STATE CHAMPS! SCOUT TEAM: Purdue raids Mitten State for Oak Park’s Carr, ND Prep’s Fox
Purdue raided Metro Detroit for football talent over the weekend and the Boilermakers walked away with two more aces.
Early Friday night, before his team took the field for Week 7, Oak Park blue-chip wide receiver Maliq Carr committed to Purdue, then on Sunday night, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep senior offensive lineman Nalin Fox changed commitments from Toledo to Purdue, giving the program two big grabs from the Mitten in the same 48 hours for its Class of 2020.
Boilermakers’ scouts have made themselves right at home in the MHSAA in recent years.
Carr (6-5, 225) is arguably the No. 1 pass-catching prospect in the state and will enroll in January. He also intends on playing basketball in West Lafayette. Georgia was his other finalist.
The past two winters, Carr was one of the best power forwards in the state on the high school hardwood. On the football field, he can hardly be contained — he averages 10 touchdowns and nearly 20 yards per catch a year.
Carr’s mom is Oak Park girls basketball coach Peggy (Evans) McMichael, who won the state’s Miss Basketball award in 1989 at Birmingham Detroit Country Day and played in college at Tennessee and Ohio State. His dad is Cornell Mann, an assistant at Missouri, who starred at Ferndale as a prepster, played his college ball at Akron (by way of Colorado) and coached the Oak Park boys squad in the early 2000s.
Carr decided on Purdue because it will allow him to play wide receiver, not tight end like some of his suitors desired, and quench his thirst for competition on the basketball court. If Carr has it his way, he’ll be seeing minutes for the Boilermakers basketball team in 2020.
“The situation was the total package, it’s everything that I want,” he said. “The football program is already like family to me. They like to throw the football and I think I can play early. When I get there in January, I’ll get with the basketball team and see what I can do to help out. Hopefully, I’ll be in that kind of a position (to help out) in February, once I get familiar with the system. I’m going to try my best to make that happen.”
Carr and the Oak Park football team are 6-1 this fall and cruising towards a second outright OAA White crown in a row. The Knights throttled Troy, 52-0, after Carr’s commitment ceremony Friday.
Fox (6-6, 275) originally committed to Toledo in June. Exhibiting a tireless work ethic, he is as fundamentally-sound as an tackle prospect in the area. Notre Dame Prep is 6-1 this year.
Purdue has mined the state of Michigan for recruits aggressively under third-year coach Jeff Brohm. The Boilermakers brought four Michiganders onto the roster in 2019: safeties Jalen Graham (Detroit Cass Tech) and Marvin Grant (Detroit King), linebacker Jacob Wahlberg (Muskegon Mona Shores) and offensive lineman Spencer Holstege (Grand Rapids South Christian).
— SCOTT M. BURNSTEIN