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FOOTBALL RECRUITING: Cass Tech is Division I wonderland in area recruiting scene

By: Scott Burnstein, November 19, 2012, 10:00 am

Welcome to Blue Chip Fantasy Island.

Or as we call it here in the Motor City, the Detroit Cass Tech football program.

Cass Tech is brimming with college prospects this fall, a deluge of premium talent like few squads have ever sported in state history.

Set to play for a second consecutive state title on Saturday down at Ford Field, the defending state-champion Technicians feature over a dozen Division I college recruits on their roster.

Yeah, you read that correctly.

Upwards of 15 or more players from the 2012-2013 Cass Tech varsity football team might wind up playing on the Division I college gridiron in the next few years.

The Technicians currently have five seniors committed to Division I programs in Jourdan Lewis (Michigan), Dennis Finley (Michigan State), Delano Hill (Iowa), DeJuan Rogers (Toledo) and Daquan Pace (Eastern Michigan) and two others in David Dawson and Kenton Gibbs that recently de-committed from Big 10 schools (Michigan and Illinois, respectively) and reopened their recruitment.

Lewis is one of the state’s top two-way talents, dominant whether lining up at either the wide receiver or cornerback spots. Finley (OL), Dawson (OL) and Gibbs (DE) anchor Cass Tech in the trenches, while Hill (S), Rogers (CB) and Pace (CB) are all playmakers in the secondary.

Head coach Thomas Wilcher’s junior class is practically just as vaunted, highlighted by linebackers Deon Drake, Will White and Gary Hosey (also a hard-nosed fullback) and wide receiver-defensive back Damon Webb.

All-state quarterback Jay’ru Campbell and rising-star running back Mikey Webber headline Cass Tech’s already talked-about sophomore class.

Wilcher’s tantalizing tenth-graders were on full display in the state semifinals against Lake Orion, joining forces to catapult the Technicians to a 34-27 victory. Webber posted 130 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, doing a majority of his turf wrecking after tweaking his knee in the third quarter in a harrowing performance of durability and devastation.  

Campbell, who already has scholarship offers from collegiate bigwigs Alabama and Notre Dame, completed 10-of-13 passes for 195 yards and two touchdowns through the air.  Both of Campbell’s touchdown tosses went to Webb. The afro-adorned phenom also ran in a nine-yard score in the winning cause for Cass Tech.

Last season in the state finals, Campbell became the first freshman ever to lead his team to a Division 1 state crown, while putting up a remarkable effort, going 13-of-20 for 240 yards and throwing five touchdowns.

On the losing end of Campbell’s coming out party last year in the state championship game was Novi Detroit Catholic Central, the same team awaiting Campbell and the Technicians for a rematch in this season’s state title tilt.

Additional Cass Tech players receiving sniffs from the Division I scouts are seniors Joe Journey (LB) and Dominic Hamilton (OL) and junior Stan Smith (LB), among others.

Popping out blue chippers like a Pez dispenser is not an entirely new experience for Wilcher and his Technicians: Cass Tech’s 2011 state championship team was captained by a trio of heavily-coveted Division I recruits in Laron Taylor (Iowa), Ruben Lile (Iowa) and Royce Jenkins-Stone (Michigan).