The D Zone

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Where now are the 8th and 9th graders that Akron offered last year?

Last year, the University of Akron made a lot of headlines as they offered the first ever 8th grader at the time from Michigan in Southfield 2019 QB Sam Johnson III.  Johnson III's simple call to Akron to get the date of their camp quickly turned into an offer as the Zips were aware of Johnson who participated in camps and 7on7 with his team and friends.  Johnson III wasn't the only talent that Akron coaches identified in Michigan as they extended offers to 3 total Class of 2019 Quarterbacks and 12 total Class of 2018 prospects who were finishing up their Freshman year at the time of the offers.

Several prominent figures in Michigan High School Athletics had a little movement for around a month last year to change their default pictures on Facebook to Akron's logo to thank them for believing in the youth which was mostly all inner-city kids.

Below is a description of what that player did in their Freshman or Sophomore season, starting with the Freshman:

Southfield 2019 QB Sam Johnson III
Very few people refer to Sam Johnson as Samuel Johnson as was the case last year.  Johnson was mature about being offered as an 8th grader last year through all his interviews both on film and through text.  Johnson III didn't get off to a great start as a Freshman as he had a tough week 1 game vs. the eventual runner-ups in Division 1, Cass Tech.  After regrouping from the loss, Johnson showed little flaws as would any Freshman on Varsity as he led the Bluejays in their final season as a school (merging with Southfield-Lathrup in 2016) to a 2nd place finish in the OAA White, 7-4 record, and a playoff win over Oak Park who crushed Southfield in week 8.  Akron soon was joined by Ohio who offered 2 days later and Johnson now holds 11 total offers as Illinois offered last night, making Johnson III the youngest high school player from Michigan to be offered by a Big 10 school.

Oak Park 2019 QB Dwan Mathis
Mathis transferred mid-season from Belleville to Oak Park and played quite a bit at receiver as the teams had their QB situation locked in with upperclassmen.  Mathis performed well at receiver as his 6'4"-ish height and athleticism were on full display.   Oak Park went 5-5 with a shared 2nd place finish in the OAA White.  Mathis earned his 2nd offer a few weeks later following a performance in front of Cincinnati and yesterday his 3rd offer came from Kentucky of the SEC.

Detroit Catholic Central 2019 QB Austin Brown
Brown didn't start right away for the Shamrocks, but by the 4th game was in charge of the Shamrock squad that was looking to get back into the playoffs after missing the post-season the year before.  Brown's two losses were against the CHSL-Central champs - Orchard Lake Saint Mary's and Division 1 State Champions - Romeo in the 3rd round of the playoffs.  Brown's first and only mention prior to Akron offering him was because of his 2015 Camp Pride performance in January.  Brown was the first Freshman to start at QB for annual powerhouse Catholic Central and one year later he has gone on a few visits, but before this summer, Akron is his only offer.  Several high profile schools have stopped in and chatted with Brown during Spring Evaluation Period already.

Cass Tech 2018 DB/WR Kalon Gervin
Akron actually offered Gervin before the string of offers, but just 1 week earlier in the last week of April, as the Zips were the 2nd school to offer anyone in Michigan's class of 2018, only behind Bowling Green State offering Southfield WR Brandon Gray a few weeks earlier.  Gervin initially planned to transfer to King but remained at Cass Tech as a contributor on a State Championship runner-up defense.  Gervin quickly shot up to 17 offers with an SEC offer from Tennessee as well, Big 10 schools: Michigan State, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

Farmington Hills Harrison 2018 LB/DE "ATH" Ovie Oghoufo
Oghoufo was a no-brainer to eventually blow up as he basically was able to meet every coach who was in Harrison recruiting Khalid Kareem last year and is also the cousin of Mario and Mike Ojemudia who now play at Michigan and Iowa.  Oghoufo now is very versatile and an athletic LB/WR, but isn't done growing and that's a scary thought as more colleges will eventually covet Oghoufo's skill set.  Ovie Oghoufo is at 9 offers, all of which are from MAC schools.

Oak Park 2018 OL Marquan McCall
McCall keeps a low profile which makes information tougher to come by in terms of what McCall has accomplished, etc.  McCall more than exceeded expectations on the field as a relentless blocker for a playoff team.  McCall's 2nd offer came from the Michigan Wolverines a month later following their camp.  Since then McCall has received 9 total offers, Ole Miss, and Tennessee is his SEC offers while Michigan and Illinois are his Big 10 offers.

Oak Park 2018 DB Robert Daniel
Daniel along with teammate Marquan McCall were both offered the same day by Akron.  Daniel is a versatile and physical defensive back and has the size that can be tough to come by with that skill set.  Daniel played Varsity prior to the offer and again as a Sophomore in 2015.  The Miami RedHawks offered Daniel about a month later and his 3rd offer recently came from Bowling Green State during the first week of Spring Evaluation Period.

Southfield 2018 WR Brandon Gray
Brandon Gray was the first player in the Class of 2018 to be offered as Bowling Green State offered in mid-April of Gray's freshman year.  Akron would be Gray's 2nd offer and later in the day, Ohio also offered, bringing his total to 3 offers.  Gray performed very well at camps over the summer as a Sophomore, constantly drawing the attention of college coaches, but it wasn't until a few months later that Eastern Michigan offered.   Gray stands at 7 offers with Western Michigan being his 7th offer from earlier this week.  Gray beside Western Michigan commit, Kalebb Perry was the best non-Western Michigan offered players at a mid-June camp on Western Michigan's campus.  Gray as you would expect played Varsity as a Sophomore.

East English Village Prep 2018 OL/DL Tyrone Sampson
We had not heard much on Sampson prior to Akron offering, but what a difference a year makes.  Sampson anchored the East English Village Prep OL as a Sophomore this past season and more recently was the Overall MVP of the Chicago Showcase.  Sampson is projected to be a next level Center and has yet to see an overdue surge in his recruitment.  Sampson waited nearly 3/4 a year for his 2nd offer as Syracuse offered following a visit / the Chicago Showcase performance.  Sampson recently received 3 MAC offers from; Central & Western Michigan, and Toledo.

Saginaw Arthur Hill 2018 OT Jimmy Bell
The Saginaw lineman, Jimmy Bell is a towering offensive line prospect, but like McCall is very low key, but we know he took several visits to Michigan State during the Fall.  His recruitment has not really blown up as he's played basketball for both Arthur Hill and an AAU team.  Bell's biggest media attention related to football was his Camp Pride performance at Saginaw Valley State in January, 2015.

Detroit King 2018 CB/WR Jaeveyon Morton
It was tough for the 5'9" Jaeveyon Morton to crack much playing time on a team of college football bound players, but Morton is a raw and relentless football player who made the most of his opportunities.  This year with a lot of upperclassmen graduating, Morton and Ambry Thomas will be the top remaining Crusaders at skill positions and Morton with more touches / time on defense will impress a lot of people.  Morton has gone on some unofficial visits around the Midwest since Akron offered, but he hasn't received a 2nd offer yet.

River Rouge 2018 SS Reggie Pearson
Akron offering Pearson really boosted his recruiting process.  Whether it was coincidence or not, is something we'll let others waste their time discussing.  Pearson went on a few visits before Akron offered, but not much genuine interest.  Following two camps at Western and Eastern Michigan, they both offered and Central Michigan did when Pearson was on campus later in July.  Pearson picked up 3 more MAC offers and offers from ACC - Syracuse and Big 12 - Iowa State for a total of 9 offers.  Pearson and his family have been on the road a lot in the past year and a true surge in his recruitment is coming shortly.

Madison Heights 2018 RB Brandon Cooper
Cooper had some undisclosed issues that are being worked out now, he transferred from King to Madison Heights.  Cooper has improved his situation and has a new slate in front of him with 2 years of high school before he graduates.

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