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Badger Sports 7v7: Midwest Recap
A Midwest team won the whole deal as Michigan Preps 1, lead by the outstanding play of quarterback Cooper Rush and big play receiver Jamal Lyes, took him the trophy and booked themselves a spot for nationals in Dallas. Our full review of their team's top performers can be found here. AWP This group from the Fort Wayne area played very well over the two days, and lost a heart breaker in elimination play. Leading the way was quarterback James Knapke. We saw him play during the year last year and thought he had potential and he's made strides since then even. He has a quick, snappy release and throws darts. He can really get passes into tight coverage. When schools see him throw in person this summer, he should move closer to some offers. One of his go-to guys was Derek Snep of Whitko. It's a small school, but Snep has big time talent. He's 6'3 and big enough that he might even grow into a tight end. He has great hands and ball skills and is definitely one to watch. Sophomore linebacker Jaylon Smith is a big time athlete. He's 6'3, 220-lbs and can move and bend like a much smaller player. He's going to be a national type recruit by the time he's a senior. Watching him run with running backs on wheel routes, you just knew you were watching a great, great athlete. His high school teammate, Kendrick Mullen is a great cover corner. He's smaller right now, but he has good hips and technique. Goon Squad This team was made up of guys from all over the country, but had a few Midwest kids. The team was hampered by having smaller numbers as several kids had prom and other events and could not make it. That cut down on the weapons at quarterback Zeke Pike's disposal, but he still had a good weekend. Having played basketball all winter, I think he was a little rusty at first, but he shook that off and played better and better throughout the tournament. He is capable of making all the throws and throws with beautiful touch on his deep balls. The recipient of many of those deep balls was Gehrig Dieter. This kid can really play. He has great size at 6'3, 210-lbs, and he can flat out go get the ball. Outstanding ball skills. He also had a good weekend on defense, making several interceptions. Whoever gets this kid is getting a great pure football player. Expect more offers coming his way over the summer. The other big play receiver was Pike's high school teammate Goose Cohorn. Cohorn may not be the tallest guy, but he gets open consistently and made some really tough catches. I don't think this guy drops passes. He is very very sure handed. On defense, the other Indiana guy was Jonathan Reed from Pike. Reed can play corner or safety and did a little of both. He is not the biggest guy, but has good closing speed and showed good instincts. Michigan Rising Stars The player to watch on this squad is Victor Edge from Detroit Henry Ford. I don't know what he is, but he's 6'3, around 195 and is a good athlete. He's probably a future linebacker. Michigan Preps 2 They did not go as far as their counterparts, but this team still did very well for itself and a lot of these kids helped themselves a lot. These guys impressed me defensively. They were a tough team to score points against and they came up with a lot of turnovers. Grand Blanc linebacker Lester Liston is one guy I loved on film with his blitzing and hitting ability, but he showed here that he could cover, coming away with a couple interceptions and pass breakups. Lairren Johnson, a cornerback from Warren Lincoln really emerged. He can really cover. He also has great ball skills and made a couple of highlight reel interceptions. He's one to watch for over the summer. If Johnson wasn't getting interceptions, then it was Grand Blanc's Jordan Field-Shipley, a rangy free safety who always seemed to be in good position. Max Ex Riders The quarterback, Kevin Biscoe from Cass Tech has some ability. He has good size and a very strong arm. He was turnover prone and threw late over the middle a few times. If he can cut down on his mistakes, he has a chance, because he's athletic and has good spin and velocity on his passes. One of the receivers that impressed on this squad was Brad Ford Academy's Nicholas Sweat, who made a lot of tough catches for his team. Defensively, the guy to watch is Gary Hosey, a freshman at Farmington Hills Harrison who looks poised to be a big time recruit by the time he's a junior and senior. He's very well built already and has a good burst. Renegades Quarterback Troy Bitterle had a nice weekend even though this team was a little overmatched. He has solid size, a good arm and threw it really well this weekend. As a staff, we liked what we saw from him. Central Kentucky Quarterback Benjamin Lawler had a nice weekend. He needs to fill out and do some refining of his mechanics, but he throws a nice, accurate, catchable ball. Kentucky commit Josh Harris is a nice athlete with solid size and can play both sides of the ball. Max Ex Blitz This was a loaded team from Detroit and they made a great run through the tournament. 2013 Shane Morris came in with a lot of hype now that he has picked up a few offers. Early on, it took him some time to get comfortable I think, but by day two, we saw why he's considered one of the top quarterbacks in his class. He can make all the throws. His deep outs have great zip on them and he can hit a seam route 40 yards down field on a rope. He has to continue to work on reading coverages and sometimes take what the defense will give him rather than look for the big play, but he is a very very talented kid and I love his attitude and leadership at a young age. He had some receivers to go to. Ron Thompson is their "jump ball" guy. Just throw it up to him and he'll get it. He did show he can run routes underneath and do more than just run deep and out jump guys. He did seem to wear down a bit. He needs some conditioning work, but he's a great athlete with some of the surest hands around. Another that made some big plays was Tyree Monroe, who is a very good route runner with good hands. Cortez Hardrick made some big plays and has solid size, but did drop a few. Running back Dennis Norfleet was one of the most exciting players of the whole tournament. He is so quick and explosive in the open field, and he drew a lot of oohs and aahs as he broke the ankles of a couple would-be defenders. He may not be big, but this guy comes to play every time and he shows up every time you see him. Defensively, the secondary was loaded. Cornerback Terry Richardson was the headliner coming in, but he was not tested a ton. We saw a few passes go his way and he made a few nice breakups and also caught a few passes on offense, but he was not challenged a lot here. A lot of passes went the way of Crockett's James White and Cass Tech's Ruben Lile and those two helped themselves as much as anyone in the tournament. White is physical, confident and rarely let a pass get completed to his side. Lile, who has three offers, can run and cover very well at 6'3, 200-lbs. He has good ball skills too and we think he's a big time kid that just hasn't gotten the attention yet. Southfield's Leviticus Payne may have lead the tournament in interceptions. A high school cornerback, he played free safety and was a natural there. Great ball skills and anticipation. A young cornerback, Cass Tech's Jourdan Lewis had a nice showing. He's a good athlete and was not afraid to get physical with some bigger receivers. I also liked what I saw from linebacker Hunter Matt, who did a nice job covering and playing in space. Max Ex Assasins Quarterback Justin Danzy had his moments. He has a nice arm, but threw into coverage at times. He has to fill out, but he's a good athlete too. The star here was Danny Larkins, who made play after play at both receiver and cornerback. He's a really good football player and a good athlete who is going to contribute in college wherever he goes. He was joined in the secondary by Detroit Southeastern's Martinez Dalton and Cass Tech's William Rembert, two guys who did not allow a lot of completions. They're both under the radar, but both can play, and have shown that at other events in the past as well. King linebacker Alvin Mingo had a nice weekend as well. He's a nice athlete with good size. I also liked Southfield's Brandon Watkins, a really good athlete who can play on either side of the ball. Running back James Gault is smaller at 5'3, but he made a lot of plays and shook a lot of people in the open field. U of D Jesuit's David Hughes along with running back Tearron Jamieson are two others who made a lot of catches and plays for this squad.
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