Local recruiting notes: PSL stars headed across nation

David Goricki
The Detroit News


West Bloomfield High football coach and former University of Michigan football player Ron Bellamy jokes around with A.J. Abbott, who is signing with the University of Wisconsin.

Detroit – PSL powerhouse programs Detroit Cass Tech, Detroit King and Detroit East English showcased standout players who signed national letters of intent at the Horatio Williams Foundation Wednesday morning.

The state’s premier center, Tyrone Sampson of East English, was missing from the ceremony, having second thoughts on Syracuse and deciding to wait to sign in February after taking other official visits.

Cass Tech cornerback Kalon Gervin, the No. 1 player on The Detroit News Blue Chip list, couldn’t wait to sign to play at Michigan State.

“Growing up and being a Michigan State fan, it’s amazing to finally commit and sign with them,” Gervin said. “They’ve been recruiting me for a long time. I’ve known them forever. I’ve been going to State since 8th  grade, going to the games and stuff. Now, finally it’s here.”

Gervin plans to graduate early, attend MSU starting in January and compete in spring practice.

More: Vincent Gray rethinks Missouri after offer from UM’s Harbaugh

Cass Tech 6-foot-5 receiver Brandon Gray — ranked No. 25 on the Blue Chip list — can’t wait to play in Mike Leach’s high-scoring attack at Washington State.

“Coach Leach welcomed me to the family with open arms and I could tell with how they recruited me that they wanted me as a person and as a player, just felt it would be the right fit for me,” said Gray, who plans to major in engineering. “I like how they throw the ball 50 times a game; the game can turn into a shootout and there’s lots of opportunities for big plays.”

Gray took his official visit to Washington State Dec. 8-10 and bonded with other recruits, and can’t wait to watch the Spartans play the Cougars in the Holiday Bowl Dec. 28.

Other PSL players to sign Wednesday included Cass Tech linebacker DeAndre Square at Kentucky, King cornerback Jaeveyon Morton to Iowa State, Cass Tech linebacker/defensive end Andre Carter to Western Michigan, Cass Tech quarterback Aaron Jackson to Eastern Michigan, Cass Tech linebacker Dyontae Johnson to Toledo, King receiver Erik Gibson to Minnesota, East English running back Zhamaine March to Northern Illinois and East English defensive end DesJuan Johnson to Toledo.

Signing their letters of intent are Cass Tech High football players, from right, DeAndre Square, Kalon Gervin, Andre Carter, Dyontae Johnson, Aaron Jackson and Brandon Gray.

Square – ranked No. 12 on the Blue Chip list – also plans to enroll early.

“Kentucky is a program that’s on the rise,” Square said. They’re trying to get guys to come in and play early and just change the program around and I’m excited to be part of that.”

Square pointed out that Oak Park lineman Marquan McCall – ranked No. 5 on the Blue Chip list – will join him at Kentucky, as will Walled Lake Central running back Tyler Markray.

Square put on 25 pounds from a year ago, playing at 6-2, 205 this season, hoping to get to 220 by the start of next season.

Toledo’s Johnson & Johnson

DesJuan Johnson and Dyontae Johnson will be playing at MAC champion Toledo and hope to be among the Rockets’ front seven on defense in the not so distant future.

DesJuan Johnson showed his toughness by playing with a torn labrum – and still getting to the quarterback on a consistent basis.

More: Complete 2018 Detroit News Blue Chip list 1-60

“I like Western as well as I like Toledo, but I just feel more comfortable going to Toledo,” said JesJuan Johnson, who de-committed from WMU before deciding on Toledo.

March is looking forward to the Quick Lane Bowl to get a close look at his future team, Northern Illinois, which plays Duke on Dec. 26 at Ford Field. He talked with former Cass Tech quarterback Rodney Hall, who is now playing with the Huskies.

“I stayed with Rodney during my official visit,” he said. “Can’t wait to go to the bowl game.”

MAC signings

West Bloomfield quarterback Bryce Veasley and Bloomfield Hills quarterback John Paddock signed with MAC teams, Veasley inking with Bowling Green and Paddock with Ball State.

Veasley earned a spot on The Detroit News Dream Team, throwing for 3,487 yards and 26 TDs to lead West Bloomfield to its first district and regional championships in school history. West Bloomfield advanced to the Division 1 state title game, losing to Clarkston, 3-2.

Paddock will join his Bloomfield Hills teammate, defensive lineman Jack Sape, at Ball State.

Wisconsin connection

Big Ten Coach of the Year Paul Chryst and his staff have done an excellent job recruiting in Michigan.

Last year the Badgers landed U-D Jesuit safety Scotty Nelson and on Wednesday it was West Bloomfield receivers Taj Mustapha and A.J. Abbott, along with Milan tackle Mike Furtney, River Rouge cornerback Reggie Pearson and Jaylan Franklin of Gibraltar Carlson.

In addition, one of the premier players in the 2019 class, East Kentwood four-star junior tackle Logan Brown, committed to Wisconsin in November.

“I had 18 to 20 offers – Alabama and Michigan were on my offer list – but Wisconsin is where I felt most comfortable,” said Brown. “Wisconsin has a great coaching staff, great academics, location, just so many things.”

Wisconsin could be bringing in Brown’s teammate, four-star defensive lineman Mazi Smith, next year as well. Smith has offers from Alabama, Michigan, Notre Dame, Michigan State, Wisconsin and others.