Detroit — The high school football season gets underway in just over a month and multiple team representatives were at the Xenith facility to promote the Prep Kickoff Classic, which will take place Aug. 23-25 at Wayne State University.
No doubt, players have been busy attending camps and 7-on-7 competition this summer.
In fact, there are players who have been competing in multiple sports, including Madison Heights Madison senior quarterback Austin Brown and Oak Park junior receiver Maliq Carr.
Brown, who started his prep career at Detroit Catholic Central, helped Madison reach the Division 7 state semifinals last season while setting a state record by throwing eight first-half touchdowns in the season-opener, a 54-7 win over Warren Lincoln.
Brown finished with 3,100 yards passing and 40 touchdowns to lead Madison to a 12-1 record.
Sure, Brown has participated in 7-on-7 competitions to sharpen his accuracy and timing with his receivers, but he has also had time to compete on two travel baseball teams this summer, including one from West Virginia.
And Brown’s play on the diamond has caught the eye of college baseball coaches with Marshall and Michigan showing interest. He was an All-State selection this past winter in basketball and has offers from Mid-American Conference champion Toledo, MAC runner-up Akron, Miami, Dartmouth and Cornell in football.
“I love it, wouldn’t know what to do without it,” Brown said of being busy with multiple sports, adding he hadn’t played baseball for two years before playing travel ball this summer.
Brown broke his leg playing football his sophomore year, which prevented him from playing in the Division 1 state championship game for Catholic Central against Detroit Cass Tech. But now, Brown (6-foot, 190 pounds) said he is in the best shape of his life.
“My speed has really picked up and I’m excited to show it,” he said. “I didn’t run much last year because I came off breaking my leg my sophomore year, so I was kind of just getting my feet wet again. But this year I’ll be showing my athleticism.”
While Brown wouldn’t make any predictions, he is excited for his senior year.
“We have a lot back and it all starts with your line and we have everybody back,” he said. “We’re going to be big up front and we have a lot of skilled players, too.”
Carr showed a glimpse of his potential during his sophomore year at receiver, helping Oak Park reach the Division 2 regional final.
Now, the 6-6, 210-pound Carr will be a big target for Ohio State-bound quarterback Dwan Mathis.
But before that happens, Carr has been traveling the country this summer while playing AAU basketball for The Family, competing in one tournament earlier this month in Pennsylvania and traveling to Florida Tuesday to compete in another one.
Car already has 10 offers for football, including Iowa, Iowa State, Missouri, Boston College, Kentucky and Western Michigan, as well as offers from Western Michigan, Kent State, Cleveland State and Long Island for basketball.
“It’s a lot of wear and tear on your body playing two sports like this, but I take care of my body,” Carr said. “My favorite sports are both football and basketball. Hopefully, I get the opportunity to play both in college.”
So, what kind of goals have Carr set for this fall in football?
“I just want to catch as many passes as I can, gain as many yards to help my team win so, hopefully, we can reach the state championship game,” he said.
Mathis is happy to have Carr at his disposal.
“It just makes your completion percentage go up, gives you a wider range of spots to put the ball in because you can put it somewhere that the DB can’t get to,” Mathis said.
Mathis, who plans to take a visit to Ohio State this weekend, will need all the weapons he can get this season. Oak Park opens against Utica Eisenhower on Aug. 23, then gets Birmingham Groves in Week 2 and Division 3 state runner-up Farmington Hills Harrison in Week 3 before closing the regular season against Division 1 state runner-up West Bloomfield in Week 8 and defending Division 1 state champion Clarkston in Week 9.