Class of 2018
Luke Buckman 6-5 225 Sr TE Holland: Luke’s older brother Wade Buckman was a Holland QB now a tight end at Purdue. The younger sibling made the switch earlier, as a junior when he had the height and skill position but not the strength. Now that he’s put on weight, Buckman was one of the most improved players in the Lake Area for a Holland team eliminated in the D3 opening round by Muskegon. Solid both in his routes and hands, what makes Buckman an attractive prospect for the next level is that he combines a fondness and toughness for blocking to go with his ball skills.
Kenyon Story 6-2 260 Sr DL Breckenridge: From outside the usual coverage area but a nice small town story, no pun intended, as Breckenridge just won the first playoff game in school history. Story is a two-way tackle whose future is on the defensive side. Fits the profile of so many players from small rural schools who have slipped onto GLIAC rosters and left as starters and all-league. What makes Story so promising is his somewhat unexpected speed. There are two more recruitable linemen in Breckenridge’s junior class 6-4, 240 junior Schriver Miller and 6-1, 250 junior Hunter Smith the Huskies’ leading tackler.
Class of 2019
Noah Evers 6-3 260 Jr OL Plainwell: When a Wolverine Conference can knock an O-K team out of the playoffs it’s a quality W and Plainwell did just that in the opening round against South Christian. Evers is Plainwell’s left tackle and while he doesn’t project to that spot for college he’s perfect for their power running game because he’s compact and violent in small spaces. Toughness and can run a little bit, projects as a guard.
Jack Haverdink 6-4 260 Jr OL Portage Northern: One of the best linemen to come out of the Lake Area in the 1980s, Jack’s father Kevin Haverdink went from Hamilton (also the starting center on the Hawkeyes’ state championship basketball team) to outstanding teams at WMU and then the Saints. The younger Haverdink will be a three-year starter at left tackle for the Huskies. Tough run blocker because he’s big and strong at point of attack. Has some skill as well not just mauling guys, he’s able to get pad level on smaller ends and use angles to redirect him. That technique is about all you can project to his pass protection. If he’s able to play upright as well at camps, it’s not inconceivable Haverdink gets Big Ten interest.
Gio Weeks 6-0 170 Jr RB Kent City: Catalyst of the first team in school history to have an undefeated regular season. Kent City’s biggest test will come in the district final against fellow D6 unbeaten Montague and a junior running back star to counter Weeks in Bryce Stark. Weeks has plus speed for high school let alone for a Class C school and he’s easily able to the corners to get perpendicular again to the end zone and attack. Weeks gives you more than that because he’s also a tough runner between tackles. Can catch the ball out of the backfield and is a threat returning kicks. It can be hard for small-school backs to break through to the college ranks, but with Weeks’ speed — school-record sprinter — he could be able to separate himself on recruiters’ lists in the future as he does now from defenses.
Class of 2018
Ethan Ancick 6-6 215 Sr TE Manton: Transfer from “downstate,” Walled Lake Northern, who at times just manhandled small-school Northern Michigan competition. Natural pass catcher at 6-foot-6 who gives quarterback Hunter Ruell so many looks split wide or tight, winning balls in crowds or beating one-on-one coverage. Also a college basketball prospect and that hoops background shows with his ball skill in traffic and overall athleticism. Projects as a college tight end where he has plus physical tools for the position though blocking is TBD. Compares favorably to the top tight end in the Lake Area, Big Rapids’ Braeden Childress, who has three MAC offers.
Liam Cavanaugh 6-4 205 Sr LB/TE West Ottawa: It’s a brave new world for West Ottawa athletics, winning its first-ever boys’ district championship in basketball and then its first O-K Red title in football in the same calendar year. One of the faces in that renaissance is that of Cavanaugh, one of the top defensive playmakers in the O-K Red the past two seasons. He was as crucial as ever in keeping WO’s dream season alive with five catches for 171 yards and three TDs, including the game-winner as tie expired, in the D1 playoff opener with Grandville. Productive outside linebacker whether coming in tight against power teams or out in space against athletes. Smooth and quick off blocks with good understanding of where plays are headed. GLIAC talent at linebacker but with a red-shirt year for sure he’s not going to win any physical one-on-one battles. Cavanaugh shows his versatility and athletic ability on offense. He can block as an H back, has the hands of a receiver and is a dangerous wildcat quarterback on two-point conversions or filling in like he did against East Kentwood running it right through their defense for two TDs.
Thomas Griggs 5-10 210 Sr RB Wyoming Kelloggsville: One of the Lake Area’s best in two sports football and basketball. One of two good senior backs for undefeated Kelloggsville along with David jackson, and senior QB Alex Guzman also a capable runner, Griggs has rushed for over 2,500 yards the past two seasons. In the district final will be the first time this season he has a higher-rated running back on the other side, as undefeated Grand Rapids Catholic Central’s Nolan Fugate has better measurables. What makes Griggs good is his feel and vision, quick stop-start and balance, while lacking the explosion and pure speed. For a a seemingly bigger target, Griggs is able to get small in tight spaces and defenders rarely get clean hits. While Jackson is the better blocker in pass pro, Griggs will do his part burying linebackers on end-arounds.
Jacob Wohlgemuth 6-5 330 Sr DL Wyoming Kelloggsville: Undefeated Kelloggsville has enough depth that Wohlgemuth doesn’t have to go both ways. He’s utilized fully on defense though playing tackle and end in 4-3 sets or at nose tackle when Kelloggsville goes to a 3-4 look. Also plays special teams. When playing on the interior either way the linebacker behind him feasts because Wohlgemuth’s an automatic double-team. The Rockets’ defense takes off once he creates havoc at the line because when the pocket collapses and it comes down to playmaking, they had an athletic advantage in the O-K Silver. Plays hard and with a motor for a kid his size always looming over the quarterback somehow, you feel the presence. Will really have to polish technique at the next level because right now so rarely sees anyone of similar size and won’t able to just bull rush over a center or shut down the A or B gap just by getting out of his stance. Riding MAC/GLIAC line as a prospect.
Class of 2018
Isaac Dykema 6-2 205 Sr QB Grand Rapids Christian: Had been on a roll with big numbers and big wins for the Eagles before running into East Grand Rapids. A natural putting up great numbers who may still not know just how good he could be, similar cloth to Lake Area Christian school QB legends like Jon Wassink and Kirk cousins. Runs offense at a nice tempo and doesn’t lock into receivers but spreads it around. Strong enough to stand in the pocket and endure hits, or get out of it, extend plays and make throws on the move. Has the arm strength and confidence to challenge defenses deep. Good on the draw as he’s more quick than fast.
Ryan Lints 6-0 225 Sr LB Traverse City St. Francis: The North’s top 2018 middle linebacker prospects meet in the regular season finale, undefeated TCSF and Lints, and undefeated Boyne City and Jacob Ager. They’re nearly mirror images physically. Lints is a four-year starter for the Glads. That experience shows particularly with his play on offense at right guard, terrific technique whether using his speed pulling or getting out to square off fellow linebackers. As we never considered Byron Bullough above a GLIAC level recruit, it’s safe to call Lints St. Francis’ top middle linebacker recruit since Riley Bullough. He also spends lots of time at nose guard, where’s he’s too quick for most small school Northern Michigan interior lineman and can quickly make a pocket claustrophobia inducing. Biggest concern would be pass coverage, though shows good feel on some picks.
Class of 2019
Luke Marsh 6-4 250 Jr DL Montague: One could make an argument that Montague, undefeated heading into their matchup with Muskegon Catholic, and not Ithaca is the state’s top team in Division 6. And the scary thing is the bulk of the roster’s talent will be back as it’s juniors. Among those is Marsh, a two-way tackle. On offense athletic enough to get out an interfere for big-play junior back Bryce “House” Stark and junior QB Sebastian Archer. Moves more like a tight end. Uses those same physical attributes to get to the quarterback. Forces teams to run away from them. He has the potential to fit in at any of a couple positions on either side of the ball in college.
Ali’vonta Wallace 6-1 210 Jr LB Muskegon: Doesn’t yet have the national recruiting pull of the Lake Area’s top 2010 linemen, but we’re not so sure Wallace still isn’t the top prospect in the 2019 class. He’s the leading tackler on not just the Lake Area’s but entire state’s No, 1 team. Looks to type with long arms, a big butt and moving smoothly up and down the line or closing up gaps. Not hard to imagine him putting on 25 pounds and still moving the same. A lot may depend on how he runs in the spring and summer to open up offers from the elite programs that recruit the Big Reds.
Lake Area Top 2019 Prospects
- Ali’vonta Wallace 6-1 210 Jr LB Muskegon
- Logan Brown 6-6 290 Jr OL East Kentwood Wisconsin
- Anthony Bradford 6-5 330 Jr OL Muskegon
- Adam Berghorst 6-7 250 Jr DL Zeeland East
- Mazi Smith 6-3 305 Jr DL East Kentwoo
- Karsen Barnhart 6-6 280 Jr OL Paw Paw
- Jacob Wahlberg 6-3 215 Jr LB/TE Mona Shores
- Tate Hallock 6-3 185 Jr WR/DB Forest Hills Central
- Spencer Holstege 6-5 260 Jr OL Grand Rapids South Christian
- Damari Roberson 6-2 185 Jr WR/DB Mona Shores
- Stuart Kettler 6-5 265 Jr OL East Grand Rapids
- Jack Haverdink 6-4 255 Jr OL Portage Northern
- Luke Marsh 6-4 250 Jr DL/OL Montague
- Peyton Young 6-4 310 Jr OL Muskegon Oakridge
- Boone Bonnema 6-3 215 Jr LB/TE Zeeland East
- Colt Stout 6-4 260 Jr DL Mona Shores
- Eric Wenzel 6-1 185 Jr QB Kalamazoo United
- Donavon Webb 6-0 190 Jr RB Holland
- Art Herndon 5-11 170 Jr DB St. Joseph
- Logan Miller 6-5 275 Jr OL Allendale
Peyton Young 6-4 305 Jr Muskegon Oakridge: The Lake Area’s O line class isn’t just the couple All-American level recruits on the top, it has MAC depth in yet like Young. Much more flexible and agile than his sophomore varsity season. Big kid who carries his weight well and opens some even bigger holes from left tackle for Oakridge, bound for the playoffs after bouncing back from a shutout to Montague. Good wheels getting out to bully linebackers. Pass block technique tbd. Probably a guard or right tackle at next level.
Class of 2020
John Shelton IV 5-10 190 So RB/LB East Grand Rapids: He was the top underclassman at the LMFR’s spring combine and is now a key two-way contributor for undefeated EGR. He was an all-state wrestler in the 189-pound class as just a freshman, and he brings those specialized skills to the field as he’ll often play with a hand down on the line using his strength, quickness and motor to beat bigger offensive linemen. Also plays middle linebacker, his more natural college position. Offensively he is a solid complement to the Pioneers’ senior breakaway back, a classic blue-collar East back out of the i formation who can get tough yards or around the ends.
Class of 2017
Nolan Fugate 6-1 205 Sr RB Grand Rapids Catholic Central: Should have MAC offers given his measurables and production for defending D4 state champion and currently undefeated Catholic Central. Since they haven’t caught on yet, he ran for 475 yards and five TDs against Comstock Park. Yeah it’s nice to run behind the Lake Area’s top prospect tackle Jalen Mayfield, but Fugate has the tools to finish the deal as he runs in the 4.5s with that frame, and can cut in tight spaces isn’t just doing it on raw speed.
Elijah Gurley 6-3 245 Sr DL/OL Forest Hills Central: Really liked him last season in the playoffs against Lowell as an undersized technician at left tackle. He’s put on 20 pounds since then and emerged as impact pass-rusher for one of the Lake Area’s top teams. Takes advantage of his quickness both ways. Knack for being the first to put the hands on. College future is likely on the defensive side but remains a standout on the O line as well, winning pad level and with live feet.
Bryant Kieft 6-3 205 Sr ATH Watervliet: The favored receiving target in one of the Lake Area’s most prolific offenses. A physical mismatch at the small school level where he can outrun most linebackers and dwarfs the typical defensive backs. ‘Vliet QB Zach Pickens gets Kieft the ball in myriad situations and no matter where he is on the field, Kieft tags on yards after the catch, runs hard and is tough to bring down. Thus far he’s made 38 catches for 1,066 yards and 11 TDs. He’s a similar physical presence as an outside linebacker pinning back his ears and blowing around the ends making plays on instinct and hustle good for six sacks and nine tackles for loss. His success at the next level will be determined by how hard he’s willing to work once he can’t just go out and dominate on talent. Likely college future as a tight end or H back. Similar to former LMFR camper Logan Hessbrook, who went from a receiver at Ithaca and SVSU to starting at tight end for CMU when Tyler Conklin was hurt.
Brandon Kramer 6-3 220 Sr TE Cedar Springs: Like Zeeland West, Cedar Springs runs the tight T. Cedar isn’t as jumbo sized sans all the Dutch boys, but like with the Dux you’ll find among the roster’s best athletes at tight end. For the Red Hawks that pair is Kramer and 6-4 220 senior Jordon Lyon. Solid down blocker with the straight line speed to get into the second level. The way he moves in the open field as a blocker suggests potential as a route runner. Effective and well-coached in his system, with enough physical tools to make him a recruitable project.
Jace Thornton 6-1 210 Sr LB Forest Hills Central: Like his Rangers teammate above, Elijah Gurley, Thornton made a jump athletically from his junior season to now. He’s an outside linebacker with three interceptions, including in FHC’s first win against Lowell this century. It’s not a surprise he can make the catch in coverage, Thornton’s an effective tight end, but he now has explosion to turn the play around like with a pick returned for a TD against Ottawa Hills. Plays solid assignment football.
Class of 2019
Adam Berghorst 6-7 245 Jr DL Zeeland East: If you recruit Michigan and miss out on Carman-Ainsworth’s Mike Fletcher, Berghorst isn’t a bad consolation at all. Similar body type, three-sport background and college potential to TC West’s Ryan Hayes. Both are top 5 overall Lake Area prospects in their respective classes. They also had older brothers who are/were D1 linemen. The difference lays on the field, where Berghorst is a prototype D end. His flexibility, elusiveness and motor all belie his size and age. That’s what makes the potential here so scary, because he has the innate qualities for the position with time and coaching to work on his hand work and add strength. Impact maker for undefeated Zeeland East. Hoping to see Berghorst against some physical peers in the postseason.
Jacob Wahlberg 6-3 215 Jr LB/TE Muskegon Mona Shores: With success come rewards. Wahlberg is a key two-way player for undefeated Mona Shores, and now has four MAC offers most recently Toledo. Consistent, makes smart reads and can blanket sideline to sideline from his mike linebacker spot. Now handling an ever bigger load with fellow junior linebacker Damari Roberson out with a knee injury. Wahlberg missed some time himself earlier in the season. A productive game next Friday against fellow unbeaten Muskegon, and Wahlberg’s interest from bigger schools could become serious.
Wilson Wirebaugh 6-2 210 Jr QB Holland Christian: Also a college baseball prospect. He’s had some big games for he Maroons including 28-of-40 for 357 yards and five TDs against Unity Christian. He followed up that with another five TD game, including two on the ground, Friday at Spring Lake. Plays out of the shotgun and loves the fades, with a knack for dropping in the long ball. Coaches will want to see if he has the velocity for out routes.
Class of 2021
Blake Bosma 6-3 170 Fr WR West Ottawa: It’s hard to recall impact freshman receivers in the O-K Red, ever. Here’s one. With defenses focused on senior Xavier Wade, Bosma is a nice check down option for junior QB Isaac VanDuyke. He had a TD catch when Rockford lost track of him in the fourth quarter of the Panthers’ O-K Red clinching come-from-behind win. He’ll be a legit No. 1 the next three years, he makes it look easy with the way he moves and hid hand-eye coordination. Blake comes by the athleticism honestly his dad Duane was an All-American basketball player at Hope and his brother Tyler, a West Ottawa senior, is a hoops all-stater himeself headed to Miami-OH to play baseball. The younger Bosma has some toughness for his age. He’s not afraid to go across the middle or get airborne to make catches, and he’ll engage as a blocker downfield.