Class of 2018
Christian Balanda 6-6 275 Sr OL/DL Forest Hills Central: Noteworthy basically for his size alone as a junior, he’s become a legitimate player as a senior, the starting right tackle for an undefeated Rangers team in the D2 state semifinals. Does a good job shooting his hands and keeping them inside. Balanda is a better run blocker than in pass protection where lack of flexibility and quickness show through and he can struggle holding the edge against athletic rushers. Shows decent instincts in stints at defensive tackle. Size and experience against high-end competition will give him a shot at the next level.
Seth Davis 5-9 175 Sr ATH Ithaca: Saw him live in the regional at Montague and loved the production and toughness. An edge guy for Ithaca and perfect at it for the high school level, as he’s able to pressure the quarterback or drop back and make plays in coverage. Made big third- and fourth-down stops, had a crucial interception and return, recovered a fumble and had a long reception of his own. Probably safety at the college level.
Cole Schut 6-4 270 Sr OL Holland: Like Balanda above, another lineman who made a big jump in improvement as a senior, but is more ready-made and less of a project. Schut is a return starter at left tackle who helped Holland make a playoff appearance. Committed to Grand Valley State over offers from Hillsdale, Drake, Bucknell, Morehead State and Concordia. Quick, aggressive first step as a run blocker. What he lacks in wingspan he makes up for in speed, technique, base/balance and high game IQ working angles and leverage.
Class of 2019
Preston Johnson 6-3 170 Jr WR Reed City: Reed City is going to run it mostly and who can blame them the Coyotes are in the Division 5 semifinals. That makes Johnson often a blocker. But you have to like his physical profile and long, smooth stride. He had a 60-yard TD catch in the regular season against Tri-County.
Class of 2020
Josh Priebe 6-4 265 So OL Edwardsburg: Zeeland West is home, but Edwardsburg continues to represent Lake Area wing-T offenses in the playoffs, with a return appearance to the semifinals. Preibe is the right guard on a line that just man-handled Lansing Sexton in the regional, rolling up 353 rushing yards and 52 points. He moves really well for his size and age and is good at creating the horizontal lanes you want from the wing-T. If Priebe wasn’t out-quacking Sexton’s shorter, squatter D linemen to gain pad level advantage, he was pulling or getting into the second level and dwarfing the Big Reds’ linebackers. Plays with some attitude and swagger, which isn’t common among young big guys. One of the Lake Area’s top interior line prospects in the 2020 group.
Class of 2018
Xavier Wade 6-3 180 Jr WR West Ottawa: It was a perfect convergence for Wade, who in Ryan Oshnock’s two seasons as West Ottawa’s coach has thrived in the system. He’s had a career that rivals any receiver in O-K Red history. As a junior Wade put up big numbers and flashed talent. As a senior he’s a better football, quicker into top gear of that smooth, long stride, and doing it for the first district championship team in school history. He had 11 catches for 185 yards and a TD in the district final win over Rockford. Wade was also the starting point guard on the school’s first-ever district champion basketball team. One of myriad targets for QB Isaac VanDyk. Good size and ball skills who is just too big a target coming out of the slot against one-on-one coverage he can heat you up with underneath routes but also can break long and make catches on the move. Could be an All-MAC player in four years. He was the top available senior in the Lake Area before La’darius Jefferson decommitted from Central Florida.
Lake Area Top 25 Seniors
- Jalen Mayfield 6-5 250 OL/DL Grand Rapids Catholic Central Michigan
- La’darius Jefferson 6-2 210 QB Muskegon
- Antwan Reed 6-7 300 OL Muskegon Penn State
- Ryan Hayes 6-7 260 OL/DL Traverse City West Michigan
- Xavier Wade 6-3 180 WR West Ottawa
- Nolan Fugate 6-1 190 RB Grand Rapids Catholic Central
- Cade Peterson 6-4 190 QB Maple City Glen Lake Grand Valley State
- Jason Whittaker 6-5 200 QB Rockford Northwestern
- Joel Wilson 6-4 205 Edge Petoskey
- Braeden Childress 6-4 215 TE Big Rapids
- Susu Davenport 6-1 175 ATH Wyoming Godwin Heights
- Caleb Murphy 6-4 210 Edge Dowagiac Grand Valley State
- Brandon Anderson 5-10 155 WR/RB Cassopolis
- Cody Carone 6-3 295 OL Rockford Ferris State
- Keontae Watson 6-5 260 OL Muskegon Mona Shores
- Christian Brooks 6-2 220 LB North Muskegon
- Eli Jackson 6-1 275 DL Muskegon
- Jacob Wohlgemuth 6-5 300 DL Wyoming Kelloggsville
- Dan VanOpstall 6-6 230 DL/OL Jenison
- Marcus Remtema 6-0 185 DB Rockford
- Keyshaun Summerville 6-0 165 WR/DB Muskegon Mona Shores
- Darius Pruitt 6-3 185 DB Kalamazoo Central
- Brett Taylor 5-10 220 LB Comstock Park
- CJ Jefferson 6-0 175 ATH Muskegon
- Willie Shanks 6-2 185 DB Muskegon
Class of 2019
Boone Bonnema 6-3 215 Jr LB/TE Zeeland East: One of two FBS prospects on defense (Chix junior D-end Adam Berghorst was recently offered by WMU) who’ll be returning in 2018 for what should be another very good Zeeland East team. Bonnema is already a three-year starter. In any high school games he’s one of the biggest, most athletic kids on the field, and he plays up to that profile. He’s best when going full throttle, blitzing and making life hard on QBs or taking on blockers. He embraces the physical confrontation not much subtlety to it whether from his middle linebacker spot or coming out from his H-back spot to hit his corresponding defenders .Best college fit may be as ted linebacker in traditional 3-4. His main value on offense is as a blocker, he runs kind of looping routes but is athletic to make plays after the catch.
Enrique Gonzalez 6-4 185 Jr ATH Jenison: Received his varsity baptism against an at times brutal 2017 schedule — Forest Hills Central, Mona Shores, Muskegon, West Ottawa. In this case ‘athlete’ means ‘tweener.’ He’s a safety and receiver for the Wildcats. With frame and versatility could end up a linebacker or tight end.Tends to play too upright, so he’ll face the tough task of putting on strength while increasing flexibility to get the college coaches noticing.
Bryce Stark 5-11 175 Jr RB Montague: Fittingly given the surname Stark, he’s played his best with winter coming. He ran for 254 yards and four TDs in a 47-0 opening round win over Lakeview then 227 yards and two touchdowns in the 37-13 district final against Kent City. For the year Stark has 161 rushing attempts for 1,501 yards and 28 touchdowns. He’ll see his toughest defense yet in the regional with Ithaca, which is strong on all three levels. Montague spreads it out but uses a power running game with Stark the only back. He’s a quick cut-back runner with good power for his size and the speed to finish, especially at the small-school level. Will have to show coaches he can catch the ball, though to his credit Stark’s only reception this year went for a TD.