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Michigan's best high school football teams, preseason players of the year and games to watch.
Michigan Preseason Top 10
1. Cass Tech Technicians (Detroit)
The Technicians could again be the deepest and most talented team in the state this fall, with several future FBS players on the roster, including linebacker/defensive back Deon Drake (committed to Michigan State) and corner Damon Webb (Ohio State).
2. Grand Rapids Christian Eagles
The defending Division 3 champs bring back Preseason Offensive Player of the Year Drake Harris and Northwestern-bound tackle Tommy Doles.
3. Brother Rice Warriors (Bloomfield Hills)
Last year’s Division 2 state champions will be led by senior running backs Brian Walker and Shon Powell, who combined for 35 touchdowns and nearly 2,400 yards on the ground in 2012.
4. Clarkston Wolves
The Wolves return several standouts, including running back Ian Eriksen, tight end Cole Chewins and defensive lineman David Beedle.
5. Muskegon Big Reds
With Western Michigan commit Kenny Finley leading the way up front, the Big Reds could win their fourth state crown in nine years.
6. Ithaca Yellowjackets
The Yellowjackets will go for their fourth consecutive state title this year under the leadership of signal-caller Travis Smith.
7. South Christian Sailors (Grand Rapids)
The Division 4 champs in 2012, the Sailors will be led by Jon Wassink, who threw for 2,564 yards and 23 TDs as a sophomore.
8. Country Day Yellowjackets (Detroit)
Rutgers-bound senior quarterback Tyler Wiegers has one of the state’s top targets in Michigan commit Maurice Way.
9. St. Mary’s Prep Eaglets (Orchard Lake)
The Eaglets lost a heartbreaker in the Division 3 championship but bring back stud athletes Tyson Smith and Jalen Watts-Jackson.
10. Southfield Bluejays
Transfer Malik McDowell forms the most intimidating defensive tandem in the state with Michigan commit Lawrence Marshall.
Five Can't Miss Matchups
8.29 – Grand Rapids Christian at South Christian
This cross-town rivalry features two defending state championship squads.
8.30 – Cass Tech at Southfield
The Technicians could get their biggest regular-season test in this Week 1 contest at Wayne State.
10.4 – Brother Rice at St. Mary’s Prep
Brother Rice didn’t lose another game after falling to St. Mary’s 24-14 last September.
10.18 – Zeeland East at Muskegon
Muskegon hopes to avenge a 40-39 loss, while Zeeland East’s Spencer Viening tries to replicate his 137-yard, three-TD showing.
10.19 – Warren De La Salle at Detroit Catholic Central
This matchup usually delivers some drama. Central escaped with a 31-30 win last fall.
2013 Preseason Offensive Player of the Year
Drake Harris, WR, Grand Rapids Christian
Senior, 6-3, 170
Harris tallied more than 2,000 receiving yards as a junior, including a record 243 in the Division 3 state title game win. A Michigan commitment, he averaged 22 yards per catch and scored 25 TDs. He might struggle to replicate those numbers with the added attention he’ll get this season.
2013 Preseason Defensive Player of the Year
Malik McDowell, DE, Southfield
Senior, 6-6, 280
McDowell, who earned Division 7-8 Player of the Year honors from the AP after dominating small school competition (70 tackles, 15 sacks) for Loyola (Detroit) last season, will try to do it against top competition this year. He forms a formidable tandem with Lawrence Marshall, who is trying to get McDowell to commit to Michigan, too.
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