Spring break for Belleville football prospects is a time to make unofficial visits thanks to their unselfish head coach Jermain Crowell.
Just a few days since the crew of 15 prospects ventured up to Oklahoma to check out Oklahoma State and Tulsa from Texas powerhouse Allen High School, here comes another group of recruiting prospects from Belleville High School in Belleville, Mich., just off of I-94 adjacent to Ypsilanti, Mich., and almost dead center in between Detroit to the east and Ann Arbor to the west. It is a big group that has already been to Illinois, Iowa, Iowa State, Missouri, Kansas State, Kansas, and we know has plans to stop at Arkansas and Oklahoma in addition to the Tuesday afternoon stop and tour of the Oklahoma State campus, West End Zone football facilities and Boone Pickens Stadium, and the Sherman Smith Training Center. One additional destination on the way back may be Notre Dame.
The trip is the brainchild of Belleville head football coach Jermain Crowell, and he is doing a real service for his players on the trip young and old.
"I started this eight-years ago when I was the defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach at Detroit Cass Tech (High School)," said the veteran coach in Michigan. "I had about 12 kids from there that all went on to Michigan and I heard from schools that said, 'We're not coming up there because you send all your kids to Michigan.' I told those coaches if they would come up and see my kids then I would get them out to see them. Now, three years ago I came over to Belleville and I've got some prospects."
Among the group of prospects that range from the upcoming 2018 recruiting class clear to the class of 2021 is 2019 offensive tackle Devontae Dobbs.
Dobbs already has offers from nearby Michigan, Alabama, Auburn, Bowling Green, Cincinnati, Eastern Michigan, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Iowa State, Iowa, Kentucky, LSU, Michigan State, Ohio State, Oregon, Penn State, Tennessee, Toledo, and Wisconsin. He is 6-5, 270 pounds and besides playing offensive tackle, last season he recorded 19 total tackles, eight unassisted, and a sack.
The seniors of note or members of the 2018 class in the group include cornerback and hoops shooting guard Davion Williams and cornerback Kmare Carey.
Carey is 6-2, 165 pounds and has offers from Ball State and Temple. He had 13 tackles last season in an injury shortened season.
Williams is really interesting as he is being recruited some in basketball. He is 6-2, 185 pounds and finished with 35 tackles, 15 unassisted last season, He also averaged 27.5-yards on kickoff returns. Iowa State reported offered a football scholarship earlier on this tour.
Along with Dobbs, linebacker/defensive end Jalen Hunt, wide receiver and corner Julian Barnett, linebacker Marvin Ham, and quarterback Dylan Zagula are in the 2019 recruiting class.
Barnett may be the most recruitable as he is 6-1, 188 pounds with a 4.6 in the forty. Last season he caught 25 passes for 460-yards with a long catch of 68-yards and six touchdowns. He also averaged 25.8-yards on kickoff returns. On defense he had 13 tackles, three tackles for loss, and two interceptions. He has scholarship offers from Auburn, Central Michigan, Georgia, Iowa, Iowa State, Michigan State, Missouri, and Toledo.
Hunt is 6-2, 240 pounds and has made other unofficial visits to Michigan State and Kentucky for their Junior Day. He had 28 tackles, 14 unassisted, five tackles for loss, a sack, and a fumble recovery last season.
Ham is 6-2, 210 pounds and runs a reported 4.6 in the forty. He had 54 tackles last season with 15 of those unassisted.
Zagula played junior varsity last season and will get his chance to start this season at quarterback. He threw for 14 touchdowns and ran for eight last season on the JV. He is good size at 6-3, 195 pounds.
Now from the future, class of 2021 is a very interesting young lineman in Damon Payne. Payne has offers from Northwood and now Iowa State. He is already 6-5, 245 pounds as a 13-year-old.
Also, class of 2021 is running back Darrell Johnson.
In all, Coach Crowell says there are 31 kids on the trip as they are riding in several vans. The best thing is these young football players are seeing college campuses and getting geared for college. Some may play at the level of the schools they are visiting, but if not, they are still motivated to work toward getting to a college campus.
"These kids see what is out here and find out if they are willing to work hard, you know with academics, in the weight room, and on the practice field then they can achieve this," Crowell said. "Then it may not be one of these schools, but for the kids that work hard there are schools out there where they can make it, they can play ball and get an education."
I thought there weren't many coaches like Crowell left around, but this is an encouraging story and you have to like his Twitter message leaving Stillwater, "I love Oklahoma State!!!!!"