It's hard to believe, but we're nearly into the high school playoffs, and with most of the season finished, we have been able to identify several players worthy up moving up in the rankings.
The two new four-stars in the region are Detroit Cass Tech (Mich.) offensive tackle Dennis Finley, committed to Michigan State, and Peoria Central (Ill.) defensive end Josh Augusta, currently uncommitted.
Finley has always been considered raw, and I still believe he's a guy who's going to need a redshirt year and then potentially an additional year or learning and development, but he has the tools and the skill set to be a multi-year starter in college and then potentially beyond. He has an NFL frame, quick feet, and what really convinced us, was the rapid improvement he's shown in his technique and his demeanor. He started playing with more confidence and aggressiveness over the summer, carried it over into the season, and his upside, we felt, was just as good or better than some of the guys at his position that were already in the four-star range.
Augusta is a very talented athlete. What he shows as a tight end is coordination, athleticism, and lightness on his feet, particularly for a big man. On defense, he uses those same tools along with a good burst and motor. He can play inside or outside. He has long arms, a frame that can certainly carry more weight, and I think he'll be an impact player at the next level as a defensive lineman. More than likely, I see him packing on some pounds and ending up inside. Currently, he is deciding between a few schools: Missouri, Illinois, Michigan State, and others.
New three-stars include Ohio State commit Tim Gardner. Gardner has shown us this season that he is dedicated to the game, dropping weight and keeping it off, which has lead to much better performance on the field. We've had a chance to see him in person, both at the Ohio State camp where he earned an offer and within this season and he looked like a completely different guy than the one we saw last season and at the Army Combine. He has also been moved from tackle to guard in the rankings, as we believe he'll be an inside guy at Ohio State.
Boston College commit Jack Cottrell (Eden Prairie, Minn.). Cottrell is a hard hitting linebacker with good size (6'3, 215) and a nose for the football. He can run to the football and arrives with bad intentions. I think he'll have a good career for the Eagles.
South Bend Clay's Shakir Carr is a kid we really liked this summer at camp, and he's continued that play into this season. He's going to be an inside guy, but has a good frame, showed us that he can pass protect, and we already knew he was good in the run game.
Toledo commit Logan Woodside is a kid our staff agreed was underrated, and could be a steal for the Rockets. He's been good as a senior, and his combination of accuracy, smarts and mobility makes him a good fit for the offense he'll step into.
Ottawa (Ill.) running back Miguel Hermosillo has put up record setting numbers this season. Fast, fluid, and able to catch the ball, he could play running back or slot at the next level when he gets to Illinois. Fellow Illini commit Tyler White is a sleeper but has exceptional athleticism in a 6'5, 240-lb frame. We saw him in person a few weeks ago, and in addition to his physical tools, he's a smart football player and a tough, hard working kid. He could play tight end, offensive line or defensive line in college.