With football signing day mercifully out of the way, I thought we were finished talking about the star system for a while. But then Rivals released its top-100 prospects for the class of 2014, and it seems like I’m being dragged back into the muck.
The list includes three players from Michigan: No. 21 Malik McDowell, lineman, Detroit Loyola; No. 32 Damon Webb, receiver/defensive back, Detroit Cass Tech and No. 56 Drake Harris, receiver, Grand Rapids Christian.
The list includes 14 five-star recruits, and all of the state players are four-stars.
I don’t understand the thinking at Rivals.
It is difficult comparing players from different states, but I can confidently say Harris is the best player in Michigan. And how can he not be a five-star guy? National recruiting guru Tom Lemming says he is the best receiver in the country.
Someone suggested the issue is that he didn’t attend many combines because of basketball.
Maybe not, but instead of running around in shorts and a T-shirt doing shuttle relays and lifting weights, Harris proved his ability on the football field in actual games. What a concept!
If becoming only the 12th high school receiver in history to surpass the 2,000-yard receiving mark in a season isn’t enough to prove one’s ability, I don’t know what it takes.
Remember, Rivals rated Kirk Cousins a two-star recruit.
Pitching in for schools
Comerica Bank is offering two $10,000 awards as part of its third annual Grand Slam Grant program. The grants are available to high school baseball or softball programs. One winner will come from southeastern Michigan and the other from the central/western part of the state.
Grant money can be used for field improvements, training camps, equipment or other baseball- or softball-related expenses.
Applications can be downloaded at http://www.comerica.com/grandslamgrant. Grant criteria includes overall need, creativity, and school and community impact. Winners will be recognized in an on-field ceremony before the April 6 Tigers-Yankees game at Comerica Park.
Lincoln Park and Kalamazoo Central were last year’s grant recipients.
Speaking of softball
Although winter is still here, the season isn’t far off, and the softball preseason rankings are out. The No. 1 team in Division 1 is Mattawan, with Stevensville Lakeshore No. 1 in Division 2, Clinton in Division 3 and Onaway in Division 4.
PSL hoops finals
Detroit Cass Tech will attempt tonight to become the first Public School League member to win the boys and girls basketball championships in the same season since … last season.
King did that a year ago, but it had not been a regular occurrence. King also won both titles in the 1998-99 academic year since the girls were playing in the fall at the time.
Southeastern accomplished the feat in successive years in 1925-26. It is an unconfirmed report that longtime PSL announcer Daryl Weaver was the one who climbed the ladder to take the ball out of the peach baskets each time a team scored.
Just for laughs
When Chuck Gordon retired from teaching and coaching at Westland Glenn and moved back to his hometown of Central Lake, we thought he was settling for the quiet life … a little fishing, a little hunting.
It came to light before the Super Bowl that Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis was accused of using deer antler spray.
Where do you think they get those deer antlers? Is this the reason Gordon has set the state record for deer hunting permits?
“I am not going to tell you how we grind the stuff up and what we do to it,” Gordon said by phone. “And I’m not going to tell you who we sell to … wait a minute … you’re breaking up.”
Contact Mick McCabe: 313-223-4744 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @mickmccabe1.