Det. MacKenzie Kids

Jim S' series on instate juniors continues. There are two top junior prospects at Detroit MacKenzie that we have been following for a while now. And, it looks like there may be two others as well.

Michigan Junior to Watch: Demarco Hughes

Name: Demarco Hughes
School: Detroit MacKenzie
State: Michigan
Position: Offensive Line/Defensive Line
Height: 6-4 1/2
Weight: 282 lbs.
Forty: 4.8 in the 40
Bench Press: 325 lbs.

2002 Honors: Detroit News Honorable Mention All-Metro Detroit; Detroit Free Press First Team All-Detroit (OT); Detroit News Second Team All-Detroit.

Detroit MacKenzie hasn't seen so much Division 1 talent since the days of Jermoe Bettis in the late 1980! No less than four juniors are considered to be Big Ten caliber prospects, and leading the charge is perhaps the best of the bunch, versatile two-way lineman Demarco Hughes.

MacKenzie Eric Smith had this to say about DeMarco in late January : "Demarco Hughes was a two-way starter as a junior at offensive tackle and defensive end. He's 6-4 1/2, 282 and runs a 4.8 forty. He benches 325 pounds and had a 78% blocking efficiency as a junior. He's an ex-linebacker. He's an excellent drive-blocker. He's very aggressive with quick hands and feet. He was up at Michigan for the MSU basketball game and is also being recruited by Iowa, Illinois, Michigan State and others. He has no offers yet, but he loves Michigan. He would probably commit to them if offered. His uncle played for Indiana in the early 80s and he initially liked them, but he's been to a few Michigan games and they are sending him letters regularly. Eric Campbell came to one of our games and likes DeMarco, however he said that he needs to turn up his intensity. Demarco will receive lots of offers. Illinois will be offering soon. He's our top college prospect for the upcoming season (MacKenzie has four legitimate Division 1 prospects) . He wants to play Saturdays at 1:00 pm on ESPN."

The Detroit Free Press had the following to say when naming him All-Detroit: "OT DEMARCO HUGHES School: Mackenzie. Class: Junior. Size: 6-4, 268 pounds. Highlights: Two-year starter. Moved from linebacker to defensive end and had 61 tackles and nine sacks. Coach Eric Smith: ‘Demarco's a tenacious drive blocker. And this kid can run. Defenders try to run around him, but they're going to get hit. We can run 85-90 percent of the time behind him. He could play tight end.'"

Demarco has that nice combination of size and quickness that Division 1 coaches really look for in linemen. He has the versatility to play on either side of the ball in college, but offensive guard could be his best fit. One final bit of information, always critical when evaluating U-M prospects. Demarco is a better than average student and should not have a problem qualifying.

Michigan Junior to Watch: Fred Wilson

Name: Fred Wilson
School: Detroit MacKenzie
State: Michigan
Position: Running Back/Defensive Back
Height: 5-11
Weight: 195 lbs.
Forty: 4.5 in the 40
Bench Press: 340 lbs.
Squat: 550 lbs.
GPA: 3.6
ACT: 17

2002 Honors: Detroit Free Press Honorable Mention All-Detroit (RB); Detroit News Honorable Mention All-Detroit (RB).

Fred Wilson made his name at the Michigan summer camp last year when he walked away with an award as the best tailback. As a sophomore starter at tailback he rushed for 800 yards. During his junior season, however, he suffered an ankle injury the fourth game of the season and had to endure playing the rest of the season with an air cast. Prior to the injury he had gotten off to a great start with 170 yards rushing and three scores on only 11 carries in week one followed up by 15 carries for 205 yards rushing and 3 TDs in week 2. He has the combination of size, power and speed that U-M really likes to see in its running backs.

MacKenzie head coach Eric Smith had this to say about Wilson in late January: "Fred won the tailback award at the U-M camp last summer. He's 5-11, 195 and runs a 4.5 forty. He's just 16 years old and bench presses 340 pounds and squats 550. He will be a four-year starter and was a two-way starter at Tailback and linebacker as a junior. He could also play strong safety. He had an ankle injury in game 4 of his junior season and played with an air cast the rest of the year, which hampered him. He's a Big Ten prospect. Michigan is recruiting him. Eric Campbell says he has great, excellent feet and is also a power runner, which is the type of runner that U-M likes. He attended the U-M-MSU basketball game and was also up for a football game. He's also hearing from Iowa, Boston College, Illinois and others. He has no offers yet but I think Boston College will offer him soon as a running back. He has a 3.6 GPA and 17 ACT. Michigan is his favorite. He's originally from Florida, but during his Michigan visits Michigan showed him a good time. If Michigan offered he would commit early."

Really keep an eye out for Fred Wilson. If he had not been injured he would be at or near the top of most colleges wish lists. The fact that a school like Boston College was on the verge of offering last month says a lot about his potential.

Michigan Junior to Watch: Blake Smith

Name: Blake Smith
School: Detroit MacKenzie
State: Michigan
Position: Defensive Back/Quarterback
Height: 6-2
Weight: 180 lbs.
Forty: 4.5 in the 40
GPA: 3.2 (3.0 core)
ACT: 14

2002 Honors: Detroit Free Press Second Team All-Detroit (DB); Detroit News Honorable Mention All-Detroit (QB).

His head coach and father, Eric Smith, had this to say about Blake in late January: "Blake is a coach on the field. He was a two-way starter at Quarterback and free safety as a junior. He's 6-2, 180 and runs a 4.5 forty. As a junior he had 742 yards passing and 600 yards rushing. On defense he had 6 interceptions. He is being recruited by Michigan and Illinois as a quarterback. Illinois will be offering him soon. We will go down to a basketball game on February 10 and finalize things there. Eric Campbell has known him since he was 10 years old. MSU is recruiting him as a free safety. Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Florida State are his top four. He's originally from Ohio so he's an Ohio State fan. The Buckeyes are his favorite. He will camp at Florida State, Michigan and Ohio State this summer. Last summer he was a day camper at Michigan. He's a 6-6 high jumper and won the PSL title while finishing 8th in the state. Blake has a 3.2 GPA, 3.0 core GPA and scored a 14 the first time he took the ACT."

Actually, I first learned about Blake when he was still in eighth grade. Here is what his father told me in March 2000 when he was named head coach at MacKenzie and Blake was in eighth grade: "Blake is my son. He will push to start at quarterback as a freshman but will likely start on the JV team. He can run. He's 5-10, 160 and runs a 4.7 forty. He only turns 14 in May. He plays QB, FS and TB."

Blake has the size, speed and athleticism to excel at the next level at either quarterback or ddefensive back. I was honestly quite surprised to learn that Michigan is recruiting him as a quarterback. He doesn't seem to fit the prototype drop-back passer profile that U-M has recruited over the past 15 years. I see him as more of a safety at a school like Michigan. We will first need to watch out for those Buckeyes though!

Michigan Junior to Watch: Kalvin Brown

Name: Kalvin Brown
School: Detroit MacKenzie
State: Michigan
Position: Defensive Back/Wide Receiver/Running Back
Height: 5-11
Weight: 172 lbs.
Forty: 4.4 in the 40
Bench Press: 285 lbs.
Squat: 30 reps at 225
GPA: 2.4 core
ACT: 18

2002 Honors: Detroit News Honorable Mention All-Metro Detroit (RB); Detroit News Second Team All-Detroit (RB); Detroit Free Press Honorable Mention All-Detroit (RB).

Kalvin Brown is a versatile skill-position player who possesses Big Ten caliber athletic ability. In order to qualify, however, he will have to work harder in classroom.

MacKenzie head coach Eric Smith had this to say about Kalvin in late January: "Kalvin started as a junior at wide receiver, tailback, cornerback, and returning kicks and punts.. He moved from wide receiver to tailback when Fred Wilson was injured in game four. He's 5-11, 172 and runs a 4.4 forty. He's very versatile and benches 285 pounds. Talent-wise he's the best around but he will need to work very hard to qualify. Athletically he could easily play in the Big Ten. He's a high-level Division 1 prospect. He had 14 touchdowns in just 6 games before he went down with an injury. We went 6-0 with him and 0-4 without him. He has no offers yet but Eastern Michigan, Central Michigan, Western Michigan, Indiana, and Boston College are looking at him. His junior season was his first year at MacKenzie, but he started at Detroit Loyola as a freshman and sophomore."

Here is how the Detroit Free Press described his performance in week 5 of his junior season: "Detroit Mackenzie led by one point with 3:48 left to play when the Stags' defense knelt during a timeout and defensive back Kalvin Brown took of his helmet and revealed a broad grin. ‘Get that smile off your face!' shouted assistant coach Charles Highbaugh. ‘It's not over yet!' Oh yes it was. Redford's Jenkins is a threat every time he touches the ball and for a moment appeared to break loose on a counter trap play. But Brown came up from the secondary and leveled him with a hit that lifted Jenkins off his feet. ‘I was doing my job and I happened to see him running up in the hole,' Brown said. ‘I came up and made the tackle. It was a big play and I'm a big-play player.' A bad snap from center gave Mackenzie the ball at Redford's 20 and four plays later, Brown took a hand-off, cut off Hughes' block and sprinted 11 yards untouched for the score. "It was an excellent call and I had to do my job," Brown said. ‘Everybody had to block somebody and coach told me to make my own decision which way to go. When I get in the open I'm too fast for them to catch.'

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