Scouting the MHSAA Finals

Ford Field was again the site for the State Finals in Michigan. We had a chance to see several top prospects in action, here are our thoughts on their performances.

Quarterbacks the Talk of the Weekend
With three quarterbacks committed to FBS schools playing this weekend, they were naturally the most talked about stars. Inkster's Devin Gardner and Orchard Lake St. Mary's Robert Bolden both fell in their second appearances in title games, while Montague's Cody Kater won his second.

Gardner: Lowell's defense was all over him. He had very little chance to get going, but when he got time he made some nice throws. His one to forget was an interception thrown into coverage on 4th down. This is the game everyone saw, but this should not be taken as the final impression of Gardner. He had an excellent senior season which included big performances against tough teams like Steubenville (OH). A tough way to end a high school career, but the future is bright for this kid and anyone who says otherwise was watching him for the first time on Friday.

Bolden: He turned it on late in this season and was a key to the big playoff run the Eaglets made. I've always maintained that he is a pass first, run second quarterback and is best in the pocket, but he ran better in this game than I've seen previously. Those who hadn't seen him play before got to see the smooth release, poise and arm strength that have made him a highly regarded prospect despite the lack of gaudy statistics. He may need a year or two, but I think this is a future college starter.

Kater: He had the best performance of any quarterback and he has been consistently outstanding over the course of his career. Of course, I've had several people e-mail or write in telling me Kater is the best quarterback in the state. If you had only watched these three games over the weekend, you may think that, but Kater wasn't playing against East Grand Rapids or Lowell. That said, he is mobile and can throw on the run, which will help him succeed at Central Michigan. He is a tough kid who has always done well on the big stage. Now, I think all three of these quarterbacks step into pretty good situations in college, but I think Kater may actually inherit the best situation.

Bottom line, we never can judge prospects solely off of one game. All three of these kids have had great games, all have had sub-par games. All three have talent and as far as rankings go, I think Kater proved that he may be a tad underrated. The other two, I will stand by where they are ranked, because those were based on projection of how they will do in college and I think they have the talent to be outstanding college quarterbacks.

Senior Notes
Traverse City St. Francis linebacker Max Bullough had an outstanding day. He was all over the field, making play after play. He has gotten bigger, stronger and has retained his speed. After seeing what he has done as a senior, I think he has a chance to play fairly early at MSU if he can adjust to the heightened level of competition. He should see a bump up our rankings as well.

The other senior I was really impressed with was Detroit Catholic Central's Niko Palazeti. The bruising fullback should see an FBS offer come his way soon. I also liked what I saw from Lowell's bruising offensive lineman Connor Kruse, who currently holds a Western Michigan offer.

Underclassmen to Watch
Riley Bullough, Max's younger brother may not end up as an FBS quarterback, but he is, like his brother, a tough, smart and good all around football player. He is not as big as Max at this point, so he projects more to safety.

Gabe Dean of Lowell had an impressive performance. He strikes me as more of a great high school player than college prospect, but he has a head for the game and is a tough, strong kid. He may also project more to a safety spot in college.

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