Michigan State 7-7 Notebook

The Michigan State Spartans hosted a 7-7 tournament on Saturday. Several of the state's top teams were in attendance along with a couple squads from out of state who brought some big time talent in. Here are our notes and thoughts on some of the top players participating.

While rains briefly stopped play for periods of time, the tournament was completed and the talent level was high in East Lansing on Saturday.

Oak Park made the trip and that presented an opportunity for Edwin Baker to play on the turf where he will spend the next four years. Lately, there have been whispers around the state about his health, but Baker was 100% and playing like it. Of course, in a 7-7 format, we're able to see how a back runs routes and catches the ball. Baker did that well as he beat his man down the seam right away in the Knights' first game. He continued his strong performance throughout the day and the four-star back proved he will be dangerous out of the backfield as a receiver for the Spartans. He also showed toughness and speed as a cornerback on defense.

Fort Wayne's AWP (Athletes With Purpose) brought up a team from Indiana and they represented the Hoosier State well. Bishop Luers' dynamic duo of CB Lawrence Barnett and LB Tyquan Hammock were on hand. Barnett had a fine day, breaking up several passes on defense, making a couple of spectacular interceptions and being a deep threat on offense.

Hammock showed his athleticism switching over to tight end a couple times and catching a few passes. Luers also brought sophomore to be cornerback Ricky Mullin, who has obviously learned a lot from watching Barnett as he was physical, had good hips and looks like he is on his way to being a highly recruited prospect himself. The AWP team also had another underclassman to remember, Southside's Greg Johnson. Johnson split time at quarterback, but coach Mike Ledo says he will be a big time cornerback prospect.

Another team of all-stars was Raw Talent sports' band of players put together from the Akron area. The team's best player may have been Akron St. Vincent-St.Mary's rising sophomore CB Doran Grant. He regularly switched onto the other team's best receiver and had success against some of the better pass catchers in the tournament. Running back/defensive back Jamaine Cook, of Midpark already has an offer from Bowling Green and showed why today as his quickness and versatility were on display. I was also high on Padua Fransican's rising junior QB James Flowers who has good size at 6'3, 215 and has a strong arm. His baseball background was apparent in watching him throw and he should develop some touch and refine his mechanics as he learns the game more.

As for the instate teams, they brought some quarterbacks who could sling it as well. South Haven's 6'7 Isiah Grimes turned heads with his size, but also with his arm. He has nice touch and threw the ball well deep. Like all young quarterbacks, he could see the field better and make quicker reads, but he showed a nice arm to go along with his size and athleticism.

Orchard Lake St. Mary's Robert Bolden started as a sophomore last season and should be all the better for it this year. An athletic 6'3, 190-lber, Bolden has good mechanics and a nice, smooth release. He has above average arm strength, but that is where I think he can improve. After a bit of a tough initial start, he got into a rhythm and threw some pretty balls later in the day.

Flint Southwestern Academy's Cameron Stover and Birmingham Brother Rice's Frankie Popp are other guys in the 2010 class to watch out for. Stover, having just transferred over from Carman-Ainsworth will be competing for the job at SWA with returning starter Anthony Kemp.

Speaking of Southwestern, they had one of the day's biggest playmakers in 6'4, 235-lb tight end/linebacker DeMarkus Bracy. If you recognize that name, it is probably because Bracy has been one of the state's top power forwards for the past few years and he played like one today. He caught everything thrown at him and won a couple jump balls in the end zone. He can run for a big guy and his potential on the gridiron appears to be nearly unlimited.

A couple of Bolden's targets had strong tournaments. WR Rodney Woodland is on a roll, recently picking up offer number one from Central Michigan and he showed why today. Super quick with legitimate 4.4 speed, he got deep a couple times and also was dangerous after the catch. Teammate Suave Lavallis made some nice plays on offense, but it is defense where he has his biggest impact. Although he is only 5'9, Lavallis makes up for it with instincts and ball skills.

Grimes' teammate, Kelip Goodwin is good athlete who can do a lot of things as he showed today. The 6'2 Goodwin plays running back for the Rams but is better suited for wide receiver or safety in college. Like his quarterback, he does not have any offers, but Big Ten and MAC schools have been hot on his trail.

Brother Rice has a number of talented prospects. Shamari Benton, who has been working out and being recruited at defensive back was back at his natural position of linebacker today. He showed his speed and physicality, having to be warned a couple times about contact. He is a hitter! Kenny Watkins looked smooth and fast out there and a couple other Warrior defenders, linebacker Shaquille Marshall, a thick 5'11, 230-lber and cornerback Brantly Fulton had nice days as well. Junior wide receiver Kevonte Martin, a top basketball prospect, continues to impress me with his ball skills and route running ability. He could play either or both sports in college.

Birmingham Seaholm TE Mitch Kessel, who has been recruited at defensive end and offensive tackle in addition to tight end, was actually split out today. He created a mismatch every time and showed he could run too as he got down the sideline and made a couple nice catches.

Detroit King came and although the Crusaders are fairly young, they still have a rising senior to be aware of. Safety Brandon Colbert played some cornerback today and lined up over the slot most of the time. At 6'2, 210-lbs, he looks like a linebacker but can run and cover. The staff says he is working to be down to 200-lbs by the season, a better playing weight for him. Either way, Colbert is a bit of a sleeper right now who should see increased interest soon.

A Couple Other Notes: *A couple missing players today. Seaholm linebacker Adam Fenton was at MSU yesterday for camp, but did not stay for the 7-7 tournament, choosing to head to Penn State instead. Orchard Lake St. Mary's tight end Dion Sims also missed today as he is at a basketball camp.

*While not participating, Flint Southwestern DT/OT Dionte Savage was there lending support to his teammates. A massive and physical 6'5, 320-lber, Savage should be one of the top players in Michigan for 2010.

*The Spartans also had a lineman camp on Saturday. Among the standouts in attendance were Adrian DE Dylan Farrington, Walled Lake Western DE Edison Vushaj and Canal Fulton Northwest center Nate Klatt.

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