Recruiting & Scouting

Louisville and Western Michigan among the colleges nabbing instate football recruits in the class of 2016

Football   | Scott Burnstein

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College football commitments from the state’s class of 2016 are beginning to pile up. There have been a half-dozen or more in recent weeks highlighted by two power conference commitments, and more pledges to a Western Michigan program that’s setting a high standard for the other Mid-American Conference schools.

Topping the list are Detroit King cornerback Lavert Hill’s commitment to Penn State and Farmington linebacker David Reese’s commitment to Louisville.

Hill (5-foot-10, 165 pounds) is a transfer from Detroit Cass Tech where started in the secondary the past two seasons. Hill enrolled in December and is expected to be eligible in the fall.

Penn State got the nod over scholarship offers from Michigan, Ohio State, Miami (FL), North Carolina and Tennessee.

“Lavert is a pure cover corner with great instincts and anticipation skills when it comes to breaking on the ball,” said’s director of national scouting, Allen Trieu of Hill’s best attributes.

Reese (6-1, 230) will be a four-year starter for Farmington at both linebacker and fullback. He’s being projected as an inside linebacker at the college level. This past season Reese posted 110 tackles and helped lead Farmington to a league championship in the Oakland Activities Association Blue Division.

Trieu loves Reese’s potential.

“You won’t find many tougher, more physical and productive linebackers in the whole Midwest region of the country than David Reese,” he said. “He’s the kind of kid that’s always finding his way around the ball and always making sure ball-carriers feel his presence. When he gets to college, he’s going to make the coaches at Louisville very happy.”

Another player from Farmington that could be making the Cardinals coaching staff happy in the future is Reese’s teammate, wide receiver Dez Fitzpatrick (6-foot-2, 210 pounds), who committed to Louisville late last year. Michigan came into the picture last month though and issued a scholarship offer. Recruiting analysts believe Fitzpatrick could be swayed toward Ann Arbor before Signing Day 2016.

Western coach P.J. Fleck and his suddenly-trendy Broncos program shored up commitments from a six-pack of juniors in the past month, including Novi’s Emanuel Jackson (wide receiver), Clinton Township Chippewa Valley’s Stefan Claiborne (cornerback), Detroit Catholic Central’s Tom Kowalkoski (offensive lineman), Muskegon Mona Shores’ Hunter Broersma (wide receiver-safety), Mt. Pleasant’s Caleb Perry (wide receiver) and Walled Lake Central’s Ade Ogundeji (defensive end).



On the rise

Perhaps the hottest recruit in the state right now is Detroit Renaissance’s Alaric (A.J.) Jackson, an agile defensive lineman who checks in at 6-foot-7, 285-pounds. Jackson, also the starting center on his school’s basketball team, has snared nine Division I scholarship offers in football since the end of January (Purdue, Nebraska, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Cincinnati, Eastern Michigan and Toledo). 

U-M and Michigan State have also shown interest in Jackson. Interestingly, this past season was Jackson’s first playing organized football.

“Alaric has as much upside as any player in the state as this moment,” Trieu said. “There’s just so much raw ability there. He’s still got room to improve, but he’s much further along than you’d think considering the inexperience factor.”