State Rankings: Michigan Top 80

Midwest Regional Manager
Posted Jul 1, 2010


Michigan is a state with lots of talent this year. How does it stack up to past years and who is moving up the charts? We take a look at a post-camp top 80.

With nearly 50 players in the state coming out of camps holding Division-1/FBS offers, Michigan is staking its claim as one of the most underrated states for talent. Leading the way is five-star linebacker Lawrence Thomas, a Michigan State commitment, followed by seven four-stars and a ton of depth behind that.

RISING
Jake Fisher - Traverse City West:
This may sound crazy, but if we had a draft, and the pool of players was just kids from Michigan, I can't say I wouldn't take Fisher in the top three, simply because of his upside and the position that he plays. He has made tremendous strides this summer, and I think he will have an outstanding college career, not only because of his physical tools, but the toughness and work ethic he has shown this summer.

Thomas Rawls - Flint Northern
He's a rock solid bowling ball, but don't let his film fool you, he has legit track speed and can catch the ball out of the backfield. If he can get some of his academics taken care of, I predict a rash of BCS level offers.

Jake Duzey - Troy Athens:
The "other" Jake is a superb athlete. When I first saw his film last Winter, that was clear, but what was not certain was where he would line up in college. This summer, he has added weight, started looking more like a tight end, and also showed some ability as a linebacker/edge rusher on defense. It is clear now that no matter where he ends up, his athleticism will be an asset for the school that lands him.

Kendrick Roberts - Flint Southwestern:
Watch his film. This guy can go up and get the ball. He's big, physical, and opposing coaches swear to me that his speed is legitimate. Even on a gimpy hamstring, he looked good at Sound Mind, Sound Body. That, coupled with his film has him steadily climbing.

Ramadan Ahmeti - Lansing Waverly:
Central Michigan landed a good one here. This kid's film showed him dominating players much smaller than him, so I was holding out real judgement until I saw him against better competition. I saw just that at the Michigan State camp, where he was one of the best offensive linemen there.

Kyle Lints - Traverse City St. Francis
He has been hurt lately, but I thought he dominated Michigan's 1-day camp. If he can do that in July, I think more offers will come his way. He's a tough, hard working, fundamentally sound lineman who is getting stronger. His teammates, two of which are going to play in the Big Ten this year, say they hate going against him in practice. Enough said.

FAQ by Michigan Fans
In an attempt cut down on the number of phone calls, inboxes, e-mails, facebook messages, etc, that I get after rankings are posted. I've done an FAQ for Michigan and Michigan State fans right here. Please read before hate-mailing me.

- Why is DeAnthony Arnett rated so high?
I see Michigan fans starting to question his ranking. Let me tell you this: you really can't appreciate Arnett until you see him live. He may not be the biggest kid, but I've yet to see corners stick with him consistently. His first step is great, as is his change of direction. "Allen, the routes he runs in 1-1s are unrealistic quadruple moves." I'll give you some of that, but you can't do that in 7-7s, and he was beating guys on simple cuts and double moves there. "What is he like with pads on?" Last year, Saginaw was breaking in a new quarterback, so they either threw him screens or fades. Check the Midland tape his sophomore year if you need proof that he can do it when the lights are on.

- Why are Delonte Hollowell and Shawn Conway ranked where they are ranked?
I think they're both great players. Let's get that out of the way. Part of it is, the state is deep. So I think they're probably better than the 10th and 11th ranked players in other Michigan years. Hollowell can run, and cover, height is really the only thing he has against him. He's a high 3-star, and a top 10 player in the state, so I think it's a fair ranking. Conway, I think could end up higher. If we are just ranking based on talent, he'd possibly be top five. Now, in seeing him this summer, he's more raw than I had thought. He has to work on consistency and route running, two things that are important for big time receivers. I think he'll get there, and I think he was a fabulous early get, I'm just waiting to see him this fall before I move him any further.

- Why is Onaje Miller a four-star?
You can't argue with his production, rushing for 1,758 yards and 26 touchdowns. He's an explosive kid, and when I saw him in person recently, I was surprised by how big he was. He's filled out, broad shouldered, looks like a running back basically. He can also really catch the ball out of the backfield. He shows that on his film both at running back and in the defensive backfield. He was a kid who just didn't get a lot of exposure last year, but he deserves to be among the best in the state. If there's one negative on him, I think he dances too much, but that is easily correctable, and may correct itself once he gets behind a college offensive line.

FAQ by Michigan State Fans
In an attempt cut down on the number of phone calls, inboxes, e-mails, facebook messages, etc, that I get after rankings are posted. I've done an FAQ for Michigan and Michigan State fans right here. Please read before hate-mailing me.

- Brennen Beyer at 3?
He's a great athlete. I understand that he's listed at 218-lbs and playing defensive end, but he will be a hybrid outside linebacker at Michigan, meaning, he has to add 10-12-lbs and he can play at 230 there. He has all the tools you want in a guy rushing off the edge. Our director of scouting, Scott Kennedy, agrees: "Beyer overwhelms offensive linemen with his initial burst off the ball and his hands are so quick, it must appear to the linemen that there's simply a flurry of movement in his face. [He] simply needs to add weight and continue to get stronger to be a dominant defender."

- Why is Taiwan Jones at 16?
Again, I have to first put in perspective that in a strong year for the state, 16 is actually pretty good. Especially when you look at the guys above him. Last year, he was an athlete without a real position or football sense. He was a big kid they handed the ball off to at running back. He tried playing some safety, and wide receiver, neither position, was right for him and he didn't look comfortable. Now he's learning linebacker, which is where I think he will end up, and he's doing well there. I could see him moving up, but I want to see him in person this fall before I move him up just based on what he's done in camp. Linebacker is one of the harder positions to judge at camp.



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