Today's installment focuses on another set of playmakers made even more important by this decade's shift to the spread offense.
At the bottom I've posted links to our first two days of football, in case you'd like to jump into those conversations as well.
Back to receivers and tight ends …
My starters (so far): Michael Stevenson, Everett (2005) and Jason Fleet, DeWitt (2003, Saginaw Valley State).
Other finalists: Kirk Williams, DeWitt (2003, Michigan Tech); J.T. Jones, Ithaca (2002, Central Michigan for baseball); Willie Brown, Eastern (2007, Lansing Community College for basketball); James Jackson, Grand Ledge (2009, Ohio State); Joe Estrada, Grand Ledge (2009, CMU).
Best of the rest: Jordan Johnson, DeWitt (2011); Dom Todd, Holt (2010); Jake Blake, Alma (2008, Grand Rapids Community College); Ben Sherman, Charlotte (2005, Northern Michigan and Olivet College); Gabe Ellis, Okemos (2001).
A tight end possibility: Garrett Bushong, Ionia (2003, Purdue).
Another toughie, especially considering some big-time prospects emerged from this group in Jackson and Bushong. But it was arguable in 2008 that Estrada had a bigger senior season at least as a receiver (Jackson made all-state also in part because of special teams and defense), and most of these receivers made bigger contributions than Bushong could for Ionia, which didn't throw much. He actually made the LSJ Dream Team as a defensive end.
Stevenson was a four-year starter (including his first as a quarterback) as Everett went from the bottom of the area to its elite. His senior season he caught 50 passes for 1,100 yards, and his final two combined he had 89 catches for 1,831 yards and nine touchdowns. Fleet just edged DeWitt predecessor Kirk Williams after a review of the stats — Fleet edged him that way with 66 catches for 1,302 yards and 19 touchdowns — although Williams remains a favorite after his state-record 204 yards in a gutsy state finals performance in 2002.
Jones holds four state records, but did so against Class C competition and as a much bigger part of his offense. Eastern's Brown was awesome as a senior and might have had the most natural ability of the group.
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