Class of 2015
Mason Dekker 5-10 210 Sr LB West Ottawa
“Inspectah Deck he’s like that dude that’ll sit back and watch you play yourself and all that, right? And see you sit there and know you lyin’, and he’ll take you to court after that. Cuz he the Inspectah.” — Method Man
West Ottawa’s own Inspectah Dekk is now in his third year as the Panthers’ leading tackler, there’s no fooling him either. He makes great reads to the gaps, and other than one whiff going low was a rock at middle linebacker in West Ottawa’s win last Friday against East Kentwood, one of the biggest in school history. He’s also WO’s starting fullback and provides a receiving threats out of the backfield to help offset the loss of their top back, injured senior James Lacy. He had a first-down reception against East Kentwood. He can catch it the other way, too, with a 65-yard interception return for a TD earlier in the season.
Mike Egeler 6-4 225 Sr DL/TE Comstock Park
Egeler was a versatile role player on terrific Comstock Park teams as a sophomore and junior. As a senior it’s that versatility that continues to be his value, lining up as a six technique down lineman or sam linebacker, and is the Panthers’ tight end when they use one. He has the physical tools of a pass rusher, just would like to see more motor, like a Jacob Howe. As a tight end, Egeler used angles well to help spring Comstock Park’s runners, but needs to do a better job sustaining blocks in the passing game.
Caleb McNitt 6-2 215 Sr QB West Ottawa
He’s doing a reverse Jay Riemersma position switch. In 2013 McNitt was a tight end, his brother, senior Jared McNitt, was the QB. Now it’s Caleb under center, the position he played in JV ball. Three was nothing junior varsity about last Friday’s homecoming environment, when he led West Ottawa to an epic comeback win over then undefeated East Kentwood. McNitt plays a lot like another more heralded O-K Red QB, Mason Opple, as he’s just a football player as much or more so than a pure quarterback. He’s been nothing if not clutch, as the East Kentwood game marked the third come-from-behind. But the most recent one was special, as McNitt threw a fourth-quarter 40-yard TD pass to tie the Falcons then ran it in from five out to win it with under a minute to play. East Kentwood’s small, athletic defensive front had McNitt on the run in the first half. He had more time in the second half and defied the wind with his deliberate over-the-top motion to complete 13-of-21 throws for 276 yards and two TDs, while running for two TDs as well. He’s WO’s leading rusher on the season, hard to bring down with upper body strength and 4.7 speed. Throw in his grades, and McNitt is a versatile, low-risk recruit from one of the top leagues in the Midwest.
Maceo Vroman 5-11 160 Sr DB/WR Boyne City
He’s fast for any level, but put him at a small school Up North and there haven’t been many who can touch Vroman. The most they can do is not kick to him. He’s going to pile up scores on explosive runs around the ends. Primarily a runner but will also line up split wide and on rare occasions a blocker at tight end. He breaks away so often, tacklers often aren’t ready for Maceo when they do catch him, he’s so fast, aggressive and live-bodied he’s hard to bring down. Vroman also starts at cornerback for the Ramblers, a likely college destination at his size with his greatest value likey returning kicks.
Tristan Waters 6-2 160 Sr WR East Kentwood
While EK has re-emphasized the run game under first-year head coach Tony Kimbrough, and who can blame him with senior John Keenoy at center and senior Michael Ivy at tailback. But the Falcons can beat you through the air as well, as Kyle Frieberg, one of the Lake Area’s top quarterbacks, has a lot of weapons to work with, and a stellar line to let him do his job. Waters is the long-striding outside threat to complement the quicker Kevin Smith, also a senior. Waters had a 68-yard TD reception last Friday at West Ottawa.
Jarrad Whited 6-2 230 DL/TE Vicksburg
Whited is the kind of guy scouts like because he’s good in a combine setting — and even better with the pads on. Whited is about as tough as the come on the ends, with a lot of GLIAC interest including visits to Grand Valley State and Saginaw Valley State. Despite being circled in red on the scouting reports of every Wolverine Conference teams, Whited defies the double teams and continues to create havoc in opponents’ backfields. While an ears pinned pass rusher, Whited is also tough against the run thanks to his toughness and closing speed. Perhaps his most spectacular play of the season came when he picked off a Paw Paw pass at the line of scrimmage and returned it 30 yards for a TD. That’s one more touchdown that Whited has a tight end, where he’s an aggressive and willing blocker.
Bryce Wilker 6-5 290 OL/DL Belding
Wilker is Belding’s left tackle, but may not be lithe and quick enough to do it at the next level. While Belding was largely overmatched last Friday against Comstock Park, Wilker had to be accounted for at all times. When he did catch pad level in the run game, it was all over. He also plays defensive end for the Redskins, and while he couldn’t catch CP’s talented junior QB Pat Naughton, he was able to flush the pocket, and the Panthers had trouble running his way. The interior of the line on either side would appear to be Wilker’s best bet in college.
Class of 2016
Pat Naughton 6-2 190 Jr QB Comstock Park
A returning starter who has Comstock Park back on track in the O-K Blue, Naughton remains a strong contender for the title of the Lake Area’s top 2016 QB. Even though he has fewer weapons to work with, Naughton is more patient and judicious than he was as an underclassman. He’s poised in the pocket and makes 40-yard tosses look easy. Not that he struggled in 2013 — CP went 12-1 as the sophomore threw for over 2,000 yards and 18 TDs. Through six games this year he’s completed 48-of-92 throws for 665 yards and six TDs. Like South Christian’s Jon Wassink, Naughton is dangerous on designed runs, but is more likely to keep a play alive in the pocket than bust it open. He’s run 76 times for 589 yards and six TDs.
Jean Pierre Nkolo 6-3 200 Jr DL/LB East Kentwood
East Kentwood has a small front seven by O-K Red standards, but they balance that with speed. Nkolo is part of that rotation, an explosive passing down rusher. He’s raw but when those flashes become more consistent, he’ll be heavily recruited. Other potential college players from EK’s D line are 6-0, 220 seniors Sammie Ryans, 5-9, 200 senior Melvin Sylvester and 6-2, 225 junior Vincent Hayes.
Luke Sage 6-0 185 Jr LB/DB Boyne City
The Ramblers have no losses through six games, thanks to a defense that’s allowed no points in five of those wins. The D embodies the makeup of Dave Hills’ best teams at Boyne City, not big but pursuers and hitters. More often that not it’s middle linebacker Sage the tip of the spearhead of this shutout unit. He anticipates so well, just seems to manifest from thin air in the gaps. Sage is lanky and athletic, looks almost laissez faire until the snap, then bring the sound and the fury. His wingspan helps him bring down bigger runners. He’s also valuable running the ball, blocking and on special teams. He’s likely a strong safety at the next level. It was ironic to watch Sage play against Traverse City St. Francis, as in many way he favors former Glads all-stater Riley Bullough. Sage is Green himself, his dad Dave having played at MSU in the 1980s.