Who said there would be no drama on the February National Signing Day?
Detroit News Dream Team quarterback Tommy Schuster, who led Chippewa Valley to the Division 1 state championship, flipped on Ashland Wednesday, signing with FCS school North Dakota, which will compete in the Missouri Valley Conference in 2020.
North Dakota was looking for a quarterback after Cedric Case, who had committed to North Dakota last July, decommitted and signed with FBS Texas State in the early signing period.
It was important for North Dakota to sign a quarterback of Schuster’s ability with its top two quarterbacks, Nate Ketteringham and Andrew Zimmerman, entering their senior season.
Schuster – No. 40 on The Detroit News Blue Chip list – received his first offer last month with FCS Dayton and Valparaiso showing interest. Then GLIAC power Ashland came calling, giving him an offer in late January when he took an official visit.
Schuster committed to Ashland, but North Dakota made a late pitch earlier this week and Schuster accepted its offer.
Chippewa Valley head coach Scott Merchant knows Schuster had the talent to play in an FBS conference such as the Mid-American Conference, but is happy for his three-year starting quarterback.
“North Dakota reached out to Tommy and his family in the last couple of days,” Merchant said. “He’s never been out there since it was the last minute, but that’s what happens, especially at the quarterback position when one guy decommits and goes somewhere else and it creates a chain reaction.
“I had sent them a bunch of stuff early in the year, but they weren’t looking for a quarterback because they had the kid (Case) commit. I think they started going back through their email and film they had and luckily popped on Tommy. It’s pretty crazy if you think about it.”
Schuster holds Chippewa Valley school records for passing yards (4,956) and TD passes (67), including 1,858 yards and 26 TDs with just one interception his senior year. He was 14-for-14 for 209 yards and two TDs in a 31-30 title game win over Clarkston at Ford Field.
Woods headed to Buffalo
Here’s another interesting twist in the recruitment of Belleville defensive end Tyrece Woods.
Woods was named MVP of the defensive linemen at Michigan’s camp this summer, then accepted an offer weeks later before decommitting in late November.
Woods – No. 28 on The News Blue Chip list – took an official visit to Western Michigan in December, but decided to wait for the late signing period before he made his decision. He took an official visit to Buffalo this past weekend and decided it was the place he wanted to play football and earn an engineering degree.
“I went on an official to Buffalo this past weekend and it was like they provided with me with more information than Western Michigan,” said Woods who is 6-2, 255 pounds. “I want to major in engineering and on my official visit I spent part of the day at the engineering building with one of the professors, who was basically walking me through how things work there, why they do things and how those classes look.
“Football-wise, what kind of set Western and Buffalo apart from each other were the facilities there at Buffalo. They have a new indoor facility, which is a full 120 yards like most Power Five schools.
“They said I’ll have an opportunity to be a major contributor, if not start, this year. I’ll be moving around from defensive end to defensive tackle and Coach (Lance) Leipold said I could be playing some offense too – tight end and some fullback.”
Woods played his junior season at Detroit King and his senior season at Belleville. He transferred back to King in order to graduate and be a mid-year enrollee at Buffalo.
“I went to King the first week in January,” Woods said. “I’ll graduate from King. I have enough credits, have a 3.8 overall grade-point average.”
UM takes a look at Wisniewski
Saline defensive end Brad Wisniewski took an official visit to Michigan this past weekend and returned with a preferred walk-on offer.
The 6-4, 235-pound Wisniewski has the talent to play in the FBS and possibly could have one day dominated at the Mid-American Conference level. He finished with 18.5 TFL, including a pair of sacks while going up against Wisconsin-bound tackle Logan Brown in Saline’s 42-7 district championship win over East Kentwood.
“Wiz hasn’t made up his mind yet, said it will either be Michigan, or he’s just going to Western Michigan and be a regular student,” said Saline coach Joe Palka.
Wisniewski has multiple offers from GLIAC teams, including Michigan Tech and Northwood.
“He said he just wanted to go to a big school and play as big as he could,” Palka said. “He’s just a low-profile kid and even the MAC schools start recruiting so far ahead that there’s not much left. When guys (from MAC schools) came in this winter they were looking for ’20s (juniors) and ’21s (sophomores), and I think these kids who are late developers and had great senior years get left out.
“I’m kind of surprised he’s been overlooked because he has height and all of those things. He would be a MAC defensive end and a few of them talked to him about walking on, but he feels like, ‘If I’m going to walk on I’m going to walk on at Michigan, the biggest and the best.
“My conversation with Coach Harbaugh was that he’s a guy that as he develops could see some action and Coach Harbaugh’s comment was we could even see him working himself into a fullback position, so there’s opportunity there. It’s just a matter if he wants to take advantage of it or not.”
Saline kicker James Turner, who was 12-for-12 on field goals, recently received an offer from Navy and is taking a trip to Texas Tech this weekend.
Ferris State comes up big
Ferris State head coach Tony Annese has guided the Bulldogs to five straight seasons of 11 or more victories, including this past season’s run to the Division II national championship game.
If Ferris’ 2019 recruiting class is any indication, it’s unlikely that the Bulldogs’ impressive run will end anytime soon.
Ferris State signed a pair of players ranked in The News Blue Chip Top 60 list, including Muskegon Mona Shores receiver James Gilbert (No. 52) and Detroit Denby running back T’Shawn Wilkes (No. 58).
Gilbert earned a spot on The News Dream Team after coming up with 61 receptions for 1,466 yards and 15 TDs to help his team reach the Division 2 state title game, a 29-16 loss to Warren De La Salle. He also played safety, getting an interception while making four tackles in the championship game.
“I decided on Ferris State, liked the coaching staff, Coach Annese and I have a very special relationship, so I feel comfortable there,” said the 6-2, 180-pound Gilbert, who has 4.5 speed. “The coaching staff was very welcoming when I took my visit a couple of weeks ago. They showed me around campus. I had a chance to sit down and talk with the players and felt like I was a part of the team.
“He (Annese) told me they like to throw the ball and at my position you’ll get a good amount of footballs thrown at you.”
Wilkes, a 6-2, 210-pound running back, rushed for 2,165 yards and 33 TDs for Denby after playing receiver his sophomore and junior years.
Detroit Cass Tech receiver Jevan Swanigan also signed with Ferris State. It was Swanigan who caught a 45-yard TD pass from Jalen Graham with 5:48 left in the opening quarter to help set the tempo in Cass Tech’s 35-7 PSL championship game win over Detroit King.
Sincere Dent, a running back/linebacker and teammate of Gilbert’s at Mona Shores, also signed with Ferris State.