He was a prolific receiver under two quarterbacks during his career at Forest Hills Eastern and as a senior a crucial weapon on the best team in school history. Ryan Knight caught 49 passes for 873 yards and 10 TDs on FHE’s Division 4 state semifinalist. After the season, he showed the physical bona fides and skill that helped that success at the Lake Michigan Football Report Senior Camp in Grand Rapids, where he was named the top prospect.
Knight came down wrong on an ankle later in the day, but he’d already shown enough. He has a college physique at 6-2, 200 and buoyed those tools with a pair of 4.6 40-yard dashes. Not only is Knight an ideal target, but he was able to make adjustments and go get the ball. Throw in grades and test score, and any GLIAC program looking for a red zone receiver should be all over him.
OL Keegan Golder 6-5 270 Sr Grand Rapids Forest Hills Eastern
A plus athlete at right tackle who emerged as a star in his third year as a starter for the school-best 11-2 Hawks. Golder anchored an offense that averaged over 37 points a game before running into state champion Zeeland West in the Division 4 semifinals. MAC level prospect with his frame and feet (athletic enough that he sometimes lined up at tight end).
OL Phil Paea 6-4 270 Jr Berrien Springs
Division 5 Berrien Springs, of all places, is emerging as a hotbed of Power 5 line prospects. Nick Padla is at MSU, Johnny Williams is at Notre Dame, and now comes Paea, who already has a BYU offer while being recruited by half the Big Ten. The former fullback is an athletic guard who helped clear the way for Malik McIntyre’s big senior season running the ball.
OL Mitchell Davis 6-5 260 Sr Lowell
With Davis at tackle and fellow senior Karson Morley at guard, the right side of Lowell’s line was as tough as any in the Lake Area. The Division 2 state runners-up averaged 43 points per game.
OL Michael VanHoeven 6-5 300 Sr Paw Paw
While skill injuries slowed down a typically potent Paw Paw attack, VanHoeven was an All-Wolverine Conference guard for the third straight season. With Thiyo Lukusa moving to New Jersey and Traverse City West’s Jacob Cerny hurt. VanHoeven was the top ranked line prospect in the Lake Area. He committed early to Eastern Michigan and recently passed on a preferred walk on offer to Notre Dame.
OL Derices Brown 6-1 280 Sr Muskegon
A three-year starter at guard who helped the transition for junior QB Kalil Pimpleton, who emerged as one of the most feared weapons in the Lake Area both running and throwing for 1,000 yards apiece. A grinder at the point of attack but athletic enough to get into the second level, Brown also played on the D line the only Big Red to go both ways.
QB Ryan Stevens 6-2 165 Sr Lowell
He fulfilled the expectations of the Lowell QB legacy, leading the Red Arrows to the Division 2 state final. Stevens threw for 2,737 yards and 31 TDs while running for 1,107 yards and 21 TDs.
RB Monterio Smith 5-10 180 Sr Comstock Park
Comstock Park’s answer to Ronnie Harmon catching balls out of the backfield. He made 74 catches for 993 yards and 12 TDs while running it 109 times for 706 yards and 16 TDs.
RB Nolan Meekhof 6-1 230 Sr Grandville
No back in the Lake Area shared Meekhof’s combination of size and speed. In eight games for the Bulldogs (they were 6-2 when Meekhof played, 0-2 without him), he rushed for 1,224 yards and 10 TDs on 173 carries. He also had a TD catch. Meekhof recently received a preferred walk on offer from Minnesota.
WR Hunter Boersma 6-2 190 Sr Muskegon Mona Shores
The Lake Area’s top ranked senior prospect, headed to WMU, did it all for the 10-1 Sailors. A repeat All-Area selection, Broersma started both ways and also saw time at QB and had seven TD catches while also scoring TDs via the run, pass, punt return and interception return.
WR Gabe Steed 6-1 180 Sr Lowell
A game-breaker since being called up during his sophomore season, Steed is a repeat All-Lake selection. During the regular season he had 30 receptions for 673 yards and 11 TDs. He also started at cornerback for the Red Arrows.
WR Nick Turowski 6-1 180 Sr Comstock Park
Hooked up with senior QB Pat Naughton for one of the most prolific receiving seasons in Lake Area history. Turowski had 113 receptions — a state record — for 1,474 yards and 12 TDs. His 18 catches against Allendale are also a state record.
DL Zach VanValkenburg 6-4 240 Sr Zeeland West
A middle linebacker as a junior who moved back to his more natural hybrid end spot, where VanValkenburg dominated for the Division 4 state champion Dux. He made 60 tackles, including 20 behind the line. He also started on offense at right tackle.
DL Carl Myers 6-3 260 Sr Grand Rapids West Catholic
He continues the West Catholic tradition of having dominant defensive linemen on state championship teams. Myers was bull strong at his right end position making 55 tackles and also went the other way as the Falcons’ right tackle on offense.
DL Nate Umlor 6-6 245 Jr Allendale
With St. Joseph’s Corey Hatcher-Malone injured, Umlor emerged as the top active college prospect in the Lake Area’s 2017 class, a high-major recruit as either a defensive end or tight end.
LB Dom Shermeta 6-0 215 Sr Muskegon Mona Shores
He was Mona Shores leading tackler for three years, which coincided with the best seasons in school history. He made 75 tackles for the Sailors and was also their leading rusher.
LB Max Dean 5-11 185 Sr Lowell
The stalwart of a defense that got the Red Arrows to the Division 2 state championship game. Dean led Lowell with 76 tackles, including 9 ½ sacks, during their regular season which included an undefeated O-K White title.
LB Nate Jones 6-1 205 Sr Muskegon Catholic Central
He was a four-year starter for the Crusaders, including three state championship teams. Jones made 80 tackles and fie interceptions for the Division 8 state titlist.
LB Luke Sage 6-1 195 Sr Boyne City
A repeat selection who led the Ramblers to consecutive Division 6 district crowns. Sage had 141 tackles, including 21 for loss, and over 400 as a three-year starter.
DB Jacob Buchberger 6-1 185 Sr Montague
He led the Lake Area with 11 intceptions and made 70 tackles for a team that went undefeated in the West Michigan Conference. As Montague’s QB, Buchberger ran for 1,531 yards and 21 TDs and threw for 1,005 and 15 TDs.
DB Tyler Bradfield 6-0 200 Sr Rockford
A repeat All-Lake selection, and justifiably so as Bradfield will go down as one of the best all-around players in Rockford history. He had 70 tackles, including six for loss, and two interceptions (one of them a 74-yard TD return). Bradfield also ran for two TDs, passed for a TD, caught seven TDs and returned two kicks for TDs.
DB Brayden Smith 6-4 180 Jr Byron Center
A rangy safety with a three-foot vertical leap who made 53 stops for the Bulldogs’ Division 2 playoff team. On offense he 626 yards and 10 TDs, while from special teams Smith was named an all-state punter.
DB Jake Sypniweski 5-10 160 Sr Grand Rapids Forest Hills Eastern
Key member of a defense that helped FHE to an historic season, winning a regional in Division 4. Sypniewski’s eight interceptions were the most of anyone from an O-K conference team, while making 50 tackles. Offensively he scored six TDs.
- This is the sixth installment of the fourth-annual Lake Michigan Football Report post-season honors, the Class of 2017 team for juniors who didn’t make either their division or Overall All-Area Offensive and Defensive Teams. Unlike the LMFR’s prospect rankings, the All-Lake teams are based on players’ performances in the 2015 season, not college potential.
OL Nick White 6-1 260 Jr Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central
OL Turner Ruby 6-4 285 Jr East Kentwood
OL Reide Klinger 6-4 265 Jr Jenison
OL Lane Potter 6-3 265 Jr Hudsonville
OL Caleb TenBroeke 6-1 215 Jr Zeeland West
TE Connor Chupailo 6-4 260 Jr Zeeland West
TE Keegan Coussou 6-5 225 Jr Greenville
QB Griffin Beaudette 6-0 165 Jr St. Joseph
RB Nick Isley 6-3 180 Jr Rockford
RB Vernonell Smith 6-0 190 Jr North Muskegon
WR Jacorey Sullivan 6-3 205 Jr Muskegon
MVP Drew Couturier 5-10 140 Jr WR Allendale
DL Ben Sherwin 6-5 240 Jr Traverse City Central
DL Michael Doyle 6-4 225 Jr Lowell
DL Kyle Koetje 6-2 225 Jr Montague
LB Fitz Doud 6-1 195 Jr Traverse City Central
LB Jordan Watkins 5-7 170 Jr Fennville
LB Levi Six 5-9 175 Jr LB Fruitport
DB John Pupel 6-1 180 Jr Traverse City Central
DB Eric Coley 5-9 175 Jr Portage Northern
DB DJ Lowery 5-10 175 Jr Remus Chippewa Hills
DB Zach Zenner 5-10 175 Jr Grand Rapids West Catholic
DB Brady Paganelli 5-10 160 Jr Grandville
MVP Walker Christoffersen 5-9 175 Jr DB Muskegon Catholic Central
- Predicted winners are italicized.
- All games are played at Detroit’s Ford Field.
- Playoff picks record: 72-16.
Grand Rapids West Catholic 11-2 vs. River Rouge 12-1, 4:30 pm
And then there was one! What a program River Rouge has become. But their time isn’t quite yet. West Catholic has so many weapons, especially now with a healthy David Fox back in the lineup.
- This is the fifth installment of the fourth-annual Lake Michigan Football Report post-season honors, the Underclassman All-Lake Team for standoug varsity freshmen and sophomores. Following will be the Class of 2017 and Overall All-Area Offensive and Defensive Teams. Unlike the LMFR’s prospect rankings, the All-Lake teams are based on players’ performances in the 2015 season, not college potential.
OL Antwan Reed 6-7 285 So Muskegon
OL Cody Carone 6-4 290 So Rockford
OL Jalen Mayfield 6-5 225 So Grand Rapids Catholic Central
OL Brett Taylor 5-10 205 So Comstock Park
OL Parker Kingma 6-4 280 So Grand Haven
TE Ryan Hayes 6-6 240 So Traverse City West
QB Jason Whittaker 6-4 185 So Rockford
RB Caden Peters 5-8 155 So Grand Rapids Forest Hills Eastern
RB Darius Clayton 6-0 190 Fr St. Joseph
WR Cobe Huizenga 5-6 155 So Zeeland East
WR Trey Gray 5-7 160 Fr Niles
MVP: Gaetano Vallone 5-10 160 So QB Grand Rapids West Catholic
DL Jarius Ballard 5-10 230 So Buchanan
DL Hunter Stearns 6-3 210 So Hudsonville
DL Dallas Rogers 6-1 280 So Fruitport
LB Bryce Stark 5-10 165 Fr Montague
LB Jordan Ringler 5-9 175 Fr Cedar Springs
LB Toby Hulst 6-0 200 So Grand Rapids South Christian
LB Miko Rodriguez 6-0 185 So Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central
LB Jalen Shaffer 6-1 185 So Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian
DB Marcus Remtma 6-0 170 So Rockford
DB John Todd 5-11 170 So Cedar Springs
DB Darius Barfield 5-10 150 So Grand Rapids Christian
MVP: Anthony Wade 5-6 160 So LB Hartford
- Predicted winners are italicized.
- All games are played at Detroit’s Ford Field.
- Playoff picks record: 70-15.
Muskegon Catholic Central 10-2 vs. Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes 13-0, 10 am
This isn’t quite the Catholic Central behemoth of their back-to-back defending state champions and the Lakers are very strong up front, but their plethora of skill players should be able to mix it up enough to give WOLL its first loss of 2015.
Lowell 12-1 vs. Detroit King 13-0, 1 pm
Two championship programs, with Lowell doing it in Division 2 in 2009, two years after Detroit King won it all. Both teams went undefeated in top leagues this season, Lowell in the O-K White and MLK in the Detroit PSL. A case-in-point of why we started the Lake Michigan Football Report, watch Lowell senior game-breaker Gabe Steed. He’s every bit as talented as the King skill guys and their myriad D1 offers, while the three-year Lowell standout doesn’t have even a MAC offer. Yet. Unless there is a leak in the Ford Field roof, the Red Arrows won’t have the Muskegon-alleged advantage of a soft track like in the semifinals.
Zeeland West 13-0 vs. Flint Powers 11-2, 7:30 pm
This could be the largest score discrepancy of the opening day. West’s Unity Christian game was an anomaly, hard to beat the same team twice in the same season etc. The annihilation of Forest Hills Eastern in the semifinals was a return to the mean for the Dux.
- This is the fourth installment of the fourth-annual Lake Michigan Football Report post-season honors, the Division 3-4 All-Lake Team. Following will be the Underclassman, Class of 2017 and Overall All-Area Offensive and Defensive Teams. Unlike the LMFR’s prospect rankings, the All-Lake teams are based on players’ performances in the 2015 season, not college potential.
OL Andy Rietveld 6-6 300 Sr Saugatuck
OL Jacob Lechner 6-2 260 Sr Harbor Springs
OL Jacob Holt 6-0 235 Sr Muskegon Catholic Central
OL Caleb Wisniski 6-4 255 Sr Onekama
OL Zach Smith 5-11 230 Sr Suttons Bay
TE Chase Fairfield 6-4 215 Jr North Muskegon
TE Joseph Cleary 6-1 205 Sr Hartford
QB Christian Martinez 6-2 175 Sr Muskegon Catholic Central
RB Julian Sheriff 5-11 220 Jr Bridgman
RB LaTommy Scott 5-7 160 Jr Muskegon Catholic Central
WR Brandon Bean 6-3 205 Sr Baldwin
Offensive MVP: Blake Dunn 5-11 170 Jr QB Saugatuck
DL Nate Fox 6-2 215 Sr Johannesburg-Lewiston
DL Sam Jones 6-1 220 Sr Bridgman
DL Gabe Ramos 6-2 305 Sr Hesperia
DL Adam Benoit 6-0 215 Sr Muskegon Catholic Central
LB Duke Angers 6-1 230 Jr Maple City Glen Lake
LB Austin Green 5-10 195 Sr Cassopolis
LB Logan Huff 5-10 170 Sr Johannesburg-Lewiston
LB Colton Burke 6-2 215 Sr Gobles
DB Kole Hollenbeck 5-11 175 Sr Frankfort
DB Ben Hicks 5-9 160 Sr Central Lake
DB Davian Gowens 5-8 155 Sr Hesperia
Defensive MVP: Nate Jones 6-0 210 Sr LB Muskegon Catholic Central
Coach of the Year: Aaron Sims, Hesperia
- This is the third installment of the fourth-annual Lake Michigan Football Report post-season honors, the Division 3-4 All-Lake Team. Following will be the Division 7-8, Underclassman, Class of 2017 and Overall All-Area Offensive and Defensive Teams. Unlike the LMFR’s prospect rankings, the All-Lake teams are based on players’ performances in the 2015 season, not college potential.
OL Cameron Wright 6-3 290 Sr Grant
OL Jacob McDowell 6-2 290 Sr Lawton
OL Claude Ockert 6-1 200 Jr Kingsley
OL Joe Marsh 6-3 235 Sr Montague
OL Taylor Pelton 6-2 200 Sr Reed City
QB Spencer Peterson 6-5 230 Sr Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian
RB Malik Smith 5-9 210 Sr Boyne City
RB Cameron Brayman 5-10 195 Sr Montague
RB Andre Jones 5-6 160 Sr Reed City
WR TJ Swore 6-2 200 Sr Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian
WR James Cooper 6-3 165 Sr Muskegon Oakridge
Offensive MVP: Jacob Buchberger 6-1 185 Sr QB Montague
DL Dalton Riddle 6-1 190 Jr Buchanan
DL David Curl 6-3 250 Sr Watervliet
DL Dru McFadden 6-0 275 Sr Traverse City St. Francis
DL Tanner Kruzel 6-2 200 Sr Boyne City
LB Steven Spenner 6-3 215 Jr Berrien Springs
LB Char Willekes 6-1 200 Jr Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian
LB Tyler Picardat 5-11 180 Sr Traverse City St. Francis
LB Sam Neville 6-3 195 Jr Grand Rapids West Catholic
DB Gabe Callery 5-9 190 Jr Traverse City St. Francis
DB Ricky Clark 6-0 180 Jr Schoolcraft
DB Nate Wahr 6-3 175 Sr Muskegon Oakridge
Defensive MVP: Carl Myers 6-3 260 Sr DL Grand Rapids West Catholic
Coach of the Year: Dan Rohn, Grand Rapids West Catholic
- This is the second installment of the fourth-annual Lake Michigan Football Report post-season honors, the Division 3-4 All-Lake Team. Following will be the Division 5-6, Division 7-8, Underclassman, Class of 2017 and Overall All-Area Offensive and Defensive Teams. Unlike the LMFR’s prospect rankings, the All-Lake teams are based on players’ performances in the 2015 season, not college potential.
OL Sam Balke 6-2 235 Sr Grand Rapids Forest Hills Eastern
OL Kyle Augustine 6-3 320 Sr Gaylord
OL Case Overweg 6-2 260 Sr Hudsonville Unity Christian
OL James Haverkamp 6-6 260 Sr Grand Rapids Christian
OL Patrick DiPiazza 6-3 260 Jr Cedar Springs
TE Jayk Slager 6-4 230 Jr Zeeland West
QB Casey Brinks 6-0 170 Sr Zeeland West
RB Darius Perisee 5-8 160 Sr Zeeland West
RB Brent Murray 5-10 190 Sr Petoskey
WR Ryan Knight 6-2 205 Sr Grand Rapids Forest Hills Eastern
WR Jordan Brewer 6-2 180 Sr St. Joseph
Offensive MVP: Pat Naughton 6-2 200 Sr QB Comstock Park
DL Johnathan Berghorst 6-3 260 Jr Zeeland East
DL Brendan Oosse 6-2 240 Sr East Grand Rapids
DL Taylor VanDyke 6-3 215 Sr Cedar Springs
DL Nate Lay 6-0 250 Sr Zeeland West
LB Joe Dault 6-1 190 Sr Grand Rapids Forest Hills Eastern
LB Tyler Lamica 6-3 205 Sr Grand Rapids Christian
LB Jared Mika 6-0 195 Sr Grand Rapids Catholic Central
DB Dakota Geurink 6-0 185 Sr Zeeland West
DB Michael Clifford 6-0 165 Sr East Grand Rapids
DB Dante Razzano 6-2 190 Sr Sr Edwardsburg
DB Garret Lundteigen 5-10 165 Sr Petoskey
Defensive MVP: Zach VanValkenburg 6-4 240 Sr DL Zeeland West
Coach of the Year: Gandalf Church, St. Joseph