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.