s Steve Eipper and Kenowa Hills’ Derek Smith, both CMU commitments. Haverkamp is long and used his hands well, needs more consistent pad level and to develop some nasty. The Eagles’ line should continue to improve as Havercamp is one of four solid juniors along with 6-4, 265 Ben Hoerle at right guard and 5-9, 215 linebacker Kaelin Hopson at left guard and 6-1, 205 junior Osman Biango at right tackle.

Garret Lundteigen 5-9 165 Jr WR/DB Petoskey
The son of Petoskey ski coach Erik Lundteigen, and a member of that state championship team himself, Garret may have well been on skis the way his 4.5 speed blew through the Sault during the Northmen’s 53-14 win in the UP. That one opened with a 75-yard kickoff return TD from Lundteigen. He also had a 69-yard catch-and-run TD, a 56-yard TD run and made two interceptions. The Northmen’s offense should be as dangerous as ever, with Lundteigen and another 4.5 threat, senior running back Kurt Boucher, at the disposal of the Lake Area’s top junior QB Evan Whitmore.

Zach VanValkenburg 6-4 230 Jr LB Zeeland West
He’s transitioned seemingly easily from a starting D end on Zeeland West’s state championship team to their middle linebacker in the opener with Detroit Country Day. We really like how he flowed to the ball. Unlike when these teams met last year, DCD had the bigger and faster team. But not better football players, and this junior was a blanket in the middle of the field as the Dux’s D didn’t let the Yellowjackets release any game-breakers. His most startling play saw VanValkenburg, after a bad snap, run down Country Day’s QB leveling him with one arm from behind for a 17-yard, third-down loss. As three-sport athlete VanValkenburg matures at the position and is able to play freely and deliver with more finishing power, he could be the next Carter Masek out of the Lake Area.

Evan Whitmore 6-3 185 Jr QB Petoskey
His upside is huge, as he has all the physical tools and intangibles and is just getting started. This is only Whitmore’s second season playing quarterback, and his first he did it as a varsity starting sophomore. Petoskey will always make hay with their monotously prolific double-wing, but Whitmore’s talents are too evident to not take advantage of them. Look for him to expound upon his 2013 numbers of 32-57 passing for 615 yards and seven TDs. In the Northmen’s opening win at Sault Ste. Marie, he threw for four TDs. He puts up a strong ball with little strain, and places it well, and runs with 4.6 speed. Whitmore is the top 2016 QB prospect in the Lake Area.

James Wyrick 5-9 190 Jr RB Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills
He was one of the state’s most productive underclassman backs in 2013 with over 1,000 yards (albeit it nearly a quarter of those in just one game with Holland) and 11 TDs. Wyrick knows what he’s doing back there, is patient with blocking, and rarely goes down with the first hit. He fights for the first-down flat or end zone pylon. He’s shifty with good but not elite speed, so Wyrick will have to keep working on his blocking, receiving to become a complete back for the college level.

Class of 2017
Davaunte Dickens 5-10 225 RB/LB Grand Rapids Christian
He looked like an East Grand Rapids back in his varsity debut, running seven time for 41 yards and two TDs in the Eagles’ win over South Christian. He did a good job as an outlet for backup QB Patrick Hall, who came in and played with poise after starter Lukas Thompson was injured. What makes Dickens a legit prospect is how light on his feet he is for his size, which were evident on his 24-yard TD run. Dickens went both ways against South Christian, recovering a fumble, and another promising sophomore started with him on defense, cornerback Tahari Braggs.