Michigan high school football stars talk leaders, followers in recruiting battles

Photo: Jose Juarez/The Detroit News

Michigan high school football stars talk leaders, followers in recruiting battles


Michigan high school football stars talk leaders, followers in recruiting battles


Memorial Day weekend is upon us and high school football players from across the state are announcing their college decisions and taking visits.

Oak Park four-star offensive lineman Justin Rogers, ranked as the nation’s No. 1 guard for the 2020 class by 247Sports, announced Monday he will play at Kentucky.

Four-star defensive end Braiden McGregor of Port Huron Northern made his choice of Michigan on Friday night. , with Michigan and Notre Dame atop his list.

Rashawn Williams, a four-star receiver for Detroit King, announced a few weeks ago he will play for Indiana. And East Kentwood three-star offensive lineman Dallas Fincher committed to Michigan State this past winter, deciding to play for the same college his father, Mark played at as a tackle in the mid-1980s for George Perles.

But what about the other premier 2020 players in the state – top recruits such as Oak Park athlete Enzo Jennings, West Bloomfield safety Makari Paige, Oak Park receiver Maliq Carr, Muskegon athlete Cameron Martinez, Detroit King running back Peny Boone and Southfield A&T quarterback Anthony Romphf?

In addition, Clarkston linemen Garrett Dellinger and Rocco Spindler, and Belleville lineman Damon Payne, are among the nation’s best, but all will be entering their junior seasons.

Here’s an update on the recruitments of some of Michigan’s best.

Maliq Carr (5) (Photo: Dave Reginek/The Detroit News)

Busy spring for Carr

Maliq Carr is arguably the top multi-sport athlete for the 2020 class, playing in multiple national AAU basketball tournaments for The Family while taking official visits.

Carr, 6-foot-6 and 230 pounds, has played in tournaments in Atlanta and Indiana while taking an official visit to Texas A&M earlier this month. He left knowing he wasn’t going to play at A&M since the coaching staff wanted him as a tight end.

“I’m not playing tight end in college,” Carr said. “I’m a wide receiver, pattern my game after Calvin Johnson. I’m a difference maker, could make the difference for Michigan against Ohio State.”

Carr isn’t short on confidence, a reason multiple national powers are making hard runs at him, including Georgia, Auburn and LSU. He’s planning to take an official visit to Georgia June 14-16. Michigan and Purdue are also in Carr’s final five. He will take an official visit to Purdue Sept. 14. He plans to announce his decision on Oct. 11, his birthday.

Carr has built a relationship with new Michigan offensive coordinator Josh Gattis.

“Michigan is definitely in my top five,” Carr said. “It’s a great school – only have had one problem in the last few years and that’s Ohio State and it’s a big deal. But then again it isn’t, because I’m pretty sure if I went there nobody would be able to check me.

“He’s (Gattis) a great coach, built great receivers. I mean, you’ve seen Jerry Jeudy.”

Gattis was co-offensive coordinator and receivers coach at Alabama last season when Jeudy had 68 receptions for 1,315 yards and 14 TDs.

Carr said Michigan and Purdue have shown interest in him to play football and basketball.

Cameron Martinez (Photo: Jose Juarez/The Detroit News)

OSU ‘stands out’ for Martinez

Like Carr, Cameron Martinez also likes Michigan after building a relationship with Gattis.

Martinez had an outstanding junior season at Muskegon to earn a spot on The News Dream Team as an athlete.

Martinez took over at quarterback after La’Darius Jefferson moved to on Michigan State. Martinez rushed for 2,527 yards and 38 TDs, including a modern-day school-record 352 yards (23 carries) and six TDs in a 55-35 win over rival Muskegon Mona Shores. He also rushed for 211 yards in a Division 3 state title game loss to Detroit King, which ended Muskegon’s 27-game winning streak.

Martinez took an official visit to Northwestern last week, saying coach Pat Fitzgerald was recruiting him as a slot receiver. Northwestern’s new facilities are complete, and the practice facility overlooks Lake Michigan.

Martinez also has an official visit set for Ohio State on June 21-23. The Buckeyes are recruiting him as a slot/safety.

“It’s a big-time program that has a great tradition of winning and obviously they put guys in the league every year,” said Martinez of Ohio State. “Coach (Jeff) Hafley (co-defensive coordinator/secondary) got up there in February, came from the 49ers and I’m close to him. Our relationship is good and that’s one of the reasons Ohio State stands out to me.”

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh and Gattis took a trip to watch Martinez play basketball for Muskegon this winter. Martinez traveled to Ann Arbor to visit with Gattis since that time.

“Gattis is my guy, that’s one of the reasons why Michigan is so high on my list,” Martinez said. “I had a chance to visit up there in March and just connected with Coach Gattis and we watched film and just talked a lot about ball. Everything he says sounds convincing. He has had a lot of success everywhere he’s been and that’s just the type of coach you’d want to play for.”

Gattis wants Martinez to play in the slot.

Martinez also plans to take trips this summer to Penn State, Kentucky and Notre Dame. Michigan State is also in the mix. Martinez and Muskegon will be at MSU for a 7-on-7 competition June 13. He hopes to make a decision by the end of July or early August before the season starts.

Anthony Romphf (Photo: 247Sports)

Blue and Green

Three-star quarterback Anthony Romphf of Southfield A&T also likes Michigan, as well as Michigan State.

“I like Michigan, was really excited when Coach Harbaugh offered me himself,” Romphf said. “Michigan State offered me three weeks ago and Michigan State is kind of a hometown team for me because I’m from Lansing. I grew up being a Spartan and Coach Dantonio talked to me on the phone and told me he couldn’t wait for me to take my official visit, and that he’d take my commitment any time, so to get the offers from both of those schools was very exciting.”

Romphf will visit Florida on June 9 and MSU on June 23.

Makari Paige (23) (Photo: Todd McInturf/The Detroit News)

Kentucky connection

Kentucky assistant coach Steve Clinkscale has been able to come into the state and build strong relationships with coaches and players, a big reason Oak Park four-star lineman Marquan McCall (2018 class) went to Kentucky and why Justin Rogers committed to the Wildcats.

Former Detroit Cass Tech linebacker Deandre Square made the All-SEC freshmen team this past fall for Kentucky.

And Kentucky is in the running for multiple other top players, including Oak Park four-star athlete Enzo Jennings, West Bloomfield four-star safety Makari Paige, Martinez and physical Detroit King running back Peny Boone.

Jennings holds 30 offers, saying, “Penn State, Kentucky and Notre Dame, they are probably my hard three right now.”

Paige has 21 offers.

“I haven’t narrowed down my list yet, but I like Michigan, Notre Dame, Penn State, Ohio State and Kentucky,” said the 6-3, 190-pound Paige, who has put on 12 pounds since last season. “I like the coaching staff at Michigan; they said how I’m a top priority and how bad they want me, which is cool.

“Ohio State and Notre Dame are very good programs and they both do a great job of developing their players. I have a good relationship with the Ohio State coaches and Notre Dame is really prestigious with high academics.”

Kentucky is still in the mix for Paige.

“I was on the phone yesterday with Justin (Rogers) and talked about things,” Paige said. “Coach Clink has done a great job of recruiting. He offered me my sophomore year. He puts a lot of effort into it.”

Boone is now 6-2 and 230 pounds with 4.5 speed.

“I’m open to all schools right now,” Boone said. “I’ve always watched Michigan and Michigan State. Tennessee and Kentucky are some big schools too. Missouri recently offered me and Pittsburgh is about to give me an offer.”

Read the rest of the story at The Detroit News.


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