Friday Night Lights 2011: An In-State Primer

Submitted by Tim on July 21st, 2011 at 11:21 AM

This fall, I'll be chronicling the season of Michigan commits as they hit the field on Friday nights (or Thursdays, or Saturday afternoons) in their high school games. The series includes stat breakdowns, game stories, and even some original video. Here's a primer for the offensive side of the ball - the prospects whose games I'm most likely to attend this fall. If you have any corrections, you can e-mail them to me at [email protected], or post them in the comments of this post.

Harrison High School

Farmington Hills, MI

Farmington Hills Harrison 2011
Date Time Opponent
8-27 8PM Detroit Cass Tech (@EMU)
9-1 7PM @ Southfield
9-9 7PM Stoney Creek
9-16 7PM Oxford
9-23 7PM @ Southfield Lathrup
9-30 7PM Oak Park
10-6 7PM @ Rochester Adams
10-14 7PM OAA Crossover Game
10-21 7PM Farmington

Devin Funchess
HS Position: Wide Receiver
Projects as: Tight End/H-Back

Mario Ojemudia
HS Position: Defensive Tackle
Projects as: Defensive End/Rush LB

Farmington Hills Harrison had plenty of success on the field last year, winning 14 straight game en route to an undefeated State Championship season in Michigan's second-largest division. Devin finished the season with about 33 catches for 800 yards, while Mario notched 127 tackles and 12 sacks from the DT(!!!) spot, also causing three fumbles.

Harrison looks to be strong yet again in 2011, with not only Funchess and Ojemudia back, but teammate Aaron Burbridge reeling in the receptions - I'll be keeping an eye on the #2 prospect in the state of Michigan, as he's a prospect for the Wolverines as well. Harrison does have to replace quarterback Tommy Vento (a preferred walk-on at Michigan State), but if they can find a signal-caller, the other pieces are in place for a deep run.

I should catch quite a few Harrison games, and their season-opener against Cass Tech is a must-see for Michigan fans, as Royce Jenkins-Stone and Terry Richardson will be suiting up across the field. That game is August 27th at 8PM in Eastern Michigan's Rynearson Stadium.

Cass Technical School

Detroit, MI

Detroit Cass Tech 2011
Date Time Opponent
8-27 8PM FH Harrison (@EMU)
9-2 3PM @ Detroit Central
9-9 4PM @ Det Southeastern
9-16 4PM Detroit Cody
9-23 6PM Detroit King
9-30 6PM Crockett (@Det Osborn)
10-7 4PM Detroit Mumford
10-13 4PM TBD
10-20 4PM TBD

Royce Jenkins-Stone
HS Position: Fullback/Linebacker
Projects as: Middle Linebacker

Terry Richardson
HS Position: Slot Receiver/Cornerback
Projects as: Cornerback

The Cass Tech Technicians (We're from Tech!) had enormous success last season for a city league team, falling in the State Semifinal game on a final-minute turnover to eventual champion Lake Orion. Tech sent four players to FBS teams following the season, including Michigan freshman CB Delonte Hollowell (Illinois, Toledo and W. Mich got the others). Royce rushed for 10 touchdowns, and added 90 tackles and five sacks on the other side of the ball, and Terry finished with 35 tackles and 12 interceptions, plus 12 receptions for 400ish(!) yards and five touchdowns.

Despite losing plenty of talent, Tech looks to reload with Terry and Royce as the leaders. Royce's fellow linebackers Ruben Lile and Laron Taylor both have multiple Big Ten  offers, and DT Darryl Goldsmith is hearing from the MAC. There's talent in the 2013 class as well. The schedule sets up nicely, with the showcase game against Harrison leading into several Detroit teams whom Tech has dominated over the past couple years.

Aside from the season opener against Harrison, I should be able to make it to a couple more Tech games, many of which are conveniently scheduled during the day. The final two games are tentatively scheduled for Thursdays, which could mean more chances to check them out. [Ed-M: Bonus reason to go to a Tech game: their fan cheer is "Go Cass; Kick Ass!"]

Detroit Catholic Central

Novi, MI


Detroit Catholic Central 2011
Date Time Opponent
8-26 7PM @ Dearborn Fordson
9-2 7:30PM @ Delphos (OH) St. John's
9-9 7PM Inkster
9-16 7PM Highland Park
9-24 7PM De La Salle (@Lake Shore)
10-2 1PM UD Jesuit
10-8 7PM Brother Rice
10-15 7PM Orchard Lake St. Mary's
10-22 4PM Prep Bowl (@Ford Field)

Matt Godin
HS Position: Defensive End
Projects as: Defensive End/Tackle

Last year, the Shamrocks saw plenty of success, but lost in the State Quarterfinals to current Michigan freshman Brennen Beyer and his eventual runner-up Plymouth Wildcats. They closed out the season 9-3. Matt capped off a 66-tackle (28 for loss), campaign with All-Catholic Honors.

Catholic Central looks to rebound from a down year in 2010 (seriously, 9-3 is a down year) with a return to the state finals - they won the State Championship in 2009. Along with Godin, tight end Matt Doneth is a BCS prospect as a senior, and 2013 RB/DE Wyatt Shallman should be one of the top prospects in next year's in-state crop.

With Michigan's heavy recruiting of the Catholic League this year (James Ross attends Orchard Lake St. Mary's, and 2013 QB Commit Shane Morris goes to Warren De La Salle), I should be able to make it out to at least a couple of Godin's games.

St. Mary's Preparatory

Orchard Lake, MI


Orchard Lake St. Mary's 2011
Date Time Opponent
8-26 4:30PM GR West Catholic
9-2 7PM Toledo (OH) St. John's
9-9 7PM Highland Park
9-16 7PM UD Jesuit (@Ferndale)
9-23 7:30PM Columbus (OH) DeSales
9-30 7PM Brother Rice
10-7 7PM Warren De La Salle
10-15 7PM @ Det Catholic Central
10-22 7PM Prep Bowl (@Ford Field)

James Ross
HS Position: Fullback/Linebacker
Projects as: Linebacker

Last year, St. Mary's reached the State Championship game, but fell to rival East Grand Rapids (as the Eaglets so often do in various sports) on a goal line stand in the fourth quarter. The only other losses in the 11-3 campaign for St. Mary's came to another rival in Birmingham Brother Rice (once in the regular season, once in the Prep Bowl). James finished his junior season with 103 tackles, five sacks, five forced fumbles, seven fumble recoveries, and an interception last year.

This year, the Eaglets have to replace a Penn State-bound WR Allen Robinson, along with their starting quarterback Mike Koenigsknecht. The onus will fall on the run game and defense to bring the Eaglets back to the playoffs.

I should be able to make at least a couple OLSM games this fall, particularly when they take on other Michigan prospects.

Rockford High School

Rockford, MI


Rockford 2011
Date Time Opponent
8-25 7PM @ Lowell
9-1 7PM Holt
9-9 7PM Grand Haven
9-16 7PM Holland West Ottawa
9-23 7PM Muskegon
9-30 7PM East Kentwood
10-7 7PM Grandville
10-14 7PM Hudsonville
10-21 7PM @ Jenison

Ben Braden
HS Position: Offensive Tackle
Projects as: Offensive Tackle

The Rams are a traditional football power in the State of Michigan, so only reaching the semifinals last year (they bowed out to Brennen Beyer's Plymouth team) was a disappointment. The 11-3 seaosn also included road losses to Howell and Canton in the regular season. Braden is an offensive lineman, so his didn't accrue any stats.

Expect a disappointing 2010 season to fuel a deep run for Rockford this year, led by Braden up front. His other bookend, Parker Ehinger, is off to Cincinnati this year, so the Rams need another big lineman to step up in their run-heavy attack. There has been a lot of talk this summer about how Braden impressed on the camp circuit, so a strong senior year could help him move into four-star range to the recruiting services.

Rockford [shows hand, points at left side of palm] is positioned across the state from most of Michigan's other commits (and, you know, Michigan itself), so it'll be rare that I get to take in one of Braden's regular-season games. However, Rockford should make a deep run into the playoffs, and I'll hopefully get to catch a couple there.

De La Salle Collegiate

Warren, MI


De La Salle 2011
Date Time Opponent
8-26 7PM AA Pioner (@Lake Shore)
9-2 7PM Carman-Ainsworth (@Lake Shore)
9-9 7PM @ Dearborn Fordson
9-18 2:30PM @ Brother Rice
9-24 7PM Catholic Central (@Lake Shore)
9-30 7PM Inkster (@Lake Shore)
10-7 7PM @ Orchard Lake St. Mary's
10-14 7PM UD Jesuit (@Lake Shore)
10-21 7PM Prep Bowl (@ Ford Field)

Shane Morris (2013)
HS Position: Quarterback
Projects as: Quarterback

De La Salle has not been a power in the Catholic League, but they put together a good 2010 season, reaching the State Quarterfinals, where they fell to eventual champion Farmington Hills Harrison. The other losses in a 9-3 season for the Pilots came to another pair of Michigan commits in Detroit Catholic Central's Matt Godin and Orchard Lake St Mary's linebacker James Ross. Morris completed 102 of 180 passes for 1,150 yards, to go along with 14 touchdowns and just 2 picks last season.

De La Salle should be about the same this year as they were last year, but with another year of experience for their star QB, they'll look to get over the next hump. With a very strong junior season, Shane can make an early argument for 5-star status in the 2013 class.

Since he won't be hitting campus for another couple years, I'm not prioritizing Morris's games as highly as the other prospects. I plan to be in attendance (when possible) for a couple contests against 2012 Michigan commits.

Any corrections to the schedules posted here are welcome. If you attend any commit's game, feel free to e-mail me notes, stats, photos, etc. to [email protected].



July 21st, 2011 at 11:43 AM ^

As an Alum, your comment that DeLaSalle isn't a power in the Catholic League bugged me a little.  They are 47 - 16 since 2006 with two trips to the State Championship.


July 21st, 2011 at 1:24 PM ^

Ditto, just not an accurate description.  Not to mention, only about 6 inches separated them from beating Rojo and Muskegon in the first title appearance.  They have been pretty damn good for a while now.  Took a small break between the Jefferson Vitale days, but seem to be consistently at or near the top lately.


July 21st, 2011 at 12:02 PM ^

Damn Harrison beat my whole family's worth of alma maters in last year's tournament.  First they knocked off Brother Rice (mom's a Marian grad), then De La Salle (dad's alma mater) and later on, GP South (mine.)

Michael Scarn

July 21st, 2011 at 5:00 PM ^

We should get a big contigent of Mich fans out there.  Not be creepy and yell "OMGt-richpleasestaycommitteddon'ttakeofficals" but just all go wearing maize and blue and watch future some future wolverines.  

Section 1

July 21st, 2011 at 1:14 PM ^

Great job, Tim.

Is it just me, or is Michigan H.S. football about twice as deep with recruitable players as what we saw in the classes of 2009-10-11?  This is certainly not a knock on the (State of) Michigan kids that (the University of) Michigan has recruited during that time.  I think that we did ourselves well with the in-state kids we brought in.  But it just seems that there were fewer prospects.  Are there any metrics on how much more quantifiable talent we are looking at, in the 2012 and 2013 classes, compared to the three previous years?


July 21st, 2011 at 1:44 PM ^

I'm on my iPad so I don't want to go and look, but I know that, according to rivals, Michigan only has five four star players this year, and no five stars. I'm not saying that's the only measure since guys like Godin and Funchess aren't four stars but are still very good prospects, but using that as a measure Michigan does not have more talent than in years past. They're just all coming to UM.

Mr Mackey

July 21st, 2011 at 1:15 PM ^

Why is OLSM's nickname the Eaglets? Isn't that the most unintimidating thing ever (besides a nut)? They couldn't just drop the 't' and become the Eagles?

Also, it should be very interesting to see Richardson covering Burbridge and RJS (maybe?) getting some coverage on Funchess. Should be a large Michigan turnout for that game


July 21st, 2011 at 1:49 PM ^

I believe it's because they are a prep school, and those types of school often take on "little" versions of nicknames. Think of things like "Little Giants," etc. Since it's a Polish-founded/themed school, and there's a big Eagle on the flag of Poland, they're the "Little Eagles" or "Eaglets."


July 21st, 2011 at 7:03 PM ^

Orchard Lake St. Mary's used to have a college on the same campus by the name of St. Mary's College.  They were the Eagles.  The college ended up selling to Madona and the prep kept its name, the Eaglets.  

Plus, everyone knows an Eaglet is an Eagle with a huge weiner.  I mean that's just common sense.


July 21st, 2011 at 1:41 PM ^

1st time poster, long time reader and fan from Perrysburg Ohio here. I see Tim said Farmington was in the 2nd largest division, what are the divisions of some of these other schools in the State?? I see Detroit Catholic Central is playing Delphos St. Johns, who is in one of the smaller school divisions in Ohio. Just wondering what kind of level of competition these kids are playing on...Love the blog though.


July 21st, 2011 at 2:16 PM ^

Those teams in the upper division of Detroit's Catholic League have to travel around to find games.  There are only 5 teams in that division so finding a full 9 game schedule requires them to travel to get games.  Other teams are in the lower CHSL divisions can't compete with the likes of CC and BR.  Our school (Division 4) used to play CC every year and it was a blood bath.   The last time we played them, our starting TB had his hip dislocated (a la Bo Jackson).

Catholic Central

Brother Rice

Orchard Lake St. Mary's Prep


UofD Jesuit

Divine Child was in that division but only played a partial schedule of those teams.  Now they're in the next middle divison.


July 21st, 2011 at 4:17 PM ^

Snice there arent as many Ohio natives on here, I don't think many people realize the difference in size between Detroit Central Catholic and Delphos St. Johns in Ohio.  They compete in Division VI, the smallest in Ohio.  They graduate about 85 kids per class, but if you check them out on Maxpreps or jjhuddle, they rank among the top 10-20 schools in the entire state.  It's pretty crazy.  They won the state title game 77-6 last year.  It was uglier than the score indicated...


July 21st, 2011 at 1:53 PM ^

I've got a friend coming into A2 for the ND game weekend and he's interested in seeing a HS game on Friday night.  any suggestions about a good game to see, taking into account talent, competitive teams, and game atmosphere?


July 21st, 2011 at 2:19 PM ^

We (Notre Dame Prep) are playing Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard at 1:30 at Ann Arbor.  We're in the middle division of the Catholic League.  A2GR has a nice stadium/field and there are some players from both squads that have interest at the next level.  It'll be close to your ultimate destination and will be a good game between rivals.  I'll be heading over to the Big House afterwards for the big game, too.


July 21st, 2011 at 2:27 PM ^

If you want to see Michigan commits play, you might have to travel a bit out of Ann Arbor (and probably not see many competitive games), but De La Salle plays at Dearborn Fordson that Friday night - probably the best game of the week from a competitive standpoint - Catholic Central plays Inkster in Novi, FH Harrison should curbstomp Stoney Creek, and OLSM should do the same to Stoney Creek.

If you're coming from the South (or willing to travel South), Allen Gant's Sylvania Southview team plays Toledo Start as well.


July 21st, 2011 at 3:09 PM ^

I see at least two Fordson games up there (How the heck do you get both De La Salle AND CC out of conference in one year? Yeesh. It'd be a great season ticket, but brutal. And they'll probably catch Cass Tech in the playoffs again). If I can make it back for any of the games, I'll try and add my "scouting report" (FWIW) to any FNLs posts.