News

Football

    FacebookTwitter


  • Michigan

FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Top 50 players in Michigan for the 2019 season

By: MATTHEW B. MOWERY, August 28, 2019, 12:13 pm

With the season just hours from starting, here’s a look at the top 50 players in Michigan for 2019. For comparison, you can CLICK HERE to see who we had as last year’s top players, or CLICK HERE to see which are expected to be the top teams this fall.

1 Justin Rogers, Oak Park, Sr. OL/DL 

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: 3

Commitment: Kentucky

[Anvil Award candidate — CLICK HERE TO VOTE]

The consensus No. 1 player in the state for the recruiting services, Rogers is ranked No. 14 in the nation by Rivals, and No. 43 by 247Sports. Rogers plays on the edge of the lines on both sides of the ball — offensive tackle and defensive end — using his 6-foot-3, 311-pound frame to blow holes open or closed, but is projected inside at guard or defensive tackle at the next level. Rogers is a mauler, but he’s not solely that, his agility and speed allowing him to play linebacker at times for Oak Park last season. Chose Kentucky among his 34 offers.

2 Braiden McGregor, Port Huron Northern, Sr., DE/TE

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: 33

Commitment: Michigan

[Anvil Award candidate — CLICK HERE TO VOTE]

A multi-sport athlete at Northern, McGregor is equally as versatile on the football field, using his 6-foot-6, 250-pound frame to either engulf the passer, or snare passes at tight end. He’s big enough to stack up the run on the strong side, and fluid and athletic enough to rush the passer on the weak side. Chose Michigan among his 33 scholarship offers.

3 Rocco Spindler, Clarkston, Jr., OL/DL

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: N/R

[Anvil Award candidate — CLICK HERE TO VOTE]

Entering his third year as a two-way starter for Clarkston — the Wolves are 23-5 in his first two seasons, winning a D1 title by a point, and losing one by a point — Spindler is the son of former Detroit Lion defensive tackle Marc Spindler. The 6-foot-5, 285-pound junior played left tackle for the Wolves, book-ended with the Wolves’ other top line prospect, Garrett Dellinger, on both sides of the ball, before both had their seasons end with labrum injuries.

4 Donovan Edwards, West Bloomfield, Jr., RB

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: N/R

[Mr. Football candidate — CLICK HERE TO VOTE]

One of the top running backs in the nation in the 2021 class, Edwards had just begun to earn state-wide notoriety when a leg injury cut short his sophomore season after just seven games. Healthy again, he’s one of the big reasons the Lakers — who lost in the D1 title game Edwards’ freshman season, and in the regional finals last year — are one of the preseason favorites to win a state title. At 5-foot-11, 190 pounds, Edwards is a complete back who can rack up yardage between the tackles, or burst to the outside, and can catch the ball out of the backfield. 

5 Enzo Jennings, Oak Park, Sr., DB/ATH 

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: 14

Commitment: Penn State

A long and lanky defensive back at 6-foot-1 and 184 pounds, Jennings anchors the secondary for the Knights. He’s a lock-down cover guy who’s physical and big enough to play in the box, and speedy enough to check wideouts and might play either inside at safety or outside at corner at the next level. 

6 Makari Paige, West Bloomfield, Sr., S 

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: 17

Commitment: Michigan

Long and lanky at 6-foot-3 and 180 pounds, Paige is a versatile safety who can play back in center field, or walk down in the box in run support. A leader of the West Bloomfield defense that has seven starters returning, Paige wound up following teammate Cornell Wheeler to Michigan, where their coach, Ron Bellamy, was a starting wideout (2000-02).

7 Cam Martinez, Muskegon, Sr., QB/DB/ATH

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: 48

Commitment: Ohio State

[Mr. Football candidate — CLICK HERE TO VOTE]

After transferring over from Muskegon Catholic Central, where he led the Crusaders to an unbeaten season and a Division 8 state title as a freshman, Martinez continued to tear up the record books with the Big Reds. He broke the school rushing records for yards (2,526) and touchdowns (38) as a junior, leading Muskegon to the Division 3 title game, primarily with his legs. He probably won’t play quarterback at the next level, at Ohio State, but his versatility will be on display this season, when he’ll play a multitude of positions on offense, as well as defensive back for Muskegon.

8 Damon Payne, Belleville, Jr., DT/OL

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: N/R

The Tigers graduated plenty from their front seven of last year, but they’ve got one player up front who’s ready for a starring role. Payne is the No. 25 player in the nation in the 2021 class, according to Rivals, and the No. 39 player on the 247Sports board. The 6-foot-4, 295-pound defensive tackle is a load at the point of attack, and is agile enough to play on the strong side, or inside. Payne plays both ways, part of an offensive line that comes back mostly intact from last year, minus the 2018 preseason No. 1 player, Devontae Dobbs. 

9 Cornell Wheeler, West Bloomfield, Sr., LB  

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: 34

Commitment: Michigan

[Anvil Award candidate — CLICK HERE TO VOTE]

Wheeler replaces former All-American teammate Lance Dixon (Penn State) as the Lakers’ linebacking representative in the top 10 in the state, but plays a contrasting style. Wheeler is a throwback, a true thumper at middle linebacker, a 6-foot-1, 222-pound intimidating presence in the middle of the defense. 

10 Giovanni El-Hadi, Sterling Heights Stevenson, Jr., OL

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: N/R

Commitment: Michigan

[Anvil Award candidate — CLICK HERE TO VOTE]

El-Hadi started as a freshman in the Macomb Area Conference’s Red Division, and held his own, then blossomed into a 6-foot-6, 285-pound star as a sophomore, earning a boatload of recruiting attention, and picking Michigan. Now a junior, El-Hadi has that pairing that college line coaches drool over: Big, athletic frame, coupled with a nasty disposition, and an aggressive streak. 

11 Abdur-Rahmaan Yaseen, Walled Lake Western, Sr., WR/DB

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: N/R

Commitment: Northwestern

[Mr. Football candidate — CLICK HERE TO VOTE]

One of the best skill position players in the state, Yaseen is happy just to be on this list, happy to have a senior season to predict big things about. This summer, he was initially declared ineligible to play by the MHSAA, but further investigation into his academic records led to a reversal of that decision last week. As a junior, Yaseen had 53 catches for 964 yards and seven touchdowns, and intercepted three passes. Quarterback Sam Johnson III (Boston College) is gone, but new quarterback Zach Trainor should be able to keep Yaseen supplied with targets.

12 Garrett Dellinger, Clarkston, Jr., OL/DL

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: N/R

The other half of Clarkston’s bookend tackle duo, Dellinger missed most of the Wolves’ playoff run last season, after tearing his labrum, costing him basketball season, as well. At 6-foot-6 and 275 pounds, Dellinger is still growing into his frame, but he’s got the natural tackle traits — wingspan, knee bend — recruiters are looking for, something that’s reflected in the quality of the offers Dellinger has gotten — Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Alabama, LSU, etc. Like Spindler, Dellinger plays both ways, as well, helping anchor the Wolves’ defensive line.

13 Maliq Carr, Oak Park, Sr., WR

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: N/R

[Mr. Football candidate — CLICK HERE TO VOTE]

With the speed of a wideout and big frame — at 6-foot-5, 230 pounds — Carr is a physical mismatch with most defenders, as evidenced by his ridiculous after of 38 yards per catch as a junior. The two-sport star — who could play college basketball, as well — can out-jump and out-muscle almost everyone he faces. While he won’t have the departed Dwan Maths (Georgia) throwing to him this fall, that didn’t seem to matter in this summer’s 7-on-7 circuit, where Carr put on a show, catching passes from new QB Frank Black. He’s scheduled his commitment for mid-October, and has 30-plus offers to choose from.

14 Peny Boone, Detroit King, Sr., RB  

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: 18

Commitment: Maryland

[Mr. Football candidate — CLICK HERE TO VOTE]

Built like a tank at 6-foot-1 and 225 pounds, Boone was a physical presence at running back for the Crusaders last season, finishing his junior season with 948 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns, complementing the prolific King pass offense. Boone could easily be set up for a monster senior season, with the Crusaders leaning on him early, as a new quarterback learns the ropes of high school football.

15 Rashawn Williams, Detroit King, Sr., WR 

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: N/R

Commitment: Indiana

[Mr. Football candidate — CLICK HERE TO VOTE]

In 2018, the King receiving corps had a wealth of options, with three different receivers racking up more than 300 yards in receptions through the regional round of the playoffs, and the STATE CHAMPS! Mr. Football winner, Dequan Finn, spreading the wealth around to all of them. Through graduation and transfer, the 2019 edition of the King wideout corps is a much slimmed down version, leaving Rashawn Williams as the likely beneficiary of increased targeting, as the main outlet for the passes of first-year quarterback starter Dante Moore. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Williams could be poised for a monster senior season, before heading off to Indiana, a landing spot he chose among his 32 offers. 

16 Andre Seldon, Belleville, Sr., CB/WR 

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: 29

Commitment: Michigan

Part of a talent-laden Belleville secondary, Seldon committed to Michigan before his junior season. Not overly big, at 5-foot-9, 154 pounds, Seldon can step up and lay a lick on a ball-carrier, and makes up for his stature with instincts, anticipation, closing burst and ball skills. 

17 Grant Toutant, Warren De La Salle, Sr., OT/DL

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: N/R

Commitment: Ohio State

[Anvil Award candidate — CLICK HERE TO VOTE]

A mammoth presence on the right side of the Pilots’ line at 6-foot-7, 320 pounds, Toutant has helped pave the way for back-to-back Division 2 titles for De La Salle. A background in gymnastics (as well as basketball) give Toutant an agility that belies his big frame, and he’ll need that this season, when his versatility will be tested by playing both ways. 

18 Jaylen Reed, Detroit King, Jr., S

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: N/R

Played his way into a starting job early in his sophomore season, operating primarily as an extra defender in the box, and helping the Crusaders slow down the prolific Muskegon run game in the Division 3 title contest. Since the season ended, he’s blown up on the recruiting scene in the summer, gathering in 17 offers. This year, the 6-foot, 190-pound Reed will play all over — including backup running back behind Boone — highlighting and utilizing his versatility. 

19 Josh Priebe, Edwardsburg, Sr., OL

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: N/R

Commitment: Northwestern

[Anvil Award candidate — CLICK HERE TO VOTE]

You don’t wind up running the ball 578 times on the season (4th-most in MHSAA history) for 5,232 yards (2nd-most in state history) unless you’ve got a pretty good offensive line. With the 6-foot-5, 280-pound Priebe anchoring the right tackle position on the 2018 Edwardsburg line, the Eddies’ running game was virtually unstoppable, racking up 82 rushing and 97 total touchdowns, both of which rank 2nd in MHSAA history, as well as a whopping 705 points. Priebe engulfs defenders with his size and strength, caving in defensive lines, and opening gaping running lanes. 

20 Christian Fitzpatrick, Southfield A&T, Sr., WR

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: N/R

Commitment: Washington State

After starting at West Bloomfield, then spending his junior season at Waterford Mott, Fitzpatrick may be part of one of the more prolific passing attacks in the state as a senior at Southfield A&T, before heading on to one of the most prolific NCAA passing offenses. He joins Arron Foulkes (Eastern Illinois) and Robert Army Jr. in catching passes from Anthony Romphf (Florida Atlantic). Fitzpatrick is a big target — at 6-foot-4, 210 pounds — with a big catch radius, and the speed to go deep, and the toughness to catch it over the middle.

21 Ian Stewart, Gibraltar Carlson, Sr., WR/S/ATH

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: 46

Commitment: Michigan State

[Mr. Football candidate — CLICK HERE TO VOTE]

The Michigan State Spartans have had good luck recruiting do-everything players (think: 2016 Mr. Football winner Cody White), so Stewart — who has played all over for Carlson, lining up at quarterback, running back, wide receiver, linebacker and safety — will fit right in. As a junior, Stewart played primarily quarterback in Carlson’s Wing-T offense, leading the Marauders to back-to-back playoff berths after a seven-year absence, and a share of the Downriver League title. 

22 Deondre Buford, Detroit King, Sr., OL

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: 43

Commitment: Kentucky

[Anvil Award candidate — CLICK HERE TO VOTE]

Buford recently joined the new recruiting pipeline to Kentucky, which includes the state’s No. 1 player, Justin Rogers, as well as the No. 34 player, Earnest Sanders. The King senior, who now clocks in at 6-foot-4 and nearly 280 pounds, has all the traits recruiters and scouts love from a pass-protecting offensive tackle: Long arms, athleticism, good knee bend, ability to slide and mirror. As a junior, Buford helped protect STATE CHAMPS! Mr. Football winner Dequan Finn, and helped lead King to a Division 3 state title. 

23 Jordan Turner, Farmington, Sr., OLB

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: N/R

Commitment: Wisconsin

A two-way player for the Falcons (TE and RB on offense), Turner is a run-stuffing linebacker who has the size — 6-foot-1, 222 pounds — to blow up blockers, and the speed to run down ball-carriers from sideline to sideline. He plays inside for Farmington, but could play either inside or out at the next level.

24 Billie Roberts, Muskegon, Sr., DL/OL

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: 35

[Anvil Award candidate — CLICK HERE TO VOTE]

With the Big Reds losing four of five offensive linemen to graduation, Roberts is moving from tight end to left tackle, where he can use his 6-foot-5, 265-pound frame to the best advantage for the team. He’ll still be a defensive end, where he can use his wingspan and athleticism (which helps him on the hardwood, as well) to get after the passer — and that’s where most of his offers have him playing — but transforming himself into a pass-protector could end up being a boon to his long-term options.

25 Ali Saad, Dearborn, Sr., DT

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: N/R

Commitment: Minnesota

[Anvil Award candidate — CLICK HERE TO VOTE]

A penetrating nightmare for opposing coaches to scheme around, Saad uses his speed, agility and quickness to get into the backfield and disrupt plays more than plugging up gaps with size (listed as 6-foot-4, 255 pounds). Chose Minnesota from his 27 offers, many of which came in a burst after his junior season. 

——————————

The next 25:

26 Rayshaun Benny, Oak Park, Jr., OL

Size: 6-foot-4, 270 pounds

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: N/R

27 Raheem Anderson, Detroit Cass Tech, Jr., OL

Size: 6-foot-3, 295 pounds

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: N/R

28 Devell Washington, Bay City Central, Sr., WR 

Size: 6-foot-4, 215 pounds

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: 44

Commitment: West Virginia

29 Kalen King, Detroit Cass Tech, Jr., CB

Size: 5-foot-11, 175 pounds

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: N/R

30 Terrence Enos, Detroit Cass Tech, Jr., OT

Size: 6-foot-5, 314 pounds

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: N/R

31 Dallas Fincher, East Kentwood, Sr., OL/DL

Size: 6-foot-4, 274 pounds  

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: 37

Commitment: Michigan State

32 Bryce Mostella, East Kentwood, Sr., DE  

Size: 6-foot-6, 230 pounds

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: 25

Commitment: Penn State

33 Dustin Fletcher, Flint Carman-Ainsworth, Sr., QB

Size: 6-foot-3, 214 pounds

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: N/R

Commitment: Northern Illinois

34 Earnest Sanders, Flint Beecher, Sr., WR

Size: 6-foot-2, 190 pounds

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: N/R

Commitment: Kentucky

35 Andrel Anthony, East Lansing, Jr., WR

Size: 6-foot-2, 165 pounds

[Mr. Football candidate — CLICK HERE TO VOTE]

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: N/R

36 Tommy Guajardo, Dearborn, Sr., TE

Size: 6-foot-4, 230 pounds

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: N/R

Commitment: Michigan State

37 Lemuel Neely-Watley, Harper Woods, Sr., WR/CB

Size: 5-foot-11, 168 pounds

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: 42

Commitment: Indiana

38 Bryce Austin, Southfield A&T, Sr., DT

Size: 6-foot-2, 285 pounds

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: N/R

39 Anthony Romphf, Southfield A&T, Sr., QB

Size: 6-foot-1, 180 pounds

[Mr. Football candidate — CLICK HERE TO VOTE]

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: N/R

Commitment: Florida Atlantic

40 Dorian Mausi, Detroit U-D Jesuit, Sr., OLB

Size: 6-foot-2, 215 pounds

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: N/R

Commitment: Duke

41 Sterling Miles, West Bloomfield, Sr., DE

Size: 6-foot-5, 211 pounds

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: N/R

Commitment: Cincinnati

42 De’Andre Bulley, River Rouge, Sr., RB 

Size: 6-foot-1, 220 pounds

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: 47

Commitment: Akron

43 Kameron Arnold, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, Sr., ATH

Size: 6-foot, 209 pounds

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: N/R

Commitment: Western Michigan

44 Christian Dhue-Reid, Belleville, Jr., QB

Size: 5-foot-11, 200 pounds

[Mr. Football candidate — CLICK HERE TO VOTE]

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: N/R

45 Garrett Jones, Berrien Springs, Sr., OG

Size: 6-foot-4, 275 pounds

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: N/R

Commitment: Kansas

46 Eston Miles, Williamston, Sr., DT

Size: 6-foot-3, 305 pounds

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: N/R

Commitment: Western Michigan

47 Robert Army Jr., Southfield A&T, Jr., WR

Size: 6-foot-1, 175 pounds

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: N/R

48 Kyle Arnoldi, Walled Lake Northern, Sr., OG

Size: 6-foot-3, 290 pounds

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: N/R

Commitment: Western Michigan

49 Tyler Huenemann, Mt. Pleasant, Sr., DE/TE

Size: 6-foot-3, 250 pounds

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: N/R

Commitment: Harvard

50 Jace Williams, Grand Rapids Catholic Central, Jr., WR

Size: 6-foot-3, 185 pounds

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: N/R