Class of 2015, Debut Top 25
- John Keenoy 6-3 285 OL East Kentwood
- Jon Wassink 6-2 175 So QB Grand Rapids South Christian
- Dekurtis Murphy 6-5 300 So OL/DL St. Joseph Lake Michigan Catholic
- Carter Masek 6-3 215 So LB East Grand Rapids
- Mitchell Quakkelaar 6-3 230 So DL Grand Rapids South Christian
- Nick Marosi 6-2 185 So WR Grand Rapids Catholic Central
- Tyree Jackson 6-1 165 So QB Mona Shores
- Nate Couturier 5-10 135 So WR Allendale
- Travis Russell 6-2 165 So QB Grand Rapids West Catholic
- Michael Androsiak 6-0 180 So LB Caledonia
- Casey Elzinga 6-1 210 So OL/DL Grand Rapids South Christian
- Mason Dekker 5-10 185 So LB/DB West Ottawa
- Josh Colegrove 6-0 220 So DL Lowell
- Juwan Jarnegan 6-0 215 So DL Grand Rapids Christian
- Brandon Childress 6-2 170 So QB Baldwin
- Mike Egeler 6-2 205 So ATH Comstock Park
- Qi’ante Ewing 6-2 215 So LB Grand Rapids Christian
- Mikey Roth 5-11 165 So QB East Grand Rapids
- Malik Swain 6-2 280 So DL Kenowa Hills
- Ethan Campbell 5-10 175 So RB Traverse City Central
- Dakota Scholten 6-4 235 So DL White Cloud
- Ethan Hovingh 6-0 180 So RB Allendale
- Eric VanVoorst 6-3 180 So WR/DB Grand Rapids South Christian
- Joe Schepperly 6-0 200 So RB/LB Traverse City Central
- Adam Trautman 6-2 165 So QB Elk Rapids
Class of 2013
Brandon DeWitt 6-5 305 Sr DL Three Rivers
Not the most agile guy along the line, but DeWitt is a space-eater and run-stopper. Was impressed last Friday that even as South Christian went into blowout mode, DeWitt kept playing hard and eventually made a play in the backfield.
Class of 2014
Jake Bush 5-10 175 Jr RB Comstock Park
From the midway point of the season, Bush has given Comstock Park two all-state caliber offensive performers named Jake. He and senior QB Jake Brown have a nice chemistry, and Jake is a big-play threat catching the ball out of the backfield. That spelled doom for Ogemaw Heights on Saturday, as they couldn’t catch up to his swivel when Bush got the ball in space. He had a 42-yard TD run that was beautiful to behold. CP basically has two tight-end sized juniors, Drake Baar and Ryan Gruska, and Bush does a good job reading their blocks in the open field. For the year he has over 1,000 yards from scrimmage, averaging 10 yards a catch, 7 yards a carry.
Demere Ramey 6-1 300 Jr DL Muskegon Orchard View
A slender silver lining to missing the playoffs, you can get your season highlight video out sooner. In the case of Ramey, that’s some pretty intriguing footage. So much so that this raw potential D tackle is one of the top 10 defensive line prospects in the Lake’s junior class. He swallows up high school guards in the 2 technique and is somehow able to slip that torso through the B gap from the 3 technique to wreak havoc in the offensive backfield. He keeps his feet alive and driving after the initial engagement with the offensive line. He moves well laterally and has a knack for finding the ball — even if he’s not always the first one there (straight on pursuit speed needs to improve). Perhaps what is most exciting about Ramey he’s not just some fat kid slogging it through the motions. He’s got a good motor and some swagger. He plays through the whistle and through the fourth quarter, which couldn’t have always been easy during OV’s 2-7 campaign. Ramey is wrestling this winter, and if he sticks with that and arrives in the spring as an ever better athlete, most D1 schools in the Midwest should be trying to get him to summer camp. Here’s where Ramey fits among junior defensive linemen in the Lake Michigan area:
Class of 2014 D-Linemen
- Kenneth Finley 6-3 265 Jr Muskegon
- Jordan VanDort 6-6 280 Jr Zeeland West
- Zach Evans 6-3 240 Jr Kenowa Hills
- Chris Hendricks 6-5 270 Jr Fruitport
- Jake Khoury 6-3 265 Jr Traverse City St. Francis
- Demere Ramey 6-1 300 Jr Muskegon Orchard View
- Tommy Doles 6-5 245 Jr Grand Rapids Christian
- Jake Kaczynski 6-5 240 Jr Ludington
- Mitchell Wynkoop 6-3 220 Jr Traverse City Central
- Mitchell Stanitzek 6-3 215 Jr Grand Rapids West Catholic
- Carl Grant 6-2 220 Jr Dowagiac
- Dayton Wierenga 6-2 210 Jr Allendale
- Jeremy Stygstra 6-1 255 Jr Grand Rapids Christian
- Travis Steenwyk 6-2 280 Jr Grand Rapids South Christian
- Jack Brodeur 6-2 215 Jr Traverse City St. Francis
- Todd Postma 6-4 230 Jr Grand Rapids South Christian
- Hunter Sipperly 6-3 230 Jr Newaygo
- Ryan Gannon 6-2 230 Jr North Muskegon
- Zach Poppema 6-2 210 Jr Zeeland West
- Andrew Blok 6-1 255 Jr Saugatuck
Connor Smith 6-5 250 Jr OL Three Rivers
Yet another offensive lineman to track in the junior class. He had his hands full last Friday against a big, deep, active South Christian defensive line, but kept competing. He started at right tackle (playing out of a two-point stance) and looked better as a power run blocker than a pass blocker, though when the pocket did collapse (and it did, a lot) it was usually from another direction than Smith’s.
Travis Steenwyk 6-2 280 Jr OL Grand Rapids South Christian
Steenwyk is considered the outstanding member of a South Christian offensive line that gets better and better. Soph QB Jon Wassink can really scramble and create, but hasn’t had to much during the Sailors’ 3-0 postseason domination of the Wolverine Conference as his boys up front have kept him clean. Steenwyck is the right guard, and also plays defensive tackle when South Christian goes to four down linemen. He has a strong base and balance, and shows polished technique with his hands.
Deshaun Thrower 5-11 180 Jr ATH Muskegon
Even while Muskegon was rolling to an 8-0 start, the defensive backfield was considered the weakest unit of a strong team. It was bolstered late in the regular season with the entry into the lineup of Thrower, a junior transfer from Muskegon Heights who had broken his foot. Now healthy, Thrower glides around the field with the greatest of ease, and somehow always ends up around the football. He has great ball skills and is very sticky with his man-to-man coverage. He’s also not afraid to stick his nose in there and become a tackler when he has to. Thrower has a great front seven in front of him, so he’s not often forced to make a lot of plays. But, with his speed and playmaking ability, offenses must always know where he is on the field. Ironically though, as good as he is at defensive back, he could be even better at quarterback. With a really good arm and good pocket presence, he has already shown flashes of brilliance. He orchestrated a thrilling comeback against Lowell to win their district championship. Expect more of that excitement next year as he learns the veer offense and officially takes the quarterback mantle. Thrower’s athleticism will also be on display this winter as he’ll play an integral part of a loaded Big Reds basketball team.
Alec Stevens 6-5 270 OL Ogemaw Heights
Stevens is one of the most highly recruited of what is a promising group of Lake Michigan offensive linemen in 2014. Coaches like that he’s naturally big and strong, without being soft around the middle. Like the rest of his Ogemaw Heights’ teammates, Stevens wasn’t necessarily ready for the speed and pace of Comstock Park, who blew out the Falcons on Saturday. But he was able to show something as a run blocker against a tough, but smaller, defensive line. Though he didn’t do it often, when pass blocking Stevens showed a nice kick and slide. In either scenario though, Stevens too often found himself like Dr. Smith — lost in space. You want your best player finding someone to block and knocking heads on every play, and that didn’t happen.
Sophomore Mike Egeler is listed on Comstock Park’s roster as a 6-2, 205 “WR/T/DE/DT.” He was outstanding as the fourth of that list against Ogemaw Heights, as he was just too quick for their interior offensive line and repeatedly put his nose in there to stymie the Falcons’ heretofore potent running attack.
On a team full of college prospects, it takes a lot to stand out. But, senior full back John King (5-11, 205) has managed to do just that. King – a relative unknown a year ago – burst into the spotlight this year with over 1600 yards rushing and 21 touchdowns for the 11-1 Muskegon Big Reds Football Team.
“He’s the heart and soul of our team,” said Muskegon head coach Shane Fairfield. “On the field, John is a warrior. He just loves football.”
King’s meteoric rise is the product of an intense summer conditioning routine with the goal of developing his two-way playing abilities. King, who also plays linebacker, hit the summer football combine/camp circuit to compete against the state’s top players. All of the hard work is paying off; King is having an All-State season and his recruiting stock is trending up as his team marches through the state playoffs.
King does reap the benefit of having a very good offensive line in front of him, but he’s also breaking tackles and running away from the defense. He has good vision and tremendous power with a style reminiscent of former Muskegon great Ashton Leggett. While his combine testing numbers may not blow you away, he is an absolute gamer who gets it done on the field.
College coaches will get another opportunity to catch King this weekend as Muskegon takes on Caledonia in the Division 2 Semifinals.
Class of 2013
Zack Decker 6-5 210 Sr TE Schoolcraft
Decker is a really good pass catching tight end that doesn’t have blazing speed but he knows how to use his size to make plays. He plays physical but has very soft hands and catches the ball at it’s highest point. He’s a good athlete and was a key component on Schoolcraft’s basketball team that made it to the Breslin Center last March. Decker is a lunch pail guy that if he adds some weight he can become a big time player at the next level.
Alex Korhorn 6-2 275 Sr OL/DL Grand Rapids Christian
One of the benefits of playing the offensive line for GR Christian is the tutelage of a former NFLer as their position coach, Tony Semple. Semple wasn’t the most talented guy when competing at the highest level, but had an nine-year career with the Lions as a tough, blue-collar guard, and ended up blocking for Barry Sanders in some of the Hall of Famer’s greatest seasons. Korhorn has a true acolyte, in smaller form, in Korhorn. Despite giving up size last Saturday to 6-6, 290 Zeeland West junior Jordan VanDort, Korhorn was able to hold his own blocking one-on-one thanks to his grit, leverage and balance. In addition to his pass blocking, Korhorn is a mean run blocker who can pull from his left guard spot to level more traditionally sized high school players. The Eagles are also playing their two best offensive linemen, Korhorn and junior Tommy Doles, on the defensive line, which helps make this team so tough and a favorite to win it all in Division 3.
Seth McIntosh 5-10 205 Sr RB Grand Rapids Christian
He gives the Eagles’ potent passing game some balance on the ground. McIntosh ran 16 times for 128 yards in the GR Christian’s district final win over Zeeland West. For the season he has 754 yards and six TDs on 96 carries. McIntosh is light on his feet for 205 pounds, but also has the power to get tough yards and the knack for bouncing off the first tackle.
Casey Mesbergen 6-2 210 Sr LB/OL Zeeland West
A defensive lineman on Zeeland West’s 2011 state championship team, Mesbergen just finished a strong senior season playing guard and linebacker for the Dux. Mesbergen is the kind of leader you like to have at middle linebacker, as up the middle was the strength of a defense that proved susceptible in other ways throughout the year. He played an active game last Saturday against Grand Rapids Christian, but sometimes could get eager and over pursue. With his ideal linebacker size (or the potential for either line were he to put on weight) and the pedigree of where he’s been coached, Mesbergen is a priority recruit for small college programs.
Brett Scanlon 6-0 195 Sr K Dowagiac
Scanlon’s high school career ended last Friday at the hands of South Christian, but got a glimpse towards his college future the very next day with a trip to MSU. He didn’t make his lone field goal attempt in the South Christian game — from 62 yards. Scanlon did show his ability to both boom and place punts (he did have a 62-yarder that way the previous week against Otsego) as well as his leg on kickoffs, where he finished the season by putting over 50 of them into the end zone. Scanlon looks thicker and more athletic than your average kicker. He also started at linebacker for Dowagiac and rotated at quarterback.
Seth VanEngen 6-5 215 Sr LB Grand Rapids South Christian
He goes both ways for South Christian, providing soph phenom Jon Wassink a big check-down target at receiver whose college future is likely as an outside linebacker. VanEngen played with a better motor in last Friday’s second-round game than when I saw the Sailors earlier in the year. He flows well to the ball and showed some wheels when he ran a Dowagiac running back. VanEngen would sometimes line up at tight end as well as come into motion to block, where he was competent but didn’t really coil and strike through his man. Overall, with his physical tools and versatility, the kind of prospect a small program would love to get in their program and shape for the future.
Class of 2014
Carl Grant 6-2 220 Jr DL/TE Dowagiac
He was a defensive playmaker all season for a Dowagiac team that finished 10-1. He finished fourth on the team in tackles and was first with 50 behind the line of scrimmage. South Christian was able to limit his speed rush from left end last Friday, but Grant showed off his wrestling strength against the run. Would like to see him get some counters for when he sees a well-coached line like the Sailors’. With no consistent Dowagiac pass rush, they ended up getting picked apart by QB Jon Wassink. A five technique guy now, Grant moves well so could end up as a linebacker at the next level.
Drake Harris 6-4 180 Jr WR Grand Rapids Christian
The Drake lived up to all the hype with an epic playoff performance against Zeeland West. He made seven receptions for 208 yards, including TDs of 32 and 42 yards. He also set up a field goal with a 49-yard catch and a TD with a 32-yard catch. None of those plays were breakdowns where Harris found himself all alone, he had to work for it against two good players in West’s Braden Werley and Jon Pung. Werley did knock away one pass, but then GR Christian QB Alex VanDeVusse started throwing it up where only Harris could get it, and he made the plays despite taking hits. His mix of vertical jump, hand-eye coordination, soft mitts and ability to smoothly but efficiently accelerate into 4.4 mode, just can’t be stopped at the high school level. When they’re not going his way, Drake is a decent blocker for a young, skinny receiver. There are so many combine phenoms who get to college where coaches find out too late they can’t catch or, you know, actually play football. That’s not Harris. He has the “measurables,” but they just start to tell the story of him as a player.
Grand Rapids South Christian has a 2012 district championship to its credit. It could be the start of some terrific things for coach Mark Tamminga’s program. We’ve already recounted the talent of their young QB, 6-2, 175 Jon Wassink. He’s just one of a number of key sophomore contributors to the Sailors. His shotgun partner, 6-1, 210 center Casey Elzinga, is also a 10th-grader. 6-3, 230 sophomore D lineman Mitchell Quakkelaar had a sack last Friday against Dowagiac, a game where 6-3, 180 sophomore receiver Eric VanVoorst and 5-11, 220 sophomore lineman Brendan Huyser also contributed.
Class of 2013
Jake Brown 6-0 205 Sr QB Comstock Park
As Comstock’s Park QB, all he’s done is won. He led them to the Division 4 semifinals in 2011, and the Panthers are the O-K Blue champion and into the second round of the playoffs. Oh yeah, those numbers. In the regular season he completed 97o-of-172 passes for 1,132 yards and seven TDs, while running 160 times for 780 yards and 20 TDs. Brown throws maybe the tightest ball we’ve seen all season. And while he’s a running QB, he does most of it as an interior power runner and doesn’t have the breakout speed of a guy who might move to another position in college. Sweetening the deal for recruiters, Brown ranks first in his class academically.
Jake Daugherty 6-3 275 Sr OL/DL Big Rapids
He’s the rare high school lineman that plays with aggression and swagger. Big Jake has good speed and is very light on his feet, which is why he plays middle linebacker at 275 pounds. At the next level, he will probably be an offensive tackle because he should add about 20 pounds of muscle mass via the college weight room and training table. On the O-Line, he does a great job of finishing his blocks and plays with good pad level. He’s also a good post player on Big Rapids’ basketball team. Daugherty could be a steal for a college program; if he were at a bigger high school he would be a much more highly recruited player.
Blake Mazur 6-3 250 Sr DL Comstock Park
He’s 6-3, 250, and if anything plays larger than that. He plays with a big, wide base and weathers the offensive line’s initial hits. That allows him to be the team’s fourth-leading tackler despite playing defensive end. Mazur also starts as Comstock Park’s left offensive tackle. A D lineman all the way, probably doesn’t have the flexibility or speed for linebacker. GLIAC loves him all the same.
Nate Pupel 6-0 215 Sr LB/FB Traverse City Central
He’s the leader of the Trojans’ defense, has great football instincts and is always around the football. In the Trojans’ opening round playoff game last week, Pupel played tailback for the injured TJ Schwannecke. Pupel came up big with 116 yards rushing and 3 TDs to help lead TCC to an overtime win over Bay City Western. His athleticism was on display at our Northern Michigan Football Combine & Exposure Camp in July, placing in the top 10 of the vertical jump, broad jump and pro agility shuttle. He’s a hard-nosed football player with a knack for making big plays, and should find a home at the next level in the GLIAC.
Dylan Smith 6-2 180 Sr WR Kenowa Hills
The career of the most prolific receiver in Kenowa Hills history came to an end last Friday. Fittingly, Smith finished with nine catches for 152 yards and two TDs in Kenowa’s loss to Muskegon. For the year he caught 64 balls for 1,226 yards and 13 TDS, plus two special teams TDs. He has a mix of what you want in a receiver with size, hands, sharp routes that create openings and the speed that helped him have five games with at least two touchdowns. There’s room to improve with strength and ball security, as in college Smith’s 4.68 speed may have him going underneath more often. He also started at cornerback and rarely left the field.
Nick Steinke 6-3 280 Sr DL Watervliet
Steinke stands out in small school ball by benefit of his size alone. He goes both ways for the Watervliet team that was eliminated by Constantine in the opening round of the D6 playoffs. The Panthers’ run a fast-paced no-huddle offense so it’s basically spot duty for Steinke at left tackle. It would be interesting to see how Steinke would fair as a power run blocker, but all their linemen start out on two feet. He is a stalwart at defensive tackle however. Teams run away from him, though against good linemen he doesn’t demand a double-team. Need to see more pop and meanness out of him in there.
Class of 2014
Dayton Wierenga 6-2 210 Jr DL Allendale
Allendale was knocked out in the first round of the Division 4 playoffs by Comstock Park. Don’t be surprised if the Falcons don’t make a much longer run in 2013. They return all kinds of talent, including their three leading tacklers — Wierenga, 6-1, 200 junior linebacker Colin Beebe and 5-11, 180 soph linebacker Jon Nielson, plus two promising interior linemen in 6-4, 230 Glenn Geurink and 6-3, 220 Aareon DeWeerd, both juniors. Wierenga not only led the team in tackles, but he and Beebe both finished the season with six sacks apiece. Wierenga plays defensive end for Allendale and projects to the next level as an outside linebacker because of his speed. He doesn’t just get by on being fast, there’s some nice technique for a young player, showing quick hands on his swim move.
Allendale’s young talent isn’t limited to the defensive side of the ball. In 2013 they’ll also return 5-11, 165 junior QB Haiden Majewski, leading rusher Ethan Hovingh a 6-0, 180 sophomore and leading receiver Nate Couturier, a 5-10, 130 sophomores. Hovingh was injured and didn’t play in October, including the playoff loss to Comstock Park. But Couturier did, and is the kind of playmaker who has to be accounted for at all times. He’s a flyer, and kind of has to be at 130 pounds. As a freshman, he finished second in the 300-meter and fifth in the 110-meter hurdles a t the Division 2 state finals. For this football season, he had 44 catches for 836 yards and 12 TDs, and also had a 90-yard kickoff return.
Class of 2013
- Tyler White 6-6 235 Sr Plainwell Illinois
- Zach Crouch 6-5 235 Sr Grand Rapids Christian Central Michigan
- Jake Bull 6-7 225 Sr Hudsonville
- Nic Lamica 6-4 215 Sr Forest Hills Central
- Greg Krusniak 6-7 230 Sr Greenville
- Zach Decker 6-5 210 Sr Schoolcraft
- Hunter Folkertsma 6-6 230 Sr Forest Hills Central
- Adam Walma 6-4 220 Sr Caledonia
- Jack Jennings 6-2 218 Sr Paw Paw
- Mike O’Brien 6-3 210 Sr Maple City Glen Lake
- Luke VanEssen 6-4 210 Sr Kenowa Hills
- Reed Stormzand 6-0 205 Sr Lowell
- Amilio Florez 6-4 255 Sr Fruitport
- Patrick Cvengros 6-2 185 Sr East Grand Rapids
- Cari Campbell 6-2 220 Sr Muskegon Catholic Central
Class of 2014
- Jordan VanDort 6-6 290 Jr Zeeland West
- Jake Kaczynski 6-5 240 Jr Ludington
- Drake Baar 6-7 210 Jr Comstock Park
- Elliott Jordan 6-7 230 Jr East Kentwood
- Mike Warren 6-6 220 Jr Fruitport Calvary Christian*
- school doesn’t offer football
Class of 2013
Michael Custer 6-2 175 Sr QB Zeeland East
He doesn’t pile up ridiculous passing numbers because ZE has two 1,000-yard rushers. In that mix, Custer does his job as a high IQ QB who does a good job spreading the ball around and making adjustments and is a huge reason they’re 9-0. His poised belies the fact that his is his first year as the starting quarterback. Custer has stepped up and made big throws when the Chix really needed him, most recently in Zeeland East’s one-point win over Muskegon. Custer completed 21-of-33 passes for 340 yards and two TDs in that one. For the season he’s hit on 103-of-163 throws for 1,421 yards and 17 TDs to only one interception. He’s also run for five TDs.
Zach Shepard 6-1 280 Sr OL East Jordan
It was a breakthrough season for a number of Lake Michigan Conference teams. East Jordan wasn’t one of them. But it was through no fault of their center, Shepard, who looks headed towards all-league honors for the second straight season. He’s been terrific as both a snapper and blocker for the Red Devils, with no missed snaps either on offense or special teams. Shepard finished in the top 10 for bench press at our Traverse City combine in July. As good as he is with his technique and strength, Shepard will have to show he’s fast enough to get out and contribute at the second level to keep plays alive.
Johndries Betts-Render 5-9 180 Sr RB Muskegon Reeths-Puffer
Reeths-Puffer’s junior offensive line got better and better as the season went on — including a season-ending win against Mona Shores — and Betts-Render was one of the main beneficiaries. He finished the season with 142 carries for 1,163 yards and 16 TDs.
Class of 2014
Spencer Viening 6-0 215 Sr RB/LB Zeeland East
There was a lot of talent on the field for Zeeland East’s win over Muskegon. But two players stood above the rest, because they weren’t just big, they weren’t just fast, but they played with a motor and great football instincts — Viening and another junior, Muskegon’s 6-4, 265 junior Kenneth Finley. Viening is a patient cutback runner who you aren’t going to bring down if you try to fool around above the waist. His 69-yard TD had a little bit of everything — speed, power, a spinning evasion and a nose to finish the play. He was just as good from his linebacker position, making the right reads to fill the holes and busting through Muskegon’s highly touted line to make plays in the backfield. Viening was the first one to put a helmet on Jalen Smith when East stymied the Big Reds’ go-ahead two-point attempt with a minute to play.
Class of 2013
Caledonia Defense: five seniors
Despite playing in the toughest league in the Lake’s coverage area, the O-K White, Caledonia is playoff-bound at 6-2 heading into Friday’s game at East Grand Rapids. Much of that success can be contributed to the Scots’ defense. While they have yet to toss a shutout, they’ve held four teams to just a touchdown, and last week held Lowell to 14 points, the Red Arrows’ lowest total of the season. On that Caledonia defense there are a number of seniors wit college potential. A prospect we really like is versatile, athletic senior Heath Hoogerhyde, who hwas been getting it done since his sophomore season. He starts at safety and running back, where he can catch out of the backfield or make power runs. But at 6-1, 215 could also project as a fast linebacker at the next level, who is smart in coverage and covers a lot of space, filling gaps or coming around the end.Another playmaker is 6-2, 205 senior Isaac Androsiak, who is also a capable wide receiver. The middle linebacker showed his versatility in the Lowell game, when he had an interception then later blitzed to force a QB fumble. His speed and athleticism are Androsiak’s calling card — he can catch and put a licking on receivers –but he’s strong enough to get in there and take on linemen when he has to. 6-2, 205 senior Tanner Ellens isn’t as quick as Hoogerhyde or Androsiak, but he showed against Lowell he can contribute in different ways himself, with a sack and returning a pick for a TD. Up front, at right defensive tackle, senior Adam Walma has the physical tools at 6-4, 220 with a 4.9 40. You have to stay on him for the play’s duration, because he has a motor and makes plays on second and third efforts. He’s also a starting tight end, where Walma serves mostly as a blocker, and Caledonia’s punter. 5-9, 165 senior Justin Krueger is Caledonia’s top cover man, and also provides a speed option out of the offensive backfield.
Jake Bull 6-7 225 Sr DL/TE Hudsonville
At 2-6, Hudsonville is about to close the book on its worst season in 15 years. But amidst the struggles, one bright spot has been the play of Bull. Of senior tight ends in the Lake Michigan area, Bull may have the best combination of size/athleticism/blocking/receiving. While he doesn’t have the swivel to be much of a yac guy, Bull is quick off the line and a big, reliable target. Defensively, Bull lines up at left end. He’s a physical presence pressuring the quarterback, and can use his size to tip balls.
Houston Glass 6-1 190 Sr DB East Kentwood
Like Hudsy, EK is another O-K Red school that has fallen on hard times despite a D1 senior, in this case Glass, who has committed to Buffalo. He’s a third-year starter with good if not elite speed for the position — 4.55 40 yards, 10.9 100 meters. This season for the 3-5 (1-3 league) Falcons, Glass is their leading rusher with 80 carries for 393 yards and six TDs and also has caught two TDs.
Adam Vosburg 6-2 185 Sr RB Gobles
Vosburg is one of those players who can be tough for college coaches to project because of his level of competition. There’s no denying his high school production. He’s run 150 times for 1,184 yards and 22 TDs. As a junior he ran for 1,459 yards and 24 TDs. Vosburg’s the proverbial “man amongst boys” at the small school level, with reported 4.5 speed and the legs that made him all-state in the high jump, with a pr of 6-4. He’s terrific between tackles, as he’s hard to wrap because of his strength and hip action, and often delivers hits harder than those he’s receiving. He also plays defensive end for Gobles, and could project to linebacker or safety.
Class of 2014
Jake Swander 5-11 170 Jr QB Grayling
Swander is living the dream. Grayling goes into Friday’s Game of the Week at Boyne City undefeated and playing for the Lake Michigan Conference title. He’s quarterbacking for the school where he was once a ballboy, and now will leave as a record setter. In his first season, he’s completed 136-of-256 passes for 2,402 yards and 20 TDs to four interceptions. As a shorter quarterback who keeps his feet and can make all the throws in a QB friendly offense, Swander resembles –stylistically– Drew Brees. And as he’s doing it left-handed (again, in manner of play) gives kind of a Tyler Palko look. Playing out of a spread shotgun, Swander benefits from good protection, and can also throw on the move both with momentum and against his body. He has a real nice looking ball, and can mix up velocity and placement depending on the circumstances.
Class of 2013
Trevor Sweeney 5-9 170 Sr RB Mattawan
Even though he’s our No. 1 ranked senior running back, Sweeney is still a bit of a unknown player outside the greater Kalamazoo area. But that should change soon because he’s been nothing short of spectacular this year for undefeated Mattawan, with many big games including a seven TD effort against St. Joseph. For the season he’s run 81 times for 1,071 yards and 20 TDs, with 1,642 in total yardage and 23 TDs. Sweeney is a shifty runner with good speed and great elusiveness. He’s a big play threat every time he touches the ball. Not only is he a good football player he’s also a great student with a 3.9 GPA and 27 on his ACT. Mattawan coach Matt Stephens spoke highly of his tailback: “I’ve been coaching for 20 years and I’ve never coached a player like him.”
Friday night linebacker prospects: Otsego’s Brandan Campbell & Paw Paw’s Jack Jennings
These guys are two of the Lake Michigan area’s highest rated senior linebackers, though Campbell is playing defensive tackle. Campbell and Jennings go both ways, so they’ll be running into each other Friday when 7-0 Paw Paw goes to 6-1 Otsego. Campbell is 6-0, 225. He made his reputation as a workout warrior with an uncanny combination of speed and power, who has now made himself into a legit football player. Even during this season, you can see his running technique improve, as he keeps his pad level lower, makes a smaller target. He’s fast enough to turn the corner on pitch outs then deliver contact for extra yardage, and can also get the tough interior yards because of his strength, balance and churning legs. He moves the pile and has a knack for falling forward. While Campbell is being recruited as a linebacker, his strength and motor allows Otsego to play him as an interior lineman.
Jennings is 6-2, 220. He’s good at maintaining his position and not biting, and is able to slip blockers and avoid contact and slide to ball-carriers to make plays. Plays upright so is faster than he looks, and is able to go sideline-to-sideline. Jennings has also thrived as a wide receiver for undefeated Paw Paw. The traits that make him successful on the defensive side of the ball are also relevant here, as he’s a big target who runs disciplined routes and has a knack for finding open space. Jennings may be on the verge of getting an Illinois State offer. How he can turn flexibly and fast to cover wide receivers as well as play the position, could be the difference between Jennings ending up at a ranked FCS program like Illinois State or the GLIAC, and the MAC.
West Ottawa receivers: Ato Condolee & Ryan VerHelst
West Ottawa continues to get better and is a win away from the playoffs. Senior QB Tyler VanTubbergen has some weapons to work with, especially Condolee a 6-1, 180 senior and VerHelst a 6-1, 170 senior. An all-state long and high jumper, Condolee is more compact and powerful. He gets into top speed with just a few steps and makes plays over the middle, adding yards after the catch as he can both break or elude tacklers. He also has lined up at running back. Facing fewer double-teams than his teammate, the thinner, lankier, long-stride VerHelst is by no means slow. He’s the deep threat, WO’s Jordy Nelson to Condolee’s Greg Jennings. Starting at corner, VerHelst makes more plays in the defensive backfield than Condolee, and rarely leaves the field because he’s a threat as a return man. Against Rockford VerHelst caught a TD pass, returned an interception for a score and had a 95-yard punt return TD called back because of a block to the back. He returned a punt 85-yards for a TD against Hudsonville.
Class of 2014
Zach Evans 6-3 240 Jr DL Kenowa Hills
We fell in love with him the very first day of the season, an August Thursday Kenowa Hills win over TC West. Evans moved from being a standup linebacker to projecting as an outstanding six- or seven-technique guy who gets off the ball well and is tough in pursuit. He’s a secret no longer, and is scheduled to be in Ann Arbor for Michigan’s homecoming gamed with Illinois.
Brandon Childress 6-2 170 So QB Baldwin
A dual-threat quarterback who has been living in the shadow of teammate Andon Ware, a star tailback for the Panthers. Childress is completing over 60 percent of his passes and has multiple games with rushing and passing TDs. With a strong arm and a high football IQ, Childress is the leader of the 5-2 Panthers squad and he’s only a sophomore. He’s also a college prospect on the hardwood.
Class of 2013
Tyler White 6-6 240 Sr ATH Plainwell
We’ve already featured him twice that season — with good reason, he can play and White’s best football is ahead of him. His first offer came over the weekend from Illinois, and he has committed to the Illini. He’s Plainwell’s second Big Ten recruit in as many seasons, as Jack Conlkin is a red-shirt freshman lineman at Michigan State.
Tristan Eickenroth 6-1 200 Sr RB Kingsley
He broke his arm in Kingsley’s week 1 win over St. Francis, and returned Friday in a loss to Glen Lake. Eickenroth is a GLIAC priority recruit because he brings size and 4.6 speed to running back or receiver. There may not be a player at his size and Northern Michigan who can turn the corner like Eickenroth. Great balance, vision, bounces off tacklers, he’s a legit runner. When he had two good arms, at least, he could come out of the backfield to catch passes in stride. With his feet back under him, Eickenroth will be a major factor as Kingsley plays for a playoff berth.
Greg Krusniak 6-7 230 TE Greenville
Greenville’s best pure football player is 6-1, 240 pound senior nose guard Colt Harrington. Long term, given the physical dimensions of the college game, it could be Krusniak. The Yellowjackets certainly have a luxury in him at the high school level, a big target with soft hands. He plays a variety of roles, sometimes as a run blocker, often lining up split wide. With 5.0 speed he’s not a threat to take it to the house, but he’s pretty smooth after the catch with a knack for making the first man miss and gets first downs or TDs in the red zone. The question with Krusniak as a basketball prospect has been his motivation and drive. With consistent effort in football, he’s a scholarship tight end because while he won’t wow you, he has too many tools to ignore. With the top two tight ends off the board, Plainwell’s Tyler White and GR Christian’s Zach Crouch to Illinois and Central Michigan respectively, Krusniak becomes that much more valuable a target.
Zach Hill 5-11 180 Sr RB Kalkaska
It’s somewhat fitting that in St. Francis’ first season after being ousted from the Lake Michigan Conference, the league is as egalitarian and competitive as ever (but even more, ironic that this is also the first year ever that TCSF has lost to more than one team from the LMC). Kalkaska has surprised many at 4-2. Hill shares both the offensive and defensive backfields with two 11th-grade junior prospects, 6-3, 185 Will Noble and 6-1, 220 Kaleb Hauser. Hill is the quickest and most explosive of the group, at out Traverse City combine he ran a 4.7 40 and 4.27 pro shuttle with a 30-inch vertical and 9-4 broad jump. He’s best running between the tackles and at this level can get tough yardage. That said, Hill may find it less crowded as a DB projecting to the next level.
Ethan Campbell 5-10 175 So RB Traverse City Central
Campbell had his coming out party in TC Central’s biggest game of the year, Friday’s win over TC West. Campbell played the defensive side of the ball for much of the year and hadn’t taken many reps at running back. With senior Nate Pupel sidelined due to injury, Campbell go the call and was nothing short of spectacular scoring four TDS four different ways — caught one, returned one, ran one and threw for one on a faked punt. Love his athleticism as he currently squats close to 500 pounds and notched a vertical jump of 31 inches at our July combine.
Zach McGuire 6-1 180 ATH Traverse City West
He plays receiver and defensive back for TC West, with the desirable combination of size and speed to play on either side of the ball at the next level. As a receiver, McGuire runs good routes and catches the ball at its highest point. At corner, he often plays man coverage and has solid technique for someone his age. You can also see his athleticism on the basketball court, where McGuire will be a four-year varsity player.