I ventured down to Detroit last weekend to take in the Detroit Crockett versus
Farmington Hills Harrison game. This game was of particular interest because it
was one that UM recruit Charles Stewart had circled on his calendar. Earlier in
the summer he was informed that those on the Crockett side had been tossing around
the soft label when describing him. I thought that he would go into to the game
with a little edge, and the way he played last Saturday confirmed my suspicion.
As a matter of fact, ALL of the players had an edge. When I visited Crockett earlier
this spring (Afternoon
at Detroit Crockett), Coach McGhee informed me that this was a game his team
was really looking forward to. That was overwhelmingly apparent, based on the
intensity of his squad. It was a hard-hitting affair that wasn’t for the
faint of heart.
This game provided the first opportunity to see Charles on the offensive side
of the ball at runningback. The first thing you notice is his speed and quickness.
He really gets in and out of the hole with explosion. He also wasn’t afraid
to finish off a run by lowering his shoulder. Early in the second quarter he
scored his first points as a tailback with a 5 yard jaunt up the middle after
juking a defender. He also showed nice ability as a punt returner, taking the
ball right up the gut and gaining positive yardage on every occasion. He reminds
me a lot of LeSueur in that instance. He came close to breaking one, but the
aforementioned TD was the highlight of Charles’ offensive evening. On
two other occasions, he put the ball on the ground. One of the turnovers led
to a Crockett score. I must say on Charles’ behalf that he was distracted
by a very painful leg injury at the time of the fumbles.
On defense, Crockett avoided Charles like the plague. He had his man locked
up so they threw to the side opposite him most of the evening. All 3 Crockett
TD passes went to the other side. Just as I witnessed this summer, Charles will
get up in receivers’ faces and play the physical game. He has gotten even
stronger do to his staunch dedication to the weight room. Further, he has the
ability to run with receivers or make up separation if he bites on a move. Charles
was visibly upset when he had to leave the game early in the third quarter do
to severe cramps in his leg. He made several attempts to get back in the game
and help his team, but when the receiver he was covering was able to run by
him for the first time all game, Charles and his coach knew it was time to call
it a night. “I could hardly walk in the second half,” Charles said.
“I kept trying to get it loose, but nothing would work.”
I’ve watched Charles perform 5 times now and every time he looks better.
He has great feet, as evidenced by his nice backpedal. He can also turn and
run out of it with ease. Plus, he’s a presence on the corner. He still
has the rep as the hardest hitter on the team. He looked a lot like LeSueur
on defense too(maybe a half step slower). All of that only confirms what a great
athlete he is. Even though he didn’t play the whole game or see much action
to his side on defense, he still showed quite a bit. He went back into the game
no less than five times so that he could try to help his team. Every time he
limped on the field for a play or two, he’d limp right back off and have
the trainer start working on him again. He was obviously in pain and couldn’t
perform at the level that he had become accustomed, but he was going to give
his team all he had. That type of unselfishness will go a long way with his
Compounding Harrison's troubles was the loss of one of their other top athletes,
DE/TE Kyle Taylor. He caught a pass over the middle and in a play eerily similar
to the one in which, former Michigan tight end, Shawn Thompson got hurt, the
defender hit Kyle in the leg almost as soon as he came down with reception.
Despite the loss off two of their top players, the Harrison players still played
a tough gritty game, going up 14-13 late.
On the Crockett side of things, the kids were really hyped up for this game.
Every hit had something behind it. That was especially true when coming from
senior leader John Thompson. Thompson has a great nose for the ball and looks
a lot bigger with his pads on. He has good speed and was as good in backside
pursuit as he was taking on plays head on. On one occasion he crunched Charles
in the hole and drew oohs from the crowd. As for an area of improvement, he’s
going to have to work on playing in space…whether it be in pass coverage
or against the run. With everything I had heard about Thompson, I was expecting
an impressive performance and he delivered with a 12-tackle, 1 sack day at the
office. What I saw from Thompson was no surprise, but what I saw from his quarterback,
Prentiss Williams, was.
Williams looks to be a legit 6’2” and about 200lbs. He’s
extremely mobile with the ability to scramble for big yards on a broken play.
While it’s evident that Crockett doesn’t run the most sophisticated
passing offense, the plays that they do run showcased a very nice arm. He had
no problem airing out. That said, his touch was far more impressive. He threw
3 beautiful touchdown passes that were all of the beautiful over the shoulder
variety. The receivers were able to run right under the ball without breaking
stride. If Williams keeps performances like that up he’ll crack the top
25 In-State prospects. He looks to have D-1A talent.
We’ll be checking Charles out again when Harrison takes on Lake Orion.
That too should be a fun match-up!
Be sure to check back for photos being added to this story..