Is GR Home To State's Top Junior Back?

Two years ago, Michigan grabbed Ruben Riley out of Creston High School in Grand Rapids. That fall, Ruben would come to Michigan games with some teammates, including a very young wide receiver ...

Michigan Junior to Watch: Justin Hoskins

Name: Justin Hoskins
School: Grand Rapids Creston
State: Michigan
Position: Running Back/Defensive Back
Height: 6-1
Weight: 195 lbs.
Forty: 4.33 in the 40
Bench Press: 330 lbs.
GPA: 3.0+

2002 Honors: Grand Rapids Press number 3 rated player in the area before his junior season; Detroit Free Press First Team Division 2 All-State (RB); Detroit News Honorable Mention Class A All-State (RB); Associated Press Honorable Mention Class A All-State (RB); Grand Rapids Press First Team All-Grand Rapids Area (RB); Advance Nespapers First Team Grand Rapids All-Metro North (RB).

Justin rates with Kelly Baraka as one of the most explosive skill position players to emerge from Michigan in recent years. He has a rare combination of power, speed, quickness, shiftiness and good hands. He has the ability to play running back, wide receiver or anywhere in the secondary at the next level, but most schools project him as a ball carrier. He is too valuable of an athlete to not have the ball in his hands on a regular basis. As a junior he rushed 202 times for 1,613 yards (8.0 avg.) and 18 touchdowns in 10 games. Justin won the Division 1 state championship in the long jump as a sophomore with a leap of 23-0.75. His season best was 23-2. To top things off, he is a solid student.

Creston head coach Sparky McEwen had this to say about Justin in early February: "Justin was a junior starter at tailback and defensive back/outside linebacker. As a sophomore he started at wide receiver as we had senior Astin Martin (a First Team All-Stater now playing in the MAC) at tailback. Justin is faster than Astin. He's 6-1, 195 and has run a 4.33 forty. He's probably the best athlete that we've coached at Creston. I've never seen anyone as explosive as Justin. He has a good mind for the game and he's a very physical individual. He bench presses 330 pounds and can do between 17 and 20 reps at 225 pounds. He does an 800 pound leg press. Justin has tremendous hands. He has the gift of being able to catch the ball with his hands as opposed to having to use his body. Justin is receiving interest from a number of Division 1 schools. He has no offers yet, but that's because most teams haven't reviewed his film yet. His sophomore film only showed him as a wide receiver. All of the MAC and most of the Big Ten is in contact. He said something to me about possibly liking Michigan and Notre Dame, but he also mentioned Purdue and an open-ness to going south. Michigan is aware of him as Terry Malone has been in a number of times to see our kids. Malone knows all about him. He definitely likes him. He thinks that Justin is a tremendous athlete. Now Michigan will be able to see him as a running back. Boy he's a treat to watch. He's definitely a Michigan or Notre Dame level kid. He's definitely a high major selection. He also has outstanding grades, well over a 3.0 GPA. Last year he was the top long jumper in the state. I think that he will also win the state title in the sprints this year. He focussed on the long jump as a sophomore but this year in track he will also be doing a lot of sprinting. We've been timing him electronically and he consistently hits 4.35s with a best of 4.33." Note: Coach McEwen is the offensive coordinator of the Grand Rapids Rampage of Professional Arena Football, so he knows NFL-caliber talent when he sees it.

The Grand Rapids Press had this to say about him before his junior season: "Justin Hoskins Creston 5-11, 180 junior wide receiver/running back/linebacker/punter Hoskins has hops -- he set the all-time state-meet record in winning the Division 1 long jump championship last fall -- but he also has more. Much more."

Here is how the Grand Rapids Press described his performance in a game against Grand Rapids Christian his junior season: "Not dampened by the loss were the courageous performances turned in by senior defensive back Corey Washington and junior running back Justin Hoskins. The duo was part of a group of five Creston players injured in an auto accident after a victory over West Catholic the previous Friday night. Still suffering from the bumps and bruises of the accident, Hoskins and Washington both saw significant action, with Hoskins churning out 216 yards on 24 carries, including touchdown runs of 3 and 72 yards. ‘Those boys showed a lot heart to compete tonight,' said McEwen. ‘They were very fortunate to be in position to compete, after the type of accident they were in.' The Division I state long-jump champion last spring, Hoskins kept the Christian defense on guard throughout the game. On a second-down play late in the third quarter, Hoskins brought the entire crowd to its feet with a play that brought back visions of former Detroit Lions great Billy Sims. On the play, Hoskins took a lateral pass from sophomore quarterback Sparky McEwen Jr., sped down the sideline, and hurdled a Christian defender with a spectacular scissors-kick leap, and continued on to the Eagle 37-yard line for a 19-yard gain…....Creston answered on the first play of the ensuing possession, as Hoskins broke free down the left sideline and galloped 72 yards. Creston closed to within a point on a 2-yard touchdown run by Hoskins with 10:39 left in the fourth quarter that completed a 54-yard, nine-play march. The point-after attempt was blocked, leaving the Eagles on top 20-19. In addition to the 261 yards on the ground from Hoskins…."

Here is what the Grand Rapids Press had to say about him when he was named All-Area: "JUSTIN HOSKINS, CRESTON: Arguably the most dangerous player in the area, Hoskins was a threat every time he was near the ball. A three-year starter at a number of positions, the junior rushed 180 times for 1,485 yards (8.5 avg.) and 17 touchdowns during the regular season. He also caught 24 passes for 271 yards (11.5 avg.) and three touchdowns. He returned punts for 135 yards and one touchdown, and he returned kickoffs for 326 yards and two touchdowns. Hoskins totaled an impressive 2,225 all-purpose yards and 23 touchdowns. A year ago, he was the Division 1 state champion at long jump. ‘Justin is just another in a list of special athletes we've coached at Creston High School,' said Creston coach Sparky McEwen. ‘But the important thing with Justin Hoskins is that he may be the most gifted kid at running back position because of his speed and size.' At linebacker, Hoskins totaled 46 tackles, including 25 solos, four tackles for loss, four sacks, one fumble recovery, one caused fumble, two interceptions and five pass breakups"

Here is what the Advance Newspapers had to say about him when he was named All-Area: "JUSTIN HOSKINS Creston, RB Justin is the latest and potentially the best in a long line of talented Creston running backs. Just a junior, Justin (6-0, 180) carried the ball 191 times for 1,581 yards (8.3 avg.) and 18 touchdowns this year. Justin totaled 2,391 all-purpose yards and scored 25 total touchdowns this year. ‘Justin is one of the best pure athletes I have ever coached,' said Creston coach Sparky McEwen. ‘He is an all-state long jumper with great speed and quickness.'"

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