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Top 35 Football Players for 2017: Theo Day of Divine Child tops the list, Belleville's Dobbs No. 2

Football   | Scott Burnstein

Top 35 Football Players for 2017: Theo Day of Divine Child tops the list, Belleville's Dobbs No. 2

1. Theo Day (Dearborn Divine Child Sr. QB) – Committed to Michigan State, Day is State Champs’ No. 1 player for 2017 and the definition of a gamer at the quarterback position. Tall, strong-armed and accurate, the 6-5, 200-pound signal caller threw for 1,725 yards and 22 TDs last season and led Divine Child to the Division 3 semifinals. Rated a 4-star recruit by 247sports.com, Day turned down scholarship offers from Kentucky, Missouri and Ole Miss in favor of becoming a future Spartan.

2. Devontae Dobbs (Belleville Jr. OL) – Arguably the best junior in the state, Brown (6-5, 275) is tough as nails in the trenches and ranked a 5-star recruit by more than one national scouting service.  He has over two dozen scholarship offers including Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Florida State, LSU, Oregon, Penn State, UCLA, Wisconsin, Michigan and Michigan State.

3. Marquan McCall (Oak Park Sr. OL) – Committed to Kentucky, this behemoth tackle has never allowed a sack. Surprisingly swift on his feet and displaying superior technique in his blocking, McCall (6-4, 320) also had scholarship offers from Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Oregon, Penn State, Tennessee, TCU, Illinois, Minnesota, Maryland, Missouri and Ole Miss. He’s finally healthy after suffering a broken leg late last season.

4. Aidan Hutchinson (Dearborn Divine Child Sr. DE) – Committed to Michigan, Hutchinson (6-5, 235) might be the most talented pass rusher in the state. Last year, he recorded 70 tackles and corralled 11 sacks helping spur his Falcons to a 10-3 season. Besides U-M, Hutchinson had offers from Michigan State, LSU, Louisville, Minnesota, Nebraska, Vanderbilt and Wisconsin.

5. Jalen Mayfield (Grand Rapids Catholic Central Sr. OL) – Mayfield committed to Michigan. Some scouts peg Mayfield (6-5, 280) as the player in the state’s senior class with the largest upside at the next level. Other schools to offer a scholarship were Michigan State, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois and Indiana.

6. Ryan Hayes (Traverse City West Sr. OL) – Committed to Michigan, Hayes is the top player and college prospect in the northern part of the state. The 6-7, 260-pound tackle is a 4-star recruit and had really established a name for himself in the offseason on the combine slate. He chose Michigan over other power-conference offers from Michigan State, Kentucky, California, Minnesota, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Virginia, Vanderbilt and TCU.

7. Julian Barnett (Belleville Jr. WR/CB) – Probably the best junior at a skill position in the state, Barnett is a 4-star recruit, big-play wide receiver and lockdown cover corner coveted by a cavalcade of college suitors, Michigan State, Alabama, Auburn, Notre Dame, Missouri, Arkansas, Arizona, Georgia, Iowa and Oregon among them. The 6-2, 185-pound playmaker is currently being projected to play in the secondary at the college level. He had 34 receptions for 460 yards and six TDs as a sophomore.

8. Ovie Oghoufo (Farmington Hills Harrison Sr. LB) – Committed to Notre Dame, Oghoufo (6-3, 215) is the prototype for what college scouts are looking for in outside linebackers - long, fast and athletic. Last year, he posted 66 tackles, six sacks and three fumble recoveries. Oghoufo chose Notre Dame over Michigan and Michigan State.

9. DeAndre Square (Detroit Cass Tech Sr. S/LB) – Committed to Kentucky, Square (6-2, 200), Square quarterbacks Cass Tech’s secondary, calling most of the plays for the defending Division 1 state champion from his free safety spot. Fast, instinctive on the fly and a ferocious hitter, he’s the total package at his position and had scholarship offers from LSU and Missouri. Last fall, he registered 45 tackles, four red-zone deflections and three interceptions.           

10. Jaylan Franklin (Gibraltar Carlson Sr. QB/WR/TE/LB) – Committed to Wisconsin, Franklin (6-4, 210) is a wiry, athletic and versatile workhorse plays all over the field and excels at multiple positions. Last season he started at quarterback (more than 1,500 combined yards from scrimmage) and at outside linebacker (86 tackles, 10 sacks). Committed to the University of Wisconsin, he’s headed to college as a hybrid tight end.

11. Kalon Gervin (Detroit Cass Tech Sr. CB) – If he was healthy, Gervin would probably be the top overall player in the state entering the 2017 campaign, but instead Gervin could be out for the year battling turf toe, a condition that could require surgery. As a junior, the 5-10, 180-pound defensive back, who some are drawing comparisons to retired NFL corner and former Heisman Trophy-winner Charles Woodson, had 35 tackles, two interceptions and more than a dozen pass deflections and bat-downs. He’s currently mulling 41 college scholarship offers.  

12. Antwan Reid (Muskegon Sr. OL) – Committed to Penn State, Reid is a rugged run blocker and pass protector on the line who loves contact, and is a master of the pancake block. After spending some of his junior season in Florida at IMG Academy, the 6-5, 325-pound 4-star tackle is finally re-acclimated back home and ready to help lead the Big Reds back to Ford Field. 

13. Kolin Demens (Detroit Country Day Sr. LB/RB) – The younger brother to former NFL linebacker and DCD alum Kenny Demens, Kolin is just as much of a stud sideline-to-sideline as his brother was in his playing days. Expect to see the younger Demens (6-2, 215) play in the offensive backfield for a team coming off an appearance in the Division 4 finals. As a junior, he recorded 68 tackles (16 for lost yardage) and five sacks. He has scholarship offers from Michigan, Michigan State, Maryland, Nebraska, Wisconsin, UCLA, Kentucky and Indiana.

14. Davion Williams (Belleville Sr. CB) – Committed to Michigan State, Williams, first known for his prowess as a point guard in basketball, has proven a natural on the football field as a sticky cover corner. Last season, he totaled 35 tackles and six pass deflections. The 6-2, 185-pound Williams broke out on the camp circuit in the offseason snatching scholarship offers from MSU, Purdue, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin and Maryland in May. 

15. Logan Brown (East Kentwood Jr. OL) – This mobile and hard-working man-child at the point of attack is a 4-star prospect and still gaining traction in his recruiting process. Michigan, Michigan State, Alabama, Kentucky, Louisville, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Penn State, Vanderbilt and Virginia Tech all came in with offers this summer for the 6-6, 285-pound tackle.  

16. Tyrone Sampson (Detroit East English Village Sr. C) – Committed to Syracuse, Sampson (6-4, 300) calls all the signals for the East English Village line and fills a considerable amount of space in the process. Some recruiting services label him a 4-star prospect and he picked Syracuse over Indiana, Minnesota, Kentucky, Louisville and Virginia.

17. Elijah Collins (U-D Jesuit Sr. RB/LB) – A slippery runner with breakaway speed and outstanding field vision, Collins (6-1, 195) blossomed into a star last fall in his first year of varsity football. Previously known for his play in the backcourt for the basketball team (Class A champions as a sophomore), Collins proved even more of a playmaker on the gridiron in 2016 where he showed home-run potential on virtually every touch. The recipient of over a dozen college scholarship offers, he recently trimmed his list to six, Michigan State, Iowa, Wisconsin, Purdue, Pittsburgh and Mississippi State.

18. Mazi Smith (East Kentwood Jr. DL) – The quintessential run stuffer on the line, Smith (6-4, 295) is a 4-star recruit who shows immense balance and agility.  Michigan, Michigan State, Alabama and Notre Dame have all offered scholarships.

19. Marvin Grant (Detroit King Jr. S) – Following a coming out party in the playoffs last year on King’s way to a Division 2 title, Grant (6-2, 200) continued to turn heads in the offseason at a string of showcase camps and combines. Demonstrating ball-hawk tendencies and the knack for heavy hits in the Crusaders’ title run last fall, he tallied more than half of his 45 tackles in the squad’s last six games. Michigan, Notre Dame, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland and Minnesota have all offered a scholarship.

20. RaShawn Allen (Orchard Lake St. Mary’s Sr. RB) – Committed to Lehigh, Allen (5-10, 210) rushed for 2,130 yards last fall becoming the first back in the storied annals of the St. Mary’s program to reach the 2,000-yard mark. Sporting a broad, chiseled frame, he thrives between the tackles and has a nose for the goal line. He’ll be his usual workhorse self in the Eaglets’ drive for a four-peat at Ford Field in 2017.

21. Reggie Pearson (River Rouge Sr. S) – Committed to Wisconsin, Pearson (5-10, 185) was a real thorn in the sides of opposing offenses in 2016, wrapping up a whopping 120 tackles along with seven interceptions while helping spark River Rouge to the Division 4 semifinals. Prior to committing to Wisconsin, he received recruiting interest from the SEC and received scholarship offers from Arkansas and Vanderbilt.

22. Dimitri Douglas (Saline Sr. OL) – Committed to Michigan State, Douglas is a cerebral line prospect with a boatload of potential on the field and off. The 6-5, 285-pound tackle decided on attending MSU by bypassing several Ivy League schools (Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth and Yale).

23. Spencer Brown (Walled Lake Western Jr. OL) – Committed to Michigan State, Brown (6-6, 295) transferred to Western from Walled Lake Northern last winter. Besides MSU, the 4-star prospect, who can play tackle or guard on the line, had scholarship offers from Miami (FL), Iowa, Indiana, Virginia Tech, Boston College, Kentucky, Louisville, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Syracuse and Pitt.

24. Vincent Gray (Rochester Hills Adams Sr. CB) – Committed to Missouri, Gray (6-2, 180) is a big cover corner with a tremendous upside in the SEC. Last season he had 25 tackles and had six pass breakups. He added an interception and fumble recovery apiece. At the high school level, he’ll stretch the field as a deep threat wide receiver on offense.

25. LaDarius Jefferson (Muskegon Sr. QB) – Committed to Central Florida, Jefferson is an intelligent, smooth and nimble 6-2, 210-pound dual-threat quarterback and has the Big Reds offense all to himself after sharing snaps with Virginia Tech freshman Kalil Pimpleton last year.  In 2016, he totaled more than 1,500 yards of offense and scored 24 touchdowns helping Muskegon to Ford Field. 

26. Jaren Mangham (Detroit Cass Tech Jr. RB/LB) – Just a scrapper in every way, shape and form on the gridiron, this Ohio transplant hits like a ton of bricks whether running the ball up the middle of the defense or tracking down ball carriers on defense. Already a 4-star recruit, the 6-1, 215-pounder had 60 tackles and three interceptions in Cass Tech’s 2016 state-championship season. Michigan, Michigan State, LSU, Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Maryland, Mississippi St., Kentucky, Oregon and UCLA have all offered a scholarship so far.

27. Jason Whittaker (Rockford Sr. QB) – Committed to Northwestern, Whitaker (6-5, 210) is a pure drop-back passer who picks defenses apart with a heavyweight arm, a soft touch on his throws and a thorough understanding of multiple offensive sets. Last year, he battled injuries but still managed to throw for over 1,000 yards.

28. Brandon Gray (Detroit Cass Tech Sr. WR) – Committed to Washington State, Gray (6-5, 180) is a deep threat with his speed and a menace in the red zone with his size and jumping ability. He transferred to Cass Tech last winter from Southfield A&T where he had 11 TDs last fall.

29. Tariq Reid (Davison Sr. RB) – Barrel-chested with a brutish running style, Reid (5-10, 205) is a punishing and rugged, straight-ahead rusher and as hard to tackle as any back in the state. Last season, he chewed up 2,064 yards on the ground and had 36 TDs. He’s also a fine student. Air Force, Cornell and Columbia have all shown great interest.

30. Taj Mustapha (West Bloomfield Sr. WR) – Committed to Wisconsin, Mustapha had a breakout season last year with 47 receptions for 925 yards and nine TDs. The 6-2, 175-pound split end excels both on deeps routes and across the middle.

31. A.J. Abbott (West Bloomfield Sr. WR) – Committed to Wisconsin, Abbott (6-2, 185) transferred to West Bloomfield from Northville where he was an All-KLAA pick. Known for his physicality and soft hands, he snared 46 receptions for 916 yards and 6 TDs as a junior.

32. Max Wittwer (Utica Eisenhower Sr. QB) – There’s no question Wittwer is the marquee talent at quarterback in Macomb County after leading Eisenhower to a MAC Red title and an appearance in the Division 1 semifinals last year. Wittwer (6-3, 205) gets the job done with his arm and his legs. In 2016, he racked up 1,700 yards and 21 TDs passing with 820 yards and nine TDs on the ground.

33. Mike Furtney (Milan Sr. OL) – Committed to Wisconsin, Furtney (6-5, 285) saw his recruitment catch fire early in the offseason, earning over two dozen scholarship offers between January and the first half of March. Michigan State, Virginia, Vanderbilt, Purdue, Nebraska, Minnesota, Missouri and Kentucky all offered before he chose to become a Badger.

34. Josh Czarnota (Fenton Sr. QB) – The consummate winner and dual threat under center, Czarnota is elusive when he leaves the pocket. He knocked the socks of the competition in 2016, amassing 2,293 yards and 27 TDs passing and 1,279 yards and 17 TDs on the ground as he led Fenton into the Division 2 semifinals.

35. David Kruse (Lowell Sr. QB) – Known for his versatility, Kruse (6-2, 190) can knife through defenses in a variety of ways. Last year, he took Lowell to the Division 2 semifinals by passing for 950 yards and 6 TDs and running for another 730 yards and 11 TDs.

 

Next in (alphabetical order):

Austin Brown (Madison Heights Madison QB)

Ronnie Buford (Chelsea DE) Western Michigan

K’mare Carey (Belleville CB) Western Michigan

Nick Carey (Detroit Catholic Central OL)

Anthony Bradford (Muskegon OL)

Andre Carter (Detroit Cass Tech DE) Western Michigan

Braeden Childress (Big Rapids TE)

Robert Daniel (Oak Park CB)

Lance Dixon (West Bloomfield LB/S)

Tyden Ferris (Delton Kellogg DE) Central Michigan

Javon Foster (West Bloomfield OL) Central Michigan

Erik Gibson (Detroit King WR) Minnesota

Xavier Goldsmith (Detroit Cass Tech CB)

Matt Harmon (Ypsilanti LB)

Collin Heard (West Bloomfield CB) Buffalo

Alex Howie (Salem OL)

Eric McArn (Southfield A&T) Central Michigan

Aaron Jackson (Detroit Cass Tech QB) Eastern Michigan

Desjuan Johnson (Detroit East English Village DE) Western Michigan

Dyontae Johnson (Detroit Cass Tech LB) Toledo

Sam Johnson (Walled Lake Western QB)

El-Julian Jordan (Detroit Central QB) Western Michigan

Patrick Lupro (Belleville CB) Bowling Green

Zhaimaine March (Detroit East English Village CB) Northern Illinois

Dwan Mathis (Oak Park QB)

Jaeveyon Morton (Detroit King CB) Iowa State

John O’Brien (Charlotte OL) Bowling Green

Lee Payton (River Rouge TE) Western Michigan

John Paddock (Bloomfield Hills QB) Ball State

Justin Rogers (Oak Park OL)

Jack Sape (Bloomfield Hills DE) Ball State

NeVen Simington (Saginaw LB) Central Michigan

Blake Underwood (East Lansing S) Miami (OH)

Mariano Valenti (Birmingham Brother Rice QB)

Ben VanSumeren (Essexville Garber LB)

Bryce Veasley (West Bloomfield QB) Bowling Green

Carlos Vettorello (U-D Jesuit OL)

Jerodd Vines (Detroit Central WR/RB)

Maurice White (Detroit King DE) Toledo