Class of 2016
Christian Boyd 6-2 270 Sr DL Muskegon Mona Shores: Defensive MVP of the LMFR’s spring combine and the top 2016 prospect in the Lake Area without an FBS offer … which is kind of hard to believe if you saw him in last season’s D2 state final. Boyd is explosive off the grass, has violent hands, second and third effort and uses that bubble butt to generate power. Consistent effort instead of flashes this season will be key. While undersized for tackle, at only 16 with the season starting, his best football is ahead of him.
Tyler Lamica 6-3 205 Sr LB Grand Rapids Christian: He closed 2014 with a flourish, 16 tackles against St. Johns in the Division 3 playoffs. As an outside linebacker Lamica had five sacks and recovered two fumbles as a junior. He’s quick and fluid, but you can expect to find more helmets on him this season as he’s GR Christian’s leading returning tackler. There need to be 15-20 more pounds between now and the first practice at whatever college campus he finds himself. Lamica and his Eagles teammates won’t lack for ample chances at quality video, their schedule is among the state’s toughest with South Christian, Muskegon, Hudsonville and Zeeland East in addition to the always rugged league slate that includes Lowell, Caledonia and East Grand Rapids.
Brent Murray 5-11 195 Sr RB/LB Petoskey: The Northmen are the favorite in the Big North and feature the league’s most talented backfield, with fullback Murray having run for 1,300 yards and 22 TDs in 2014; senior Garrett Lundteigen is a big-play threat (he had the Northmen’s only TD in their playoff loss to Muskegon); and 6-3, 210 senior QB Evan Whitmore has the athleticism and intangibles to play somewhere in college even if not under center. Murray tested as the strongest player at the LMFR’s combine last March in Grand Rapids, and then caught the ball well at the LMFR’s Traverse City camp in May.
Spencer Peterson 6-5 225 Sr QB Grand Rapids NorthPointe: The last time we saw Peterson in pads it was in 2013 for Forest Hills Northern in a one-point Division 3 district final loss to Grand Rapids Christian. He could end up one of the Lake Area’s fastest rising prospects if he produces after a year off with his transfer from Forest Hills Northern. Supply and demand are on Peterson’s side because the 2016 class lacks big pocket passers other than he and Holland’s 6-6, 205 Wade Buckman. Peterson has the better arm and is a good athlete — he could be a small college basketball player if not a scholarship QB. As a sophomore he completed 34-of-84 passes for 631 yards and 6 TDs. Another transfer QB who set out last year and is poised for a big season is 6-1, 190 senior Lucas Fotis of Grand Rapids Christian.
Ian VandenBerg 6-1 190 Sr ATH Paw Paw: As good as Paw Paw QB Jay Doll was, it’s not like he ws getting the ball to chumps. VandenBerg has one of the most impressive combinations of speed and power in the Lake Area, a threat as a runner or receiver. The proof is ink, he holds school records with a 99-yard TD and both the 100 and 200 meter dashes in the spring. And he’s one of the most recruit-able players, with 4.5 speed and a 4.0 gpa.
Michael Williams 5-8 170 Sr ATH Wyoming: Even on a 1-8 team Williams’ talent stood out. Put him at, say, Zeeland West and he’d be a 1,500 yard, 30 TD running back. He’s one of the Lake Area’s fastest players with 4.4 speed, then adds to the package with a 36″ vertical. He was a major YAC threat as a junior with 47 catches for 900 yards and eight TDs. He was also Wyoming’s top defensive player as a strong safety/outside linebacker.
Class of 2017
John Pupel 6-1 180 Jr ATH Traverse City Central: A possible “three-way” player for TC Central as he’ll share time at QB with senior Reagan Cotton, play running back when he’s not, and his college position is at safety. Pupel was outstanding at the LMFR’s Northern Michigan exposure camp, when he ran a 4.68 second 40 and 4.28 second pro agility.