1. Malik McDowell
Defensive End | Southfield High School | Uncommitted
Coming into the year, McDowell (6'6, 295) was three on our list with the thought that, if he performs well at Southfield against better competition than he saw at Loyola, he could challenge for the top spot. He had the year he needed along with performing very well against the best in the country at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. The question is, will his height keep him from playing with the pad level he needs at defensive tackle? Some say he may be an even better offensive tackle, but he only wants to play defense in college. We think he works best as a five-tech, but ultimately can be a kid who can play all over the line. His physical tools are rare though and the school who lands him will have plenty of options on how to best use his talents.
2. Damon Webb
Cornerback | Cass Tech | Ohio State
Webb is an elite cover man who always stepped up his game against the best competition. He's a long kid with great ball skills, evident by his success as a wide receiver throughout his high school career. He always seemed to make big plays at big times too, against Brother Rice to open his junior season, in the state title game to end that same season, and multiple times throughout his senior season when his team needed a play, Webb was the guy they would look to. He has a chance to compete immediately in Columbus and we won't bet against him making the most of that opportunity.
3. Drake Harris
Wide Receiver | Grand Rapids Christian | Michigan
Harris missed all of his junior season due to injury, but this list is about college potential, not senior year production and Harris has the tools to be an outstanding college player. He's a long, lean former basketball star with great leaping ability, body control and ball skills. He made acrobatic catches look like the norm his junior year and his state title game performance will go down as one of the best Ford Field has seen. With losing one year of development, the question will be if he's ready to step in and compete at a spot where the Wolverines could use him. He is an early enrollee, so he can get a head start on two things that will be key in his development: learning the playbook and adding size and strength.
4. Lawrence Marshall
Defensive End | Southfield | Michigan
Marshall was seen as more of a potential guy as a junior but he really put it together as a senior. He turned a great final season. He added weight and strength and now looks like a kid who could come in and contribute early. He's active and plays with a great motor. He still has to work on his technique, but all the physical tools are there and he improved by leaps and bounds from what was an already good junior year to his final campaign.
5. Byron Bullough
Linebacker | Traverse City St. Francis | Michigan State
Bullough is something of a forgotten man, partly because he was an early commit and also because St. Francis did not have a great season. That said, he's a Bullough, and that means he's all football player. He's tough, has played multiple positions in high school and is a good athlete. He had a great performance at the Spartans' summer camp where we had a chance to see him in coverage. As his body continues to develop, we'll be able to see if he turns into the physical specimen his brother Max is or stay as he is now, a quick outside prospect who can run with backs and tight ends.
6. Avonte Maddox
Cornerback | Detroit King | Pittsburgh
Anyone who has not seen Maddox play may be surprised at this ranking, but he was the pound for pound best playmaker in the state the last two seasons. He has blazing speed and could play slot receiver or cornerback at the next level and in either case, should contribute as a return man. The only thing that caused him to be overlooked as his size, but his explosiveness makes him a kid we think will succeed at the next level.
7. Maurice Ways
Wide Receiver | Detroit Country Day | Michigan
Ways (6'4, 195) had a good junior season which helped him earn the offers he did, but as a senior, he kicked it up a notch. He got stronger, added polish to his game and was just an all around bigger, faster, and more confident version of the kid we saw as a junior. Having only played the game for a relatively short amount of time, he is still a work in progress, but the improvement he has shown and his willingness to work makes us think he will surprise some folks in Ann Arbor.
8. Tyler Wiegers
Quarterback | Detroit Country Day | Iowa
Wiegers is a big pocket passer with the arm to make all the throws. Originally a Rutgers commit, we think he is a good fit in Iowa, where the Hawkeyes usually have a good offensive line and a running game for quarterbacks to lean on. Less talented quarterbacks have had success in their system and we believe Wiegers' best football is still ahead of him.
9. David Beedle
Defensive Tackle | Clarkston | Michigan State
Beedle looks like a big tough-guy, and he is, but he is a much better athlete than the eyeball test may lead you to believe. Add in his relentless motor to that athleticism and 6'5, 270-pound frame and you have a kid who is going to be a perfect fit in Michigan State's defense.
10. Jhonathon Williams
Defensive End | Berrien Springs | Notre Dame
Williams did not come into the year as a household name, but is one of the best athletes on this list. He's a long, explosive kid who was committed to Toledo, then Missouri and then Notre Dame after the Irish and Michigan offered during the season. Upside wise, he may have as much as any player in the state. He will need some time, but he could develop into a monster outside linebacker in the Irish 3-4.
11. Matt Sokol
Tight End | Rochester Adams | Michigan State
Michigan State always seems to find ways to use their tight ends effectively and although Sokol was a high school quaterback, he has ideal size (6'5, 220) and athleticism for the position. He showed great hands in the camp circuit and his early enrollment will allow him to get a jump start on the transition.
12. Nick Matich
Defensive Tackle | Clarkston | Western Michigan
We think the Broncos stole one here. Matich is the kind of kid you want on your line. Is he the biggest or fastest kid on the list? No, but few give the type of effort and play with the type of intensity he does. WMU is going to get every ounce out of this kid and he had a great high school career.
13. Travis Smith
Quarterback | Ithaca | Toledo
The Rockets are having to hold off BCS schools late in the process and why shouldn't they come after Smith? He has never lost a game as a starter and has grown (6'3, 200) over the years. He's a very good athlete who can make plays with his feet and throw on the run and also has outstanding intangibles.
14. Nick Padla
Offensive Tackle | Berrien Springs | Michigan State
Padla worked for and earned his Spartan offer. That's the kind of kid he is. He's a high motor, high effort kid who got better and better with every camp we saw him at. He plays with the type of mean streak you like to see in offensive linemen and he likely won't be denied his spot at Michigan State. He will find a way to work himself into the lineup and make a difference.
15. Jared Wangler
Linebacker | Warren De La Salle | Michigan
Wangler played out of position as a senior, lining up at safety, where he played early in his career. We loved his junior film at linebacker though, where he really showed his ability to run and play over the slot. He's a much better athlete than he's given credit for and as a Michigan legacy, he will work hard and find a way to help the Wolverines win games.
16. Kenny Finley
Defensive Tackle | Muskegon | Western Michigan
Finley is a very intriguing prospect. He grew to 285 pounds (6'4) as a senior and looked like a major defensive tackle prospect. He kept the same quickness off the and ability to shoot gaps that made him special as a junior and a lot of schools could end up regretting not going harder after him.
17. Tommy Doles
Guard | Grand Rapids Christian | Northwestern
The Wildcats are getting a smart, tough, hard-working kid who is going to keep his head down and go to work. He can bend and move and as long as he keeps that athleticism while adding weight, he should be a good one for them at guard or center.
18. Jalen Embry
Cornerback | Detroit King | Iowa
The Hawkeyes struck gold with Desmond King a year ago, a Detroit kid many thought wasn't big enough or fast enough. That's Embry in a lot of ways, just a pure football player who was overlooked because he wasn't 6'1 or running a 4.3, but put the film on and 22 in black was always making plays.
19. Jalen Watts-Jackson
Cornerback | Orchard Lake St. Mary's | Michigan State
The Spartans have had a lot of success with corners who were overlooked by other BCS schools and Watts-Jackson is the perfect example after impressing the coaches and earning an offer at camp.
20. Chukwuma Okorafor
Offensive Tackle | Southfield | Western Michigan
The Broncos have hung onto him after many BCS powers came after him. A raw prospect who had not played much football before this season, he really turned in a strong senior year earning those offers and should that progression continue, he will be a standout for WMU.
21. Deon Drake
Linebacker | Cass Tech | Michigan State
A knee injury kept Drake out for much of his senior season, but he did return and contribute down the stretch. When he is healthy, he is a fine athlete who also played tailback for the Technicians. Should he regain his sophomore and junior form prior to his injury, he has the type of foot speed and aggressive style the Spartans like.
22. Malik King
Guard | Muskegon | Ball State
King had a great senior year and manned the all-important left tackle spot for the Big Reds, but projects to the inside at the next level. He has good technique and plays to the whistle.
23. Chance Stewart
Quarterback | Sturgis | Western Michigan
Stewart is a big signal caller with the athleticism to escape the pocket and make throws on the run. He was a great get for the Broncos, and he should have the opportunity to compete for the job early in his career.
24. Connor Hayes
Guard | Traverse City West | Pittsburgh
Hayes missed most of his senior year with an injury, but as a junior, he was a kid we liked because of his blue-collar toughness and brute strength.
25. Bearooz Yacoobi
Guard | Dearborn | Purdue
Yacoobi really impressed us at several camps and was looking like another steal for Northern Illinois before Purdue came in late in the process and stole him.
26. Asantay Brown
Safety | Muskegon Mona Shores | Western Michigan
A great high school receiver who projects to defense for the Broncos. Good size, good ball skills and an early enrollee for WMU who hung on after Minnesota offered after his senior season.
27. Curtis Doyle
Offensive Tackle | Alma | Western Michigan
Big kid who is already strong and always did well in camps. Could play inside or outside, but should end up being a good one for the Broncos.
28. Tim Cason
Cornerback | Clarkston | Purdue
Had a good senior year. Great length and size and could move to safety if cornerback does not work out.
29. Curtis Brunson
Cornerback | Farmington | Ohio
An underappreciated talent who turned in a great senior season on the heels of a few great summer camp performances.
30. Jason Alessi
Safety | Brother Rice | Yale
Simply a great football player who was a ballhawk at safety, a dangerous return man and an outstanding kicker for the state champion Warriors.