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Detroit-area recruits showing skills, landing offers

David Goricki
The Detroit News
Aaron Jackson, left

Tyrone Sampson has enjoyed his spring break, taking a trip east with his Detroit East English teammates and head coach Rod Oden on a tour of college campuses and football programs earlier this week.

Sampson, a center, committed to Syracuse on Tuesday after visiting the Atlantic Coast Conference school.

Sampson had a strong junior season in the middle of East English’s offensive line last fall to put himself on the radar as one of the top Detroit-area recruits for the 2018 class.

Sampson, a 6-foot-3, 320-pound four-star recruit, is ranked the nation’s No. 2 player at his position by Scout.com and the No. 5 in Michigan overall.

Sampson attended Michigan’s spring game Saturday knowing he was never going to play for the Wolverines, but still enjoyed the day while visiting with other elite recruits, including Michigan early-enrollee center Cesar Ruiz.

“I got a chance to talk to a couple of players that I knew (including) Cesar Ruiz, and he’s a pretty cool dude,” said Sampson, who also had offers from Louisville, Kentucky, Minnesota, Indiana, Virginia, Western Michigan, Toledo, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Buffalo and Ohio. “I guess Michigan and Michigan State haven’t offered me because they have a lot of interior linemen.”

Still, Sampson is thrilled to be headed to Syracuse. He toured Akron, Kent State and Pittsburgh Monday, then Syracuse and Buffalo on Tuesday.

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“I know the coaches and have a good relationship with those guys,” said Sampson of Syracuse head coach Dino Babers, who guided Bowling Green to the MAC championship in 2015 before taking over at Syracuse prior to the 2016 season.

Sampson, who plans to sign in the early signing period in December, will be competing in the prestigious The Opening camp in Oregon in July. He got the invitation after being named Most Valuable Player among offensive linemen at The Opening regional camp earlier this month in Cleveland.

“It’s a blessing and I’m just excited that I have the opportunity to go out there and compete,” Sampson said. “I got invited right after I was named MVP. It’s always been a dream of mine to get an invitation to The Opening. That’s what I’ve been working for and now I can’t wait to get to Oregon.”

Jaeveyon Morton

Sampson has shown consistent improvement in his game the last couple of years.

“I improved a lot from my sophomore year to junior year and I’m getting even better now,” said Sampson. “I’ve got faster with the game. I’m more physical now than I was last year and the game’s just coming much easier. I’m stronger and faster.”

Detroit Cass Tech defensive back Kalon Gervin, a Notre Dame commit, will join Sampson at The Opening this summer.

On Sunday, 6-4, 230-pound junior Andre Carter of Detroit Cass Tech committed to Western Michigan, a day after the Broncos' spring game at Waldo Stadium.

Carter, a three-star defensive end, transferred to Cass Tech after playing two years at Southfield and Southfield A&T.

“I got to see Andre a little bit during the summer the last couple of years,” said Oden of Carter, who is ranked No. 18 in the state by 247Sports. “He’ll be a great pass rusher for them and I think he’ll have the ability to stop the run, as well. He’s long and freakishly athletic so I think he’ll be a good fit for them in Kalamazoo.”

East English junior Zhamaine March was also with Oden and Sampson on the tour.

“He has eight offers, half as a running back and four as a defensive back,” said Oden of March. “He doesn’t care what position he plays. He’s a 4.4 guy, a track kid who I think is leaning toward Western Michigan or Northern Illinois. He ran for more than 1,200 yards last year, had five interceptions and a combined 24 touchdowns.”

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Cass Tech head coach Thomas Wilcher said 6-2, 210-pound junior quarterback Aaron Jackson committed to Eastern Michigan this month. Jackson played the entire game in the Division 1 state championship in 2015, completing 19-of-27 for 194 yards and two TDs in a 41-27 loss to Romeo, then split time with Rodney Hall early in the 2016 season when Hall was coming back from a leg injury suffered in the ’15 semifinal victory.

“Aaron’s a dual-threat quarterback who can make all the throws and run with the ball,” Wilcher said. “This is his time and we’re looking for big things from him this fall.”

Jackson has multiple other offers, including one from Kentucky as a defensive back.

Detroit King had an outstanding cornerback last year in Ambry Thomas, who is set to play this fall at Michigan. Now, King has another elite cornerback in junior Jaeveyon Morton, who was named MVP among defensive backs at The Opening regional camp in Cleveland.

“I had a good time, was MVP there,” said Morton of the camp. “We did one-on-ones, different drills. I feel I improved a lot from my sophomore year to my junior year on the defensive side of the ball, a lot of technique. It’s also helped from going to these type of camps.”

Morton, who runs a 4.55 40, intercepted six passes, four for TDs, including two interceptions, one returned 61 yards for a TD in a 18-0 Division 2 state championship game win over Walled Lake Western. He also had 38 receptions for 567 yards and 13 TDs.

Morton has received offers from Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Iowa State, Western Michigan, Northern Illinois, Toledo, Eastern Michigan, Buffalo, Akron and Kent State.

King coach Tyrone Spencer traveled Friday to Penn State and Temple with a number of players, including Morton and sophomore quarterback Dequan Finn.