2016 record in parenthesis; listed by predicted order of finish.
Senior quarterback Jarrid Butts is returning after getting injured in Week 3 last year. Sophomore tight end DeAndre Gaines and junior receiver Jalen Mustin also return, along with two other offensive starters for coach Chanterius Brock. Six starters return on defense, including senior tackle Ahmed Weathers and sophomore defensive end Michael Sessoms.
MELVINDALE ACADEMY FOR BUSINESS & TECH (4-5)
ABT lost four of its last five games last year after starting the season 3-1. It will face Detroit Country Day on the road, a tall order, to end its regular season on Oct. 20.
DETROIT COMMUNITY (2-7)
Coach Del Humphrey’s team will have to improve its defense in order to win more games after Community allowed 35 points per game last year. Finishing down the stretch will be a point of emphasis, as Community lost its final five contests a year ago, lowlighted by three shutouts.
DETROIT UNIVERSITY PREP SCIENCE & MATH (1-8)
Coach Tarif Kumasi will rely on senior receiver/defensive back Mike Chatman, junior quarterback/free safety Keith Pett and sophomore offensive guard/nose tackle Tremaine Jones to install his five-wide, no-back offense and 3-4 defense in his first year at the helm.
RIVER ROUGE (11-2)
Six starters return on offense from a team that got knocked out in the Division 4 state semifinals last year, including senior tight end Lee Payton and junior offensive lineman Dontrell Walker. Coach Corey Parker’s defense will be led by six seniors: linebackers Eric Chenault and Baron Sholar; safety Reggie Pearson Jr.; defensive lineman Tyler Carter; and defensive backs Ralph Gaston and DeAnte Rigsby.
Fresh off its first winning season since 1999, eight starters return on offense, headlined by senior quarterback Lawrence Napier, who had more than 900 yards rushing and 14 total touchdowns last year, and senior receiver/defensive back Kameron Bell, who returns after scoring six times with 524 receiving yards in 2016. Seven starters also return on defense, including senior linebacker Trudell Carter and senior safety Daniel Avery.
HARPER WOODS (5-4)
Senior quarterback Kelvin Jones returns after scoring six total touchdowns last year. Five other starters are also back on offense, including senior running back Darionte Young. Senior linebacker Jalib Davis and senior cornerback Cole Greene are among five returning defensive starters.
DETROIT UNIVERSITY PREP (3-5)
University Prep joins the Michigan Metro from the Charter League. Senior quarterback Leo Mumphield and senior receiver Larry Skinner are among seven returning starters on offense. Defensive tackle Devin Laws and senior linebacker David McCoyd highlight five returning starters on defense.
Eric Coughlin is a freelance writer.