Michigan's Ottawa Kent conference, in the Grand Rapids area, is not only one of the best football conferences in Michigan, but it is generally regarded as one of the best football conferences in the Midwest. You won't find many sophomores on the Ottawa Kent all-conference team, but last year Jordan Jonkers (5-foot-10, 195 pounds) pulled it off.
"He was first-team all-conference as a sophomore," head coach Dave Duram responded when asked about his star athlete. "He's been a starter both ways since we brought him up as a sophomore. He's a tough kid. He's never missed a practice or game due to an injury. He's probably our most active power-lifter.
"I think his real talent is carrying the ball out of the backfield. He runs over people. He reads his blocks very well. He has the speed to get outside. He's had several runs of 70 yards or more. The other night I believe he had a run of 65 yards. He's playing against the biggest and best teams in Michigan. All the teams have kids going to Division I programs."
Although Duram knows that Jonkers is the team's spark on offense, he isn't afraid to have Jonkers dirty his uniform on defense.
"We've lined him up as a fullback, we've lined him up in the split-back set and we motion him out of the backfield," coach Duram explained. "We use him at flanker. We use him all over the field. He's tough enough that we played him at nose guard last year and sometimes we had him as a defensive end. This year we have him as an outside linebacker and we'll walk him up as a defensive end.
"He leads by example. He's kind of quiet, but he'll speak up when he should. He's not shy. He gets his job done. He has a blue-collar work ethic. He works very hard. He takes the game very serious. He loves playing the game."
Notre Dame had a chance to look at Jonkers this summer and he may be a prospect they'll take a look at for their 2009 recruiting class.
"They've been in touch with him and we have tickets to go up to a game. He was at their camp this summer," Duram said. "I know Boston College and Michigan State sent him something today. I really haven't been paying attention to the recruiting stuff, but I know he's had a number of top schools sending him stuff."
Hudsonville is already off to a quick 2-0 start this season. Jonkers has piled up over 250 yards rushing and five touchdowns already this season.
As a sophomore year he had 146 rushing attempts for 844 yards (5.8 yards per carry) and 16 rushing touchdowns. Jonkers added six receptions for 37 yards. On defense he had 50 tackles and three sacks.