Some local football stars hope to boost offer list by skipping early signing period
The majority of the top high school football players in Michigan know who they will be signing with on Early Signing Day Wednesday, but there are still dozens of quality players who are still sorting things out and could wait until February to ink their letters of intent.
River Rouge running back De’Andre Bulley, who made The Detroit News Dream Team, is one of those players who will wait and see if a Power Five team or two come calling after the early signing period concludes.
Bulley, who de-committed from Akron, had Northern Illinois and San Diego State show interest near the end of the season when River Rouge won the Division 3 state championship with a dominating 30-7 upset win over top-ranked Muskegon at Ford Field.
Bulley, ranked No. 15 on The Detroit News Blue Chip list, is a big, physical running back at 6-foot and 240 pounds, rushing for 1,976 yards and 22 TDs his senior season, including a 33-yard TD run to put the exclamation point on the state title game win.
River Rouge 6-3, 210-pound safety Chastin Cross is in a similar situation with Bulley. Cross is a Western Illinois commit who has gotten interest from other schools since the postseason, including Michigan State, which sent defensive back coach Terrance Samuel and defensive coordinator Mike Tressel to the school to watch Cross work out last Thursday.
So, why is MSU now high on Cross?
“He’s 6-3, 210 pounds, runs an 11 flat in the 100 and he’s tough,” said River Rouge coach Corey Parker of Cross. “He checked (Louisville-bound receiver) Christian Fitzpatrick, and Fitzpatrick had 12 targets and he only caught one ball when we played Southfield (A&T). He sacked Cameron Martinez twice in the fourth quarter (state championship game), and plays cornerback, safety, outside linebacker, just does everything for us.”
River Rouge will still have a big Early Signing Day ceremony at the school Wednesday with linebacker DeShawn Walker expected to sign with Toledo, defensive back David Carter with Eastern Michigan and receiver/kick returner Xavier Smith also with EMU.
River Rouge three-star safety Joshua Wiley is another player who could wait until February. He has offers from West Virginia, Western Michigan and Toledo.
MSU coaches were also busy last week taking a trip to Davison to take a look at Dream Team receiver Latrell Fordham, who caught a 74-yard TD pass and broke up a pass in the end zone from his secondary position in a 35-25 win over Brighton in the Division 1 state championship game.
Fordham, who had 49 receptions for 954 yards and 12 TDs and is ranked No. 14 on The News Blue Chip list, could sign Wednesday with Ball State or wait until February. Central Michigan has also offered him.
While Muskegon Dream Team quarterback Cameron Martinez is set to sign with Big Ten champion Ohio State, his teammate and Dream Team lineman Billie Roberts will wait until February to decide. Roberts has offers from multiple Big Ten schools, including MSU and Minnesota, along with several MAC schools.
Muskegon three-star defensive end Jordan Porter, a Bowling Green commit, could also be waiting until February to make his decision since Northwestern came on board late to show interest.
Belleville Dream Team cornerback Andre Seldon will be signing Wednesday with Michigan and his teammate, cornerback Brenden Deasfernandes, will be signing with Iowa, but several others will be waiting until February.
That list of Belleville players include 6-6, 340-pound tackle Coleon Smith, who has an offer from Indiana; 6-4, 230-pound three-star defensive end Jalen Williams, who has several MAC offers; and three-star running back Michael Jenkins, who has an offer from CMU.
Detroit Renaissance quarterback Raequan Beal is expected to sign Wednesday with multiple MAC offers extended to him, including Buffalo.
Expect West Bloomfield quarterback C.J. Harris to sign with Ohio University Wednesday, and he more than likely will enroll early.
And, for good reason, since MAC first-team quarterback Nathan Rourke is set to graduate, Ohio’s second-string quarterback has made his plan to transfer and the No. 3 QB recently had shoulder surgery.
“It’s almost like C.J. had no choice since the starter is graduating, the backup just put his name in the transfer portal and the third-string guy just had labrum surgery and they had just three scholarship quarterbacks,” said West Bloomfield Coach Ron Bellamy of Ohio’s situation. “He has to enroll early. He’ll be getting 60 to 65 percent of the snaps in spring ball. He’ll have a chance to be the starting quarterback as a true freshman.”
Harris’ coach will be Frank Solich, 75, who became the winningest coach in MAC history with a 66-24 win over Bowling Green in November. Solich has 111 wins, one more than former CMU legendary coach Herb Deromedi.