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Michigan Metro Athletic Conference prep football preview

Geoff Robinson
Special to The Detroit News
Senior quarterback Jairus Grissom, a three-star prospect, moved to River Rouge from Dearborn Heights Robichaud.

Predicted order of finish

(Consensus of coaches)

2015 record in parentheses

BLUE DIVISION

1. River Rouge (12-2, 2-0)

2. Hamtramck (4-5, 2-1)

3. Detroit University Prep Science & Math (2-7, 0-2)

4. Detroit Community (1-8, 1-2)

RED DIVISION

1. Melvindale Academy for Business & Tech (6-4, 2-0)

2. Detroit Allen Academy (5-4, 0-2)

3. Ecorse (1-8, 1-1)

Top four players

1. River Rouge senior quarterback Jairus Grissom is a three-star prospect who has offers from North Carolina State, Rutgers, Syracuse and a bevy of MAC schools. Coach Corey Parker was getting ready to speak at a coaches convention in Texas when his phone started lighting up from people telling him that Grissom had transferred from Dearborn Heights Robichaud and enrolled at River Rouge. “It was probably one of the craziest days of my life,” Parker said.

2. River Rouge junior tight end Lee Payton is a real difference-maker in the passing game and can expect a lot of looks from Grissom this fall. At 6-foot-3, 220 pounds, he’s a handful for opposing defenses to cover in the open field. He’s a three-star recruit with offers from Toledo and Eastern Michigan.

3. River Rouge junior safety Reggie Pearson has good size (5-11, 185) for a safety at the high school level. His ball instincts and play-making ability have made him a three-star recruit with offers from Iowa State, Syracuse and Wisconsin, among others.

4. ABT senior quarterback Elijah Smith is a dual-threat quarterback who can put his team on his back. His ability to make plays with his feet have gotten ABT out of some sticky situations in the past.

Top four story lines

1. River Rouge is coming off a heartbreaking 40-34 loss to Grand Rapids West Catholic in the Division 5 state championship. The return of 11 starters, along with transfer and three-star quarterback Jairus Grissom, shows that coach Corey Parker’s squad is locked and loaded for another run.

2. ABT brings back just seven starters from a team that won its last four regular-season games to get into the playoffs in 2015. Senior quarterback Elijah Smith will have to provide the stability and leadership necessary for another postseason berth.

3. Chanterius Brock has moved on from his coaching position at Ann Arbor Skyline to take on the challenge of directing an Ecorse program that has won just five games in the last three seasons.

4. Community and UPSM are both going to be replacing key players in the backfield. The starting quarterbacks and running backs for both schools graduated in 2016, leaving one to wonder what to expect from each school this fall.

Western Wayne Athletic Conference prep football preview