Grandville — It was easy to find Logan Brown and Mazi Smith, who were taking turns in the shot put event Tuesday afternoon for defending Division 1 boys track and field state champion East Kentwood.
Brown and Smith will be trying to help East Kentwood earn its seventh track and field state title in 10 years next month on its home field, but the two are more known for their play on the football field.
Brown, a 6-foot-7, 305-pound junior, is ranked as a five-star offensive tackle and No. 2 nationally at his position by 247Sports. He committed to Wisconsin back in November and remains solid on his choice.
Brown is also the defending state champ in the shot put (60 feet, 1.5 inches). He won the event in Tuesday’s meet with a toss of 58-2, showing he is close to top form.
Meanwhile, Smith, a junior, is one of the most prized defensive tackles still on the market, and it’s easy to find out why at 6-3 and 300 pounds.
Smith won’t challenge Brown for the title in the shot put, but he certainly matches his ability on the football field.
Smith owns 23 offers, including such powers as national champion Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, Penn State, Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Michigan and Michigan State.
Smith took an official visit to Penn State a couple of weeks ago and plans to take a couple of more official visits this summer, saying he would like to make his decision just before the season starts.
“I have a top five or six now, probably Alabama, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State — those for sure and like the other spots are open for interpretation,” Smith said. “I’ve taken one official visit to Penn State, took a tour, ate a lot, talked with the players and started a relationship with the coaches, talked with Coach (James) Franklin.
“My mother had a chance to go to Coach Franklin’s house with some other (recruits’) family members. The regular person in me liked ice cream on that visit, and that ice cream was crazy. They had vanilla ice cream with grilled sticky buns in them, you know, cinnamon buns, mix it right in with the ice cream. It tastes real good.”
Smith also liked other things about Penn State.
“I liked their weight room and their strength coach. Also how they said they hired a guy who studies all the stuff they do in the weight room and how it goes together with the nutrition," he said. "I liked that aspect of it, along with what they do to monitor their players to try and prevent injuries.”
And, Smith has reason to want to prevent injuries after suffering a torn labrum his sophomore season, forcing him to miss multiple games and undergo surgery.
“I was healthy last year, played at 308 pounds," he said. "I’m healthy now, got down to 295. I can bench 385, up from 315 a year ago. I feel great.”
Smith has taken multiple unofficial visits to Michigan and plans to take an official before making his decision.
“I like Michigan’s tradition, the way they want their players to carry themselves,” Smith said. “Of course, I like their new weight room, like their D-line coach (Greg) Mattison, too.
“I like Alabama because no matter who is coaching that defensive line they have a defensive line that dominates. I just like their program and how they do things down there. A lot of people like programs because they’re winning, but I like Alabama more so because of their D-line. I’ve been liking them since the eighth grade. I want to play on a dominating D-line.
“Really, I’d like to make my decision right now to be honest, but I have some other stops to make before I come to my conclusion. I’m taking one or two more visits this summer...but I’d really like to make the decision before the season.”
Brown put in a lot of hard work last spring to be state champ in shot put, starting the season with a toss of 49 feet, then gradually building up to his personal best throw in the state meet.
Brown looks to be in great shape now, but just wants to be in shape this summer to be ready for his senior year.
“I just want to be in shape overall became I’m going to completely transform when I’m there,” Brown said of his future at Wisconsin. “It was a blessed opportunity to go to Wisconsin and I’m going to try and take advantage of it.
“A lot of my decision had to do with (offensive coordinator/offensive line) Coach (Joe) Rudolph and I don’t see that coaching staff going anywhere anytime soon. It’s nice going there and it’s not always about football. Then Madison overall, I remember going there my freshman year and really loved the school and starting building relationships.
“I committed back in November, I think they were playing Michigan (24-10 win on Nov. 18) that day at Camp Randall. I was with all the coaches and players and told them of my decision in the locker room.”