Charter Conference preview: Chandler Park's Martin a rising star

Geoff Robinson
The Detroit News
Chandler Park’s Jalen Martin

Predicted finish

(Consensus of coaches)

2014 record in parentheses

1. Harper Woods Chandler Park (8-3, 6-0), 2. Warren Michigan Collegiate (8-2, 5-1), 3. Detroit Old Redford (7-4, 3-3), 4. Detroit University Prep (6-4, 4-2), 5. Southfield Bradford (4-5, 2-4), 6. Romulus Summit (1-8, 1-5).

Top four players

1. A three-star wide receiver with a wide array of scholarship offers, Chandler Park's Jalen Martin (6-foot-2, 192) put up 760 yards and scored 10 touchdowns as a junior in 2014. Expect more big-time offers to come his way soon.

2. Chandler Park running back D.J. Griffin (5-9, 195) is a load. The senior running back rushed for 1,165 yards and 12 touchdowns as a junior. At his size, it's nearly impossible for one guy to bring him down. He sets up the passing game, and he starts at linebacker for coach John Jergovich on defense.

3. TaMarion Johnson of Southfield Bradford may be lanky (6-5, 205) but his quick first step and potential to get bigger landed him a scholarship to Miami (Ohio) as a defensive end. At the high school level, Johnson is also a threat as a wide receiver. If the ball gets thrown up for grabs, his height gives him a distinct advantage over smaller defensive backs.

4. The anchor of the Old Redford defensive line is De'Andre Pearson (6-0, 235). He matches up well with stout offensive linemen, and he has deceptive speed as a strong side defensive end.

Chandler Park players go through the ladder drill during practice.

Top four story lines

1. Youth will be served at Chandler Park: Marquse Steele (6 feet 1, 150) is a wiry freshman quarterback taking over for a team that's won five out of the last six conference championships. "He can be really good," Chandler Park coach John Jergovich said. "We'll see how poised he is and how he moves when guys start coming at him."

2. Turnover is the name of the game at Collegiate: First-year coach John Guth will be charged with taking over a team that lost 18 seniors (14 starters) to graduation. It will be interesting to see if Collegiate can keep pace with Chandler Park until its league finale in October, which is usually played with a conference championship on the line.

3. In its five years in the Charter Conference, Old Redford has finished in third or fourth place every season. With all the talent departing Chandler Park and Michigan Collegiate, this could be the year for Old Redford to make its move to the top of the league.

4. With Detroit Plymouth Educational Center dropping its football program this year, the Charter Conference is down to six teams. Over the last two years, PEC had won just one conference game, finishing its final campaign at 0-6 in the conference.