Dandy Dozen in-state juniors
Written by Matt Pargoff   

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Taking a look at the state of Michigan prospects for the 2014 class, we give our take on the top 12 players to watch out for, providing a very early ranking of the group. While the top six have established themselves well, several others could challenge.

We will freely admit that it is way too early to be coming up with an ordered list of this sort. While we have seen most of the prospects listed in the top 12 in person, and video of the rest, there could be a lot of players out there that simply haven’t emerged yet as legitimate prospects. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t very good players. They may simply have spent less time attending camps, made less effort to gain publicity, or even just not developed enough yet. Not every 16-year old has finished growing.

With that disclaimer in mind, we present our very early look at the top-12 identified Michigan prospects for the 2014 class.

Player Pos. Ht./Wt. School
1. Malik McDowell DL 6-6, 275 pounds Detroit Loyola
Possessing excellent athleticism for his size, McDowell has already established himself as the top 2014 prospect in the state, pulling in scholarship offers from Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Oregon, USC, UCLA, Stanford and several others. While he already has plenty of weight to play defensive end at the collegiate level, he still hasn’t filled out his frame, and will likely play at over 300 pounds once he has spent time in a college lifting program.
2. Damon Webb CB 6-0, 180 pounds Detroit Cass Tech
Webb has broken out on the camp circuit through the spring and summer, earning a host of quality scholarship offers. While he initially had a reputation as a wide receiver prospect, he is gaining the most interest from college recruiters for his skills as a cornerback. Possessing excellent size for the position, he closes extremely well on the ball and has a knack for breaking up passes. Webb appears to be a strong candidate for a top-100 rating next year and already has scholarship offers from Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Toledo.
3. Drake Harris WR 6-4, 180 pounds Grand Rapids Christian
An excellent athlete, Harris is considered one of the top football and basketball prospects in the state for 2014. He plans to play both sports at Michigan State, having already verbally committed to the Spartans. While he was among the standout wide receivers at the Michigan summer camp, playing two sports in college is extremely difficult to do well. If every other football player is spending 12 months a year focusing on football and training for football, those players have an advantage on the gridiron over someone who is not. The same applies for basketball players. In addition to MSU, Harris had scholarship offers from Michigan, Florida, Notre Dame and others.
4. Deon Drake LB 6-1, 215 pounds Detroit Cass Tech
Possessing the skills needed to play fullback or linebacker in college, it is Drake’s skills on the defensive side of the ball that has college recruiters most interested. He is not the tallest linebacker, but should have no problem adding weight to his frame. He runs well, is a very solid tackler and can also deliver the big hit. Drake has already pulled in scholarship offers from Notre Dame, Iowa, Pitt, Cincinnati and Syracuse.
5. Chance Stewart QB 6-6, 210 pounds Sturgis
Attending the Michigan summer camp each of the last two years, Stewart possesses good arm strength and accuracy, as well as excellent size for the quarterback position. While he is considered a true drop-back passer, he shows enough athleticism to move around in the pocked when viewed on film. He has already pulled in scholarship offer from Wisconsin and Western Michigan, and is receiving recruiting attention from Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame and others.
6. Tommy Doles OT 6-5, 240 pounds Grand Rapids Christian
Doles has very quick feet and the long frame needed to excel as a tackle at the collegiate level. What he lacks at this point is size. Listed at 6-5, 240 pounds, those numbers appear accurate, which means he still has quite a bit of weight to gain. Given that he has two years of high school ball left, and the frame to add that weight, the deficiency is not a major concern at this point. But he will have to adjust his game as he grows. Michigan offered Doles at its annual summer camp.
7. Lorenzo Collins RB 6-0, 210 pounds Farmington Hills Harrison
While Collins has not reported any scholarship offers so far, that will certainly change going forward. He is a big powerful runner that shows good vision between the tackles and can make a quick jump cut. He is not the fastest running back and could still stand to improve his receiving skills, but he has plenty of ability to play the position at the next level. Collins is looking at Michigan State, Michigan, Penn State and Texas. The Spartans hold an early lead.
8. Connor Hayes OG 6-4, 270 pounds Traverse City West
Hayes attended several team camps during the summer, including a one day stop at Michigan. Working at both guard and tackle in high school, he projects as an interior lineman for the collegiate level and already has excellent size to build on. So far, Hayes has earned scholarship offers from Indiana, Western Michigan and Central Michigan. He will definitely be one to watch out for moving forward.
9. William White LB 6-1, 215 pounds Detroit Cass Tech
While still a touch undersized, White has excellent natural instincts and has a knack for blowing up opposing ball carriers. He does not have any scholarship offers yet, but is receiving interest from Kentucky, Louisville, Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa and others.
10. Carl Fuller LB 6-2, 190 pounds Detroit MLK
While Fuller still needs to add a lot of weight to play linebacker in college, he has good speed and athleticism. He also displays excellent football skills, regularly tracking down opponents in their own backfield.  He already has a scholarship offer from Syracuse and will certainly receive more attention throughout the next year.
11. Tyler Wiegers QB 6-3, 185 pounds Detroit Country Day
Among the better looking quarterbacks at the Michigan summer camp, Wiegers has already pulled in scholarship offers from Western Michigan and Toledo. His high school offense calls on him to throw a lot of short passes, but he demonstrated enough arm strength on the camp circuit to play at the collegiate level. While he only has MAC offers so far, it is possible that Big Ten programs could come calling down the road.
12. Jalen Brady QB 5-11, 215 pounds Grand Ledge
Brady is an interesting prospect to consider – it is unusual to call a quarterback prospect a “tweener,” but that may apply here. He is a good passer and athlete, which has attracted the attention of college recruiters. He already has a scholarship offer from Cincinnati. His lack of height, however, will be a major issue if he plays quarterback in college. Furthermore, while he moves around well, he may not have the pure speed to play at many other positions.

 

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