Class of 2016
Tyler Bradfield 6-1 190 Sr ATH Rockford: He set the tone last week on the first play from scrimmage, coming up from his safety spot to lay a TFL on Caledonia. A lot of Bradfield’s ability was displayed in that play alone, as for a lanky athlete he closes quickly and can really deliver a hit. He has 4.6 speed but looks faster in pads because with intelligence and feel (and the experience of a third-year starter) he always seems to be in the right spot, he accelerates both defensively and offensively allowing him to make plays on the ball in coverage, then causes havoc in blitz packages. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better all-around football player in the Lake Area than Bradfield, who in his Rockford tenure has scored TDs via the run, catch, kickoff return, interception return and fumble return. More versatility? Last season Bradfield led the Rams in tackles, this year he’s their leading receiver. He should have multiple MAC offers.
Mike Bordeaux 6-3 270 OL/DL Muskegon Mona Shores: Christian Boyd gets much of the attention, but Bordeaux gives the Sailors another ballast at D tackle which allows all the athletes behind them to run wild in what looks like the Lake Area’s most dangerous defense. He’ll most likely end up on the interior of a college offensive line. He admirably plays the same either way, physical, low, powerful, the one initiating contact. He doesn’t flash like or have the shoulders and reach of a D1 lineman, but Bordeaux should make a blue-collar living in the GLIAC.
Carter Eckhardt 6-1 195 Sr RB/LB Manistee: Closing in on 200 pounds with 4.7 speed and a handful of all-state track honors, Eckhardt can physically dominate against smaller schools. But he’s an end-around not cut-back runner, so will most likely end up a 4-3 weakside linebacker for a small college.
Jake Martin 5-11 190 QB/DB Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern: Simply one of the best players in school history, Martin has Northern on the brink of another playoff berth, 5-0 going in this week against Cedar Springs. The Huskies were dominant last week opening O-K Gold play with a 62-22 win over Greenville. Martin was 8-for-14 passing for 176 yards and TDs of 50, 15 and 26 yards (two of those to favorite target Adam Farah) while running for 209 yards and 5 TDs, with a long run of 59 yards. Through five games he’s run for 14 TDs and thrown for 10. While you look at his size and say he’ll have to play in the defensive backfield in college, maybe not so fast … Martin isn’t that small, he operates behind a big line able enough, and he’s a die-hard leader and winner. High-end grades make him that much more attractive a recruit for the Ivy, Patriot or GLIAC
David Williams 6-3 225 Sr LB Holland Christian: The Maroons are rarely thought of as a defensive team, but Williams has been a stopper for them for now three seasons. He’s both Holland Christian’s leading tackler and rusher as a senior. Few players in the Lake Area have a better frame for their position, though Williams may be an even better baseball catching than outside linebacker prospect.
Jacob Tumele 6-3 230 Sr DL Muskegon Orchard View: Davenport continues to build the foundation of its new program with Lake Area talent, and Tumele is the latest commitment. He’s a defensive end who uses his 4.8 speed to flush the pocket for Orchard View. With more finishing power would be a GLIAC recruit.
Class of 2017
Reide Klinger 6-4 265 Jr OL Jenison: East Kentwood’s speed-over-size defense has served the Falcons well. Until they ran into Jenison’s running game last week, when the imposing Klinger swallowed up both linemen and linebackers from his right tackle spot and helped the Wildcats’ senior running back Brock Bethke run for 282 yards on previously unbeaten Kentwood. What stands out about Klingler is that unlike so many young linemen, he’s neither skinny, nor sloppy, just a real solid physical specimen that can can continue to add good weight. His pass blocking technique needs to be seen more, and flexibility and speed need to improve. But this is a rugged run blocker that is GLIAC for sure and should be on MAC radars.
Ben Sherwin 6-5 230 Jr OL Traverse City Central: Another prospect from the offensive line proving ground that is the Big North Conference. He’s a sometimes two-way lineman for TC Central, which is undefeated and looking to clinch a playoff berth this week against Petoskey. Offensively, Sherwin has shown some versatility as a left tackle but also some time at guard, with some speed consistently getting into the second level; does a good job of getting parallel with a straight back when pass blocking. Needs to get stronger at point of attack and lock up more consistently, can get caught off balance and lunging. His father Greg Sherwin was a left tackle for CMU, and it’s no stretch to imagine the son playing at that level as well.
Nate Umlor 6-5 245 Jr DL/TE Allendale: With a last name made for line play and the frame to boot, Umlor hasn’t disappointed since we saw him starting as a freshman for Allendale at Hopkins back in 2013. He anchors the line as the strongside D end, drawing a lot of attention but still consistently bringing pressure. Offensively, Allendale has looked Umlor’s way a bit more often as an upperclassman, as he posts well in the end zone and has three TDs, and when not a target blocks well in space. Power Five programs have noticed the talent. Umlor visited U-M for the BYU game last week, was at Iowa earlier in the season and plans to visit Tennessee in November.
Andrew Ward 6-2 215 Jr LB Muskegon: Ward put himself on the board as a sophomore when he was thrown into the starting lineup in the Division 3 state semifinals, and held his own helping shut down the most potent wing-T offense in the Lake Area, Zeeland West’s. As an upperclassman he’s become a stalwart at middle linebacker for the Big Reds. Ward certainly passes the look test with an athletic frame and 4.6 speed, and more importantly is aggressive and plays to that speed. As he continues to pick up the nuances of the position don’t be surprised to find him in the MAC in two years.
Class of 2018
Jaylen Mayfield 6-5 225 OL/DL Grand Rapids Catholic Central: He’s on track to be a four-year varsity player for one of the Lake Area’s most storied programs. CC’s right tackle, he has the length and speed that you can do so much with on either side of the ball. Could play tight end as well.