June 10, 2009

Lowell lineman is one to watch

A few years ago a virtual unknown lineman named Joel Foreman came up to Michigan State's camp and dominated a bevy of highly ranked recruits. This past weekend Connor Kruse of Lowell High School put up a similar performance at the NIKE Camp in Illinois and is now poised to see his recruiting stock rise significantly. SpartanMag.com spoke with Kruse last night and got some details on his recruitment.

The big surprise of the NIKE Camp that was held in Champaign, Illinois last weekend was the performance of Kruse. The 6-foot-4.5, 298-pound prospect had a strong showing in the drills portion of the camp and was one of the most dominant players in the 1-on-1's. Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Jeremy Crabtree had the following to say about Kruse:

"Not much was known about Kruse heading into the camp - he wasn't even in the Rivals.com recruiting database until just recently - but after handling Gholston in one-on-ones and looking solid in drill work, he's a name to remember."

Gholston would be William Gholston, the consensus #1 prospect in Michigan. To Gholston defense, he was working out at a position he doesn't normally play in high school. However, Gholston was not the only Division 1 defensive lien recruit that Kruse had success against.

SpartanMag.com asked Kruse about the schools he is currently hearing from and considering.

"Western Michigan has offered me a scholarship," Kruse said. "I was just down at Ball State's Camp this past week and I will be at Central Michigan on Saturday and Purdue on Monday. I also will be at Michigan State's Camp in July. I am also hearing from Eastern Michigan and Michigan too. Wisconsin stopped into school earlier this year, but they have not been by lately."

The Spartans have been in contact with Kruse on numerous occasions this spring. The primary recruiter of Kruse for Michigan State is Coach Dan Roushar.

"Coach Roushar recruits our area and he is the offensive line coach so that works out well," Kruse said. "I have spoken with him several times. We talked about 3 weeks ago and I spoke with him after the spring game."

Kruse is very familiar with Michigan State University. He has been to campus several times for games and other functions.

Michigan State uses summer camps as one of the primary evaluation tools of recruits, especially offensive line prospects. The Spartan staff has offered the majority of players that it eventually signed at that position at camp. Current Spartans such as Ethan Ruhland, John Deyo and Micajah Reynolds all received their Michigan State offer after excelling at camp.

What would a Spartan schoalrship offer mean to Kruse?

"That would be great," he said. "It would defiantly put them high up there. I have a lot of great schools I want to check out though. Western Michigan has already offered me and they have a great program. I am just going to see hat happens."

Kruse is one of those classic offensive line recruits that is coming into his own as he gets bigger, stronger and more mature. His best football is definitely ahead of him and that is what makes him such an interesting prospect.

One of the things that has helped Kruse improve on the football field is wrestling. Kruse did not start wrestling until 10th grade, but this past fall he took 7th in the state in Division 2. Kruse will have a great chance of placing in the top 3 in the state as a senior.

As with any recruit from Lowell, Kruse is no stranger to hard work both on and off the field. Lowell Head Coach Noel Dean runs one of the best programs in the state and Kruse is another player that is thriving Red Arrow Program.

Currently Kruse is hitting the weights hard and working on his overall conditioning. He already has a bench press over 300-pounds and will be squatting over 500-pounds by the fall.

Lowell lost some talented players from last year including future Spartan Kyle Nichol and Torsten Boss(Baseball). Despite that, Kruse is optimistic about the upcoming season.

"I think we are going to be pretty good," he said. "Everyone is in the weight room working hard. We lot some great players, but we have some guys that are ready to step up. We re-load and rebuild."

As a junior Kruse was named 1st TeaM All O-K White Conference and was a memebr of the Grand Rapids Press Dream Team.

SpartanMag.com will continue to keep in-touch with Kruse over the coming weeks. Many were wondering if the state of Michigan was going to have a lot of Division 1 offensive line recruits this year. The emergence of Kruse is a prime example of the type of hidden talent that a state the size of Michigan routinely has.

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