Class of 2017
Eric Dithazy 6-5 270 Sr OL Forest Hills Northern: A third-year starter, the second at right tackle, where he’s protected one of the best QBs in the Lake Area, Jake Martin, now a receiver at U-M, and for the past year senior Chase Morrello who last week threw for 220 yards and ran for two TDs in a win over Cedar Springs. A rare effective run and pass blocker at the high school level, Dithazy has the frame and wingspan college coaches covet, and has committed to CMU. FHN’s nastiest blocker might be a running back, however, senior Connor Bruinius, who is going to the University of Detroit for lacrosse.
Jack Mandryk 6-1 185 Sr QB/DB Hudsonville: Caledonia had no answer for him last week as Mandryk ran for 237 yards and five TDs. Mandryk is a terrific high school QB because he has vision in traffic and then the speed to break out and finish the deal. He’ll likely be a GLIAC recruit as a safety, where Mandryk closes well and had made three picks this season.
Lawrence Mickowski 6-1 290 Sr OL Traverse City West: The Titans’ starting center gave Cadillac’s line all kinds of problems. He’s so wide that he’d get onto the Vikings smaller, quicker linemen before they could get around him. Had good technique and rarely let his hands wander. West’s first TD came running right behind Mickowski.
Kelvyn Valdez 6-3 185 Sr WR Wyoming Godwin Heights: First-year coach Carlton Brewster has opened up the Wolves’ offense, to the benefit of two college prospects who have emerged in Valdez and junior QB Susu Davenport. Valdez visited MSU last week. Their numbers would have him as a walk-on candidate. But this is at least a MAC talent. He has the rare gift of running entire routes at full speed. Can catch over the shoulder on the fly or going across the middle. Uses his size and a nose for the ball to help out Davenport on 50/50 or under-thrown balls.
Class of 2018
Jacob Kochanny 6-4 250 Jr OL Cadillac: Jack Ford is at CMU and this could be Cadillac’s next MAC lineman. He’s a two-way starter who is at his best moving the pile from right guard. Flexible and quick off the line. Maybe over eager, as Cadillac’s line got baited into a false start when Traverse City West had 6-1, 290 senior Lawrence Mickowski looming over them as a blitzing linebacker. That was one of two penalties that doomed Cadillac’s opening drive. Kochanny also spent some time helping out the tackle against TC West’s end Ryan Hayes, the No. 2 2018 lineman in the Lake Area after No. 1 overall prospect Antwan Reed of Muskegon. It would be interesting to see how Kochanny would fare against Hayes one-on-one and in space, the kind of chance he’ll likely have this summer as colleges will want to see if his athleticism can translate to tackle. It would also be fun to see him in an uptempo offense because of his fitness level, but the Vikings are certainly not that. Cadillac is 5-2 and will be even better next year as Kochanny will be one of four returning starters on the line along with junior QB Kegan Brooks, who had a 24-yard TD run against West.
Class of 2019
Andy Schollett 6-4 210 So OL Traverse City West: When you have a 10th-grader starting at left tackle for TC West, historical evidence makes one take note. This is the school that currently has linemen with MSU, Pitt, Illinois and the Bengals. It’s still a long way off for him, but watch out next year with a year of strength, from which comes the confidence.