good luck with that
future blue originals
KJ Hamler looked strong in all three phases [Dave Nasternak]
Orchard Lake St. Mary's was a heavy favorite against Detroit Loyola in Saturday's first game of the Prep Kickoff Classic at Wayne State. While they won 24-12 and generally controlled the proceedings, they weren't as dominant as expected.
The same was the case for 2017 linebacker Josh Ross, the younger brother of Michigan linebacker James Ross. He had an up-and-down performance, but 2017 ATH KJ Hamler lived up to the billing, showing out in all three phases of the game—Hamler's big-play threat at receiver combined with a strong OLSM run game to give them the win.
Split into sections for Hamler and Ross. Thanks to Dave Nasternak for manning the camera.
[Hit THE JUMP for scouting breakdowns on Hamler and Ross.]
We couldn't have picked a better first game to scout for this year's Future Blue Originals. Avon, led by Michigan QB commit Brandon Peters, went toe-to-toe with defending state champs Ben Davis, which featured Michigan ATH commit Chris Evans. Ben Davis came away with a 49-42 win after an eye-opening Evans touchdown and a long pick-six when Peters got drilled during the release.
Peters essentially was the Avon offense, completing 26 of 44 attempts for 381 yards (8.7 YPA) and four passing touchdowns while adding another score and a handful of decent scrambles on the ground; as you'll see, neither of his interceptions were his fault. Evans had a tough time finding room in the running game, gaining 36 yards on 17 carries, but he showed all you'd want to see from a future slot receiver on his late 50-yard touchdown.
[Hit THE JUMP for extensive video and scouting on Peters, Evans, and an Avon linebacker who caught my eye.]
Alex Malzone (#12) to Grant Perry (foreground) is arguably the top passing combination in the state. [Ace Anbender/MGoBlog]
Dave and I once again found ourselves at Wayne State last weekend, this time for a Catholic League rivalry tilt between Birmingham Brother Rice and Warren De La Salle. After a slow start against an aggressive Pilots defense, Brother Rice pulled out a dramatic 28-21 victory after a 31-yard pass from Michigan commit Alex Malzone to Michael Roney set up the game-winning one-yard TD run by Bobby Dixon III in the waning minutes. The win kept the defending state champion Warriors undefeated this season (5-0).
Brother Rice ran just 15 offensive plays in the first half, as De La Salle's defense put Malzone under heavy fire and their offense ate up nearly a quarter's worth of time. The Warriors finally put it together offensively on their last drive of the first half, which Malzone capped off with the first of his three touchdown passes on the evening, an absolute dart to slot receiver John Garry on a six-yard slant that he fit into a small window.
From that point forward, Malzone took over, spearheading three second-half scoring drives with plenty of help from his top target, senior receiver Grant Perry. Malzone finished 14-of-20 for 203 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions, with Perry catching seven of those passes for 103 yards. Michigan preferred walk-on commit Jack Dunaway led the Brother Rice defensive effort with seven tackles (by my unofficial count) with three TFLs.
[Hit THE JUMP for exclusive video highlights and scouting on Malzone, Dunaway, Perry, and a trio of De La Salle standouts.]
Gonzaga (DC) senior Marcus Lewis is the #10 athlete on the 247 Composite, and this week he reaffirmed that Michigan leads Oregon and Miami in his recruitment. Given that news, this seemed like the right week to take a look at the tape of Gonzaga's 31-14 victory over Centreville, a nationally televised battle between the two top-ranked teams in the region, according to the Washington Post.
Lewis, who's being recruited as a cornerback by Michigan, didn't get many opportunities to show his ability in coverage, but he was a major factor in run support before exiting the game in the third quarter due to cramps, an issue that plagued both teams in the second half. In fact, Lewis—who plays both ways for Gonzaga—was originally intended to be the primary receiver on what turned out to be the game-sealing score:
As Reggie Corbin gingerly jogged back onto the field late in Gonzaga’s 31-14 win, he felt the same shooting pain in his legs that had sent Eagles teammate Marcus Lewis to the sideline, resulting in Corbin lining up in the flats instead of at his usual post in the backfield. Drawing back on the intense conditioning he and the Eagles had endured under first-year Coach Randy Trivers, Corbin mustered one more burst of speed, racing to the left before pulling in a pass that he took 48 yards to the end zone.
“All week, we had run that play for Marcus, but he was out with an injury, so the coaches told me to go run,” Corbin said. “At that point I was just numb to the situation and all the pain and focused on winning. I just ran the wheel route, made the catch and pushed down the field.”
Corbin, a three-star running back committed to Illinois, finished with 211 yards of offense and looked outstanding until he, too, succumbed to the heat and humidity.
[Hit THE JUMP for video highlights of Lewis and a quick breakdown of his game.]
Dave really came through as the MGoRightHandMan last week, driving out to Saginaw to film Brian Cole's Heritage squad take on Flint Powers Catholic while I was at home, under the weather. Speaking of weather, Dave sat through a 50-minute lightning delay before the game kicked off, then watched as Powers dominated Heritage and shut down Cole's offensive production on their way to a 32-2 blowout win.
My bad on that one, Dave.
Cole eked out 31 yards on eight carries—as you'll see on film, that's probably the best he could do—didn't record a reception (ditto), and lost a late fumble. He did his damage on defense and special teams, with seven tackles, a pass breakup, a few nice punts (yes, he punts), and a spectacular block of an extra point when he jumped through the Powers line into the backfield. He recorded Heritage's only points of the night when he flew up from his free safety spot to haul down a ballcarrier in the end zone for a safety.
Even before I get to the scouting section, I'll say this: I'm not concerned about Cole's lack of offensive impact in this game. His team looked overmatched on tape, both in terms of players and coaching. Heritage made it clear when Cole was going to run the ball—he either motioned into obvious end-arounds that didn't seem to have a counter or just lined up at running back instead of his normal wideout spot. When he went out for a pass, his QB either didn't have the time or the arm strength to get the ball there. Much of that shows up on the film.
[Hit THE JUMP for extensive video highlights and the scouting report.]
Mike Weber [Photo: Dave Nasternak/MGoBlog]
Yes, FBO is back after being mostly absent last year; if you're unfamiliar, this is the series in which I go to high school games involving Michigan commits/targets, get some video, and provide my best attempt at a scouting report. Helping me this year is MGoRightHandMan Dave Nasternak, who took all the photos and video for us at Friday's Prep Kickoff Classic at Wayne State.
The two featured games this week are Southfield vs. Orchard Lake St. Mary's and Cass Tech vs. Oak Park; despite our two spare batteries, the camera started running out of juice during the late game, so I've only included highlights from Cass Tech's offense for that one. Show? On with it.
Southfield vs. Orchard Lake St. Mary's
Overview: OLSM pulled out a 21-19 victory thanks to a big-time performance from soph. QB Kanye Harris (21-36, 303 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT) and long touchdowns by senior MSU commit Tyson Smith (60-yard receiving TD) and sophomore WR Kahlee "KJ" Hamler (47-yard punt return TD). Despite being at a major size disadvantage up front, OLSM dominated Southfield in the trenches, leaving no room to run for four-star 2016 RB Matt Falcon (5 carries, 5 yards), who missed a decent portion of the game with an apparent ankle injury.
[Hit THE JUMP for video highlights and scouting reports on Mike Weber, Josh Ross, Lavert Hill, Matt Falcon, and several others.]