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March 14, 2014

Top 25 Recruits in Detroit

Detroit is a recruiting pipeline for Michigan, Michigan State and a number of other Division I programs, and over the next few years, the city is poised to produce some terrific talent. Here are the 25 best regardless of class.

Editor's Note: Branden Hunter is TheWolverine.com's official intern for 2014. He has been covering recruiting for us the past 16 months and has been comprehensive in his scouting of the Detroit area.

1. Mike Weber - 5-10, 205 RB Cass Tech - 2015

Branden Hunter's take: Weber comes from a program that has produced a lot of talent over the years, but not at the running back position. He's arguably the best yet out of Cass Tech, with his nice combination of size, speed and playmaker ability. Weber rushed for over 2,000 yards last season and I expect for him to repeat that mark in 2014.

The skinny: Weber has a handful of offers from Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Tennessee, Kentucky and several others. Michigan has gotten back into the mix for his services and look for them to make a strong push.

2. Tyriq Thompson - 6-1, 220 LB King - 2015

Hunter's take: The top linebacker in the state may very well be Thompson, who is strong against the run and solid versus the pass, moving from the safety position. He has put on much needed weight since he arrived at King from Missouri and has had an immediate impact. He recorded 142 tackles this past season for King.

The skinny: Thompson has built a nice offer sheet, with schools like Michigan State, Michigan, Duke, Northwestern, and Wisconsin all showing interest. The Spartans may lead for him, but don't count out his father's alma-mater, the Wolverines just yet.

3. Kyonta Stallworth - 6-4, 270 OL-DT King - 2015

Hunter's take: With his size and athletic ability, Stallworth is versatile enough to play on either side of the ball. He recently transferred from St. Clair Shores South Lake and will arguably face better competition in the Detroit Public School League . That can only help Stallworth, as he continues to improve on his technique, and strength, to match his frame.

The skinny: Stallworth was recently offered by Alabama and has other national offers from UCLA and Florida. He has already committed to Michigan State and seems firm on his decision.

4. Josh Alabi - 6-4, 260 2015 OL-DE - 2015

Hunter's take: Alabi is another one of those prospects who is able to play more than one position because of his size and athleticism. He prefers to play defense, but offense may suit him better. He helped anchor a young Cass Tech offensive line last season and didn't look out of place place left tackle. Alabi will eventually have to choose a position and when he does, his potential is limitless.

The skinny: Like his teammate at Cass Tech, Weber, Alabi also has an impressive early list from Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Tennessee, Nebraska and some others. Suitors might have to hold Tennessee or Michigan State off in the end.

5. Jayru Campbell - 6-3, 190 QB Cass Tech - 2015

Hunter's take: It's no secret that Campbell has been dealing with some legal issues, but that's another story. On the football field, he's a leader and just knows how to win. His throwing mechanics and decision-making still need work, but Campbell is a playmaker and hopes to return to Cass Tech to win a third state title.

The skinny: Campbell is still committed to Michigan State and has other offers from Alabama, Notre Dame and Wisconsin. His foreseeable future is still unknown.

6. Emani Mason - 6-4, 265 OL-DL East English Village Prep - 2017

Hunter's take: Mason is only a freshman but he doesn't play or look like one. Mason started at left tackle and at defensive tackle for the Bulldogs. At 14 he is obviously raw, but has the physical tools to be a special prospect down the line. Mason likes the offensive side of the ball better and could continue to grow and develop into a big-time left tackle.

The skinny: It's early in the process for Mason, but schools like Michigan and Michigan State have already begun to show interest.

7. Romello Ross - 5-11, 180 RB Western International - 2015

Hunter's take: Ross has earned all-city honors three straight years and is only a junior. Also take into consideration that he has accomplished that on some average Western teams. He rushed for 1,048 yards and 14 touchdowns this past season and has been quietly making a name for himself. He has speed to burn and can also place defensive back.

The skinny: Ross has garnered plenty of attention from schools but only Central Michigan has offered. The Chippewas should be in good standing to land him, since they were the first.

8. Armani Posey - 6-1, 185 ATH East English Village Prep - 2016

Hunter's take: Posey oozes with potential, with his size and the many positions he can play on the field - he played wide receiver, quarterback and cornerback last season. Catching the ball is where he will earn his scholarship and he needs to dedicate himself to learning the position more. Still he has good body control, hands and will be a big-time prospect if he continues to develop.

The skinny: Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa and Tennessee all have Posey on their radar. Interest in him will only continue to grow.

9. Michael Onwenu - 6-3, 320 OL-DT Cass Tech - 2016

Hunter's take: Talk about a mammoth of an individual. Onwenu is one of the most physically impressive 10th-graders you will meet and has the game to go with it. Whether he ends up as an guard or a defensive tackle, Onwenu has good quickness and athleticism for his size. As do all young lineman, he needs to work on technique, but the talent is there.

The skinny: Onwenu has no offers to this point, but those will come sooner than later. Michigan and Michigan State have been putting their name in the hat early.

10. Malik Whitehead - 6-1, 175 ATH Denby - 2015

Hunter's take: Not many know him or have any seen Whitehead play, but his ability is undeniable. Whitehead is an athlete, but wide receiver may be his calling spot. He has good size, speed and big-play ability. His route-running needs some work, but he will be a steal for any school that gets him. He scored twice on deep balls against King cornerback and Pittsburgh 2014 commit Avonte Maddox, showing that he is capable of playing well against good talent.

The skinny: Whitehead has heard from Michigan, Michigan State, Western Michigan, Central Michigan, Iowa, and Eastern Michigan. An offer should come by the end of his senior year.

11. Jesse Johnson - 5-11, 180 S King - 2016

Hunter's take: Johnson isn't the biggest safety, but he is a hard-hitter and loves to play along the line of scrimmage. He recorded 33 tackles, three sacks and intercepted two passes in 2013, will be relied on heavily in 2014 for King. Johnson's brother was also a standout for King in the early 2000s and former Michigan defensive back Deon Johnson is his cousin, so football his in his pedigree.

The skinny: Toledo has already offered Johnson, with more sure to come. Michigan State, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Illinois and Indiana are also interested.

12. Paul Engram - 6-0, 230 LB Loyola -2015

Hunter's take: Loyola may not be one of the traditional Catholic League powerhouses, but they have just as much talent. The Bulldogs reached the Division 7 state title game last fall, and Engram was a big part of that. He recorded 90 tackles and six sacks as in 2013. He isn't tall, but is well built, instinctive at the middle linebacker spot and rarely misses tackles.

The skinny: Engram has picked up two offers so far, from Eastern Illinois and Toledo. Look for more MAC schools to show interest in him.

13. Cameron Lewis - 6-0, 175, ATH Consortium -2015

Hunter's take: I haven't seen much of Lewis, but his film is impressive. He doesn't play the toughest competition at Consortium, but 1,423 receiving yards is productive in any league. He also had 52 tackles and three interceptions on defense. Lewis is fast and elusive and has burst on the scene, picking up a couple of offers.

The skinny: Lewis has offers from Toledo and Western Michigan.

14. Caldin Rogers - 6-4 210 DE King - 2015

Hunter's take: Rogers transferred into King from South Lake, along with Stallworth. Rogers doesn't have the buzz that Stallworth has, but that doesn't mean he can't cut it. He's tall, long and quick off the line. He will need to bulk up, but the raw ability is there. Look for him to get his name out there more at King.

The skinny: Indiana, Illinois and Michigan State have all shown interest in him.

15. Keshawn Gilmore - 6-3, 203 DB Cass Tech - 2015

Hunter's take: Cass Tech defensive coordinator Jermain Crowell has produced a number of Division I defensive backs and said Gilmore can be one of his best yet. He has tremendous size at the safety position, but moves smaller than that. He could end up playing the rover position in college if he continues to grow. Gilmore just needs to be more consistent and continue to get reps.

The skinny: His recruitment has been kind of quiet, but Michigan, Michigan State and Notre Dame have been in contact with him.

16. Eddie Rhodes - 6-4, 240 DE-LB Consortium - 2016

Hunter's take: Like his teammate, Cameron Lewis, Rhodes is another many haven't seen a lot of. But with the size he has and athleticism at such a young age, he's definitely an intriguing prospect. Look for Rhodes to move up on this list as time goes on and he finds a primary position.

The skinny: Rhodes hasn't talked a lot about his recruitment, but did mention Michigan and Michigan State as school interested in him.

17. Kamahl March - 6-3, 200 DE-LB East English Village Prep - 2015

Hunter's take: Right now March needs to get in the weight room to add mass, but he has ideal height already for his position. He displayed his athleticism last season for the Bulldogs, playing running back, but is a beast on defense. Whether it's at linebacker or defensive end, March can rush the passer and is quick off the line.

The skinny: So far March has heard from Michigan State, Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa. Look for him to gain an offer either before or during the season.

18. LeVert Hill - 5-11, 165 DB Cass Tech - 2016

Hunter's take: Seems like every year Cass Tech has a really good defensive back waiting to blossom. That would be Hill, who's brother is current Michigan safety Delano Hill. He started a couple of games this past season, gaining the confidence of his coaches. Hill has good size right now, plays well in man-coverage and has good ball skills. More work on his technique and he'll be the next great corner out of the program.

The skinny: Hill has heard from Michigan, Michigan State. If offered, don't be surprised if he follows in his brother's footsteps and becomes a Wolverine.

19. Keith Jones - 6-0, 237 DE Cass Tech - 2015

Hunter's take: Jones is short, but he isn't small. He's as strong as they come in the city and uses his leverage well to get to the quarterback. Jones plays with anger, which is a good thing for his position, but needs to learn how to control it. Still he is another undersized prospect, who has potential.

The skinny: Jones doesn't hold an offer just yet, but Cass Tech has been known to send a number of undersized or underrated kids into college each year. Look for Jones to be another one of them.

20. Donovan Peoples-Jones - 6-1, 170 WR Cass Tech - 2017

Hunter's take: Only the second freshman to even make the list, Peoples-Jones may have a higher ceiling than anyone. Cass Tech wide receivers coach Cash Caldwell raves about his abilities, and he has shown glimpses so far. Peoples-Jones already has ideal size, good speed and great body control for a young player. Remember the name.

The skinny: His coaches think he can be a national player and Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Tennessee have already begun to recruit him.

21. Ostell Martin - 6-6, 300 OL Cass Tech - 2016

Hunter's take: Martin obviously has all the physical tools with his tremendous size to this point. He's a good enough pass and run blocker at the high school level and just needs to have continuous progression. If he conditions himself better and works on his technique, becoming a big-time prospect isn't out of the question.

The skinny: Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Alabama, Syracuse, and Pittsburgh have started to recruit him.

22. Dontre Boyd - 5-10, 160 DB King - 2016

Hunter's take: Jalen Embry (Iowa) and Avonte Maddox (Pittsburgh) are gone now so it's Boyd's turn to reign in King's defensive backfield. He isn't a big corner, but neither was Maddox and people like to compare the two. He was good enough to earn a starting spot last season and will be relied upon heavily this year.

The skinny: Boyd has heard from Michigan State, West Virginia and Pittsburgh so far. A productive season could bring some offers his way.

23. Nate Boleware - 5-6 160 RB East English Village Prep - 2016

Hunter's take: When you see Boleware stretching before the game, you might look past him. But his game on the field speaks volume. Yes he's short, but that's the beauty of what he does best. He's fast, quick in small spaces and excels in the open field. He's hard to catch, but easy to bring down when he is caught. He had over 1,500 all-purpose yards in 2013.

The skinny: A lot of schools may shy away from him because of his size, but speed kills. Michigan State, Cincinnati, Akron, Ball State and Ferris State have been in contact.

24. Sheldon Doss - 6-1, 182 DB U-D Jesuit - 2015

Hunter's take: Doss is a big corner that is aggressive at the line, runs well and has good ball skills. He seemed to always be around the ball and intercepted two passes in a state playoff game against Oak Park in 2013. Doss needs to camp more and have another productive season and schools will begin to notice him.

The skinny: So far Indiana and Michigan State have shown interest in Doss. That should change over time.

25.Ryan Brand - 5-10, 180 QB U-D Jesuit - 2015

Hunter's take: Russell Wilson proved you don't have to be a tall quarterback to have success. Brand isn't Wilson, but he still led his team to a 7-5 record and their first winning season in 11 years. His height won't allow jim to just sit in the pocket and he is most effective on the run, improvising. Brand passed for 1,662 yards in 2013, completing 60 percent of his passes while also rushing for 742 yards and 16 touchdowns.

The skinny: Brand has been linked to several schools such as Penn State, Illinois and Harvard.

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