Five Cass Tech players to watch vs. Detroit King

David Goricki
The Detroit News
Cass Tech's Michael Onwenu, middle, fights off two offensive linemen during an August practice.

Here are five Cass Tech players to watch in Saturday’s showdown against No. 1 Detroit King:

Michael Onwenu, 6-3, 360, Sr., T-DT

Onwenu is a left tackle who gets nasty coming off the ball, opening holes for ball carriers or protecting quarterback Rodney Hall.

Onwenu, a Michigan commit, is a big reason Cass Tech is averaging 45 points a game en route to a 4-0 start.

It was announced earlier this week that Onwenu will be playing in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Jan. 9, 2016, at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

Demetric Vance, 6-2, 200, Sr., S

Vance is always in the right place at the right time, showing his ability to force a turnover, make a big hit or prevent the big play from his safety position. He was forced to sit out due to disciplinary reasons for the first quarter of last week’s game against Renaissance, a reason Cass Tech trailed at one point, 19-14 with 2:24 left in the opening quarter.

Vance, a Michigan State commit, also can be a weapon at receiver when called upon by head coach Thomas Wilcher.

Like Onwenu, Vance will represent Cass Tech in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

Five things to look for in Cass Tech-King showdown

Rodney Hall, 6-2, 210, Jr., QB

There was no doubt Hall could run Cass Tech’s offense his sophomore year, completing 70 percent of his passes for 1,200 yards and 22 touchdowns.

Well, Cass Tech offensive coordinator Dave Malecki talked earlier this month about how the coaching staff went to Ohio State during the offseason and brought back some of the Buckeyes’ offense and Hall is now running the ball as well.

In fact, Hall has rushed for 197 yards the last two weeks in wins over Mumford and Renaissance, including 70 during the first quarter in the 62-19 win over Renaissance last weekend. He has thrown for 13 touchdowns and also has five rushing touchdowns.

Donovan Peoples-Jones, 6-2, 190, Jr., WR

Peoples-Jones opened some eyes in The Opening Camp this summer in Oregon when he ran a 4.4 and showed his ability in a number of other drills to walk away as the premier athlete.

In other words, coaches at The Opening found out what Wilcher and King coach Dale Harvel already knew … that Peoples-Jones is a special player.

Peoples-Jones — a four-star recruit and No. 1-rated player in Michigan in the 2017 class by — has been offered by Alabama, Ohio State, MSU, Michigan, Stanford, Southern Cal, Tennessee and others. He is off to a strong start by showing his big-play ability as a receiver and special teams player. He has 15 receptions and three touchdowns as a receiver and has also scored on a pair of punt returns. He had two touchdown receptions in last year’s 39-7 PSL title game win over King.

Donovan Johnson, 5-9, 175, Jr., CB

Johnson played a big role in Cass Tech’s dominating win over King in last year’s PSL title game, shutting down big-play receiver Donnie Corley for the majority of the game.

Johnson is having another solid season with opponents, according to Wilcher, staying away from his side of the field.

“He has only three pass break-ups and an interception because teams are staying away from him, going to the other side of the field,” Wilcher said, “and that’s why (Donnell) Alexander has three picks already.”

Johnson already has offers from Tennessee, Toledo and Cincinnati.