Playoff Preview: Michigan Commits, Targets Looking To Make Deep Runs
The playoffs are here.
While the Big Ten just kicked off over the weekend, the state of Michigan is set to begin postseason play on Thursday. And several Michigan commits and targets will look to take their respective teams to state titles.
Perhaps the biggest game of the first round is the one I plan to be at: Grosse Pointe South will host Oak Park in what should be a dandy of a game for both high school and Michigan fans (this game will air on Fox Sports Detroit).
After all, five-star 2022 defensive back target Will Johnson plays a huge role on offense for South and completely shuts down his side of the field on defense. Meanwhile, 2021 Rivals100 defensive tackle Rayshaun Benny returned from injury last week and is a monster in the trenches for Oak Park.
Johnson, however, is questionable for the contest with a minor leg injury. If Johnson misses the game, that could open the door for Oak Park to pull the upset and avoid a winless season for the first time since the 1980s. It should be noted that Oak Park has plenty of talent, a great head coach in Greg Carter and played a tough schedule in the middle of a global pandemic.
Assuming South comes away with the win, it will have an opportunity to win Region III in Division 2. Other contenders include Wyandotte and Livonia, but If Johnson is healthy, the top-25 national prospect will make all the difference.
Sticking with Division 2, East Lansing is extremely dangerous this year. Michigan wide receiver commit Andrel Anthony helped lead his team to an undefeated record and a first-round bye. East Lansing is arguably the favorite to win Region I, but Mona Shores looms at the top of the bracket.
Down in Region II, Traverse City Central has a legit chance to reach the state semifinals. 2022 Rivals250 Michigan linebacker target Joshua Burnham literally plays everything for Central — quarterback, wide receiver, linebacker and punter. Burnham is one of the best players I saw during the regular season and is more than capable of carrying the team on his back.
The only Michigan target in Region IV is rising 2022 Roseville athlete Tyrell Henry. Roseville had a great start to the season but will have to overcome a tough first-round matchup against De La Salle. Henry is a big factor at wide receiver and defensive back and could play both at the next level.
Let’s head to Division I, which has the potential for some juicy matchups involving Michigan recruits.
Region III is home to two state powers in Cass Tech and Belleville. Cass Tech boasts Michigan offensive line commit Raheem Anderson and 2022 defensive tackle target Deone Walker. Anderson is dealing with a minor injury that could keep him out in the first round, but Cass Tech should be fine whether he’s in or out of the lineup.
Anderson will definitely be ready for the second round. That could be a contest against Fordson, which features 2022 offensive line target Ka’Marii Landers. Overall, Cass Tech is a heavy favorite to reach the regional final, where it would likely meet 2022 Rivals100 safety target Myles Rowser and the aforementioned Belleville program.
The top half of the bracket in Region IV has West Bloomfield and Stevenson, and it’s hard not to look ahead to a potential star-studded matchup in the third round. If it comes to fruition, Stevenson and Michigan commit Giovanni El-Hadi would clash with a West Bloomfield squad loaded with U-M targets, including Rivals100 running back Donovan Edwards, 2022 Rivals250 athlete Dillon Tatum and elite 2023 offensive lineman Amir Herring.
Southfield could play the role of a spoiler. Rising 2024 quarterback target Isaiah Marshall is young but has impressed and is getting better and better every week. A Stevenson vs. Southfield second-round matchup is probable.
Division 3 should also prove to be of interest for Michigan fans.
Michigan specialist commit Tommy Doman, 2022 linebacker target Jordan Cannon and St. Mary’s have had some ups and downs this season and recently dealt with a minor COVID issue. However, Region II is very winnable. If St. Mary’s can get past rival Brother Rice in a potential second-round matchup (the regular-season game was a thriller), the door is wide open.
King may be 3-3, but Moore is a special talent and the team has enough playmakers to make a run to the regional final. Eastpointe is undefeated, and while not talked about often should be a threat to come out of the region as well, especially with Trent playing on both sides of the ball.
Lastly, Rivals250 Michigan defensive line commit Alex VanSumeren and his Garber team will play way down in Division 5. Region I has some quality teams like Kingsley, Reed City and Freeland, but Garber had some statement wins this year, and VanSumeren is its X-factor. A deep run is very possible.