Tyrone Sampson and Kolin Demens — among the top 10 players in the state of Michigan — remained unsigned Wednesday, deciding to take at least a few more days before making their future plans.
Sampson, a four-star center at Detroit East English, continued to get more offers, which is a reason he decided to not sign.
And Pittsburgh’s offer for Demens, from Detroit Country Day, was no longer on the table, a reason he stepped back and decided to take more time before making his critical decision.
Sampson, a member of The Detroit News Dream Team, played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl last month is San Antonio. He is ranked No. 4 on The News Blue Chip list and had narrowed his choice to Nebraska, Mississippi State and Arizona State, until other coaches came calling.
“It’s a case where he had a couple of schools come in real late so he won’t be able to visit until after the dead period, maybe next week,” East English Coach Rod Oden said.
Oden said West Virginia, Missouri and Illinois all joined the picture. Sampson had originally committed to Syracuse and planned to enroll early before de-committing in December.
“He wanted to wait and see how things play out,” Country Day coach Dan MacLean said. “I don’t think the Pittsburgh opportunity is still out there so he’s kind of taking his time to re-access. There are still a lot of people out there still interested, several MAC schools, he was just waiting on Pitt.”
Demens had originally committed to UCLA before head coach Jim Mora was fired, then de-committed and re-opened his recruitment.
Some of the state’s top players did ink their names on the National Letter of Intent forms, including Salem three-star offensive lineman Alex Howie, The News’ No. 28 player, and three-star receiver Jerodd Vines from Detroit Central, ranked No. 38.
Howie eventually chose Eastern Michigan after taking an official visit to Washington State last month. He also was considering Air Force.
Howie played center, left guard and left tackle his senior year at Salem to help it reach the state playoffs for the first time in 26 years.
Howie dropped 40 pounds during the summer while working out to prepare for his final year, playing at 6-foot-4 and 290 pounds.
“It was just the best fit for me,” Howie said of signing with Eastern, who took his official visit Jan. 19. “I had the chance to meet with a lot of people, a lot of professors, academic advisers and obviously the coaching staff.
“I love what Coach (Chris) Creighton has done with the program. I’ve grown up around the program a lot, and it’s turned around completely. And it’s more than just a coaching staff, they are people that are going to impact your life forever.”
Where did Howie improve the most from his junior to senior year?
“I definitely improved on my athleticism,” he said.
“During the summer we worked with Barwis Methods in Plymouth and I was able to lose 40 pounds and was just lighter on my feet, a lot quicker and a lot more explosive.”
Vines will join Howie at Eastern Michigan. He had 55 receptions for 943 yards and 14 touchdowns for Central while forcing 15 fumbles and intercepting 10 passes, returning seven of the turnovers for TDs.
Saline center Zach Drevno signed as a preferred walk-on at Vanderbilt.
“I was in contact with them in the summer, snapped for them at their camp and then they offered me at the end of the season,” said Drevno, son of Michigan offensive coordinator Tim Drevno. “Nashville’s a great city. I like the university. No. 1, the academics are unbelievable there, I’ll get a chance to play in the SEC which is one of the best conferences in college football, and I respect (Head) Coach (Derek) Mason and what he’s doing there and want to be a part of it. I’ll compete to be the starting long snapper and if they think I’m worthy of it they’ll reward me with a scholarship.”
Ferris State, the reigning Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference champion, continued to get quality players, including Grosse Pointe North running back Sheldon Cage (1,763 yards, 20 touchdowns), Dream Team defensive back Willie Shanks, who had 10 interceptions for Division 3 state champion Muskegon, and Holland West Ottawa receiver Xavier Wade, who was first-team all-state by The News.
Bloomfield Hills receiver Ty Slazinski, who earned a spot on The News Dream Team, signed with Grand Valley State.
Detroit King running back Jalen Jackson (1,338 yards, 18 TDs) signed with Morgan State.