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McNichols has lots to prove July 30, 2007

Posted by City Hoops in profiles, Wayne State.
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Myles McNichols wasn’t allowed to wear his trademark gold shoes but played both cornerback and safety at Saturday’s MHSFCA All-Star Game and projects as an impact player in the Wayne State secondary for years to come. (Photo by Kyle Stefan)

Versatile DB wants to show D-I schools they missed out

By Kyle Stefan

If anyone in Wayne State’s incoming recruiting class felt slighted by the process, it was Myles McNichols.

A 6-foot-1 cornerback and a three-sport athlete at Battle Creek Central, McNichols felt he had the speed, height and athleticism to make an impact on the Division I level.

Colleges could look at his measurable — he ran a blazing 51.98 second 400-meter dash as a track standout — and big-play instincts — he took a kickoff back 93 yards for a touchdown and picked off seven passes in his BCC career — as proof.

While the whole GLIAC offered, McNichols waited for MAC schools to enter the competition. Central Michigan courted early, while a late push by Bowling Green piqued his interest a week after Signing Day.

But offers never came.

“It was tough for me,” McNichols said. “It hurt a little bit. I think some (D-I) colleges messed up.”

Enter Wayne State, which made a late push to sign McNichols over Grand Valley State almost a week after signing day.

Now, McNichols enters an advantageous situation — the Warriors lost their top five defensive backs to graduation and routinely play their best athletes on special teams — with something to prove.

“Don’t confuse it — I am in no way disappointed going to Wayne State,” he said. “Coach Mattix called in January and thought it would be best for me to come up there early, because most likely I’d be suiting up this year.

“They wouldn’t have brought me in — doing what they’re doing with me — if they didn’t want me to play.”

At the D-II level, WSU head coach Paul Winters has seen plenty of recruits in McNichols’ predicament.

“Sometimes, guys like that come in with a chip on their shoulder, really work hard and excel,” Winters said. “Other times, you have guys that don’t work hard, that have a sense of entitlement, that think they’re better than here.

“I don’t think Myles is like that. He wants to be a star.”

And McNichols, despite the snub, has a similar mentality.

“It’s all right,” he said about his final destination. “I’m about to go play at Wayne State, become an All-American, get some league looks and just prove to everybody that they should have picked Myles McNichols.”

Powerful Easterly looks to excel July 29, 2007

Posted by City Hoops in profiles, Wayne State.
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Detroit native will begin college career as safety

By Kyle Stefan

When the National Letters of Intent were finalized on Signing Day, one burning question remained.

How in the world did Wayne State end up with Zach Easterly?

A 6-foot-3, 210-pound physical specimen, Easterly was ranked No. 37 by Rivals.com, a position that typically signifies a MAC-level or mid-major talent.

Add in his unique combination of speed and power — allowing Easterly to project as either an outside linebacker or strong safety — and it was a wonder that no Division I schools extended offers.

“I was shocked we got him,” admitted WSU head coach Paul Winters. “I don’t know how Zach didn’t get more Division I interest.”

Easterly has an idea.

“Bad film, for one,” he said. “That’s on my part. If I had better film, things might have played out differently.” (more…)

Ajami already excited about becoming a Warrior July 28, 2007

Posted by City Hoops in profiles, Wayne State.
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Stout guard wants a WSU national championship

By Shawn Wright

Mike Ajami has yet to put on a Wayne State uniform but already feels like a Warrior.

The 6-foot-1 guard, who played with three future teammates at the MHSFCA All-Star game, is already getting fired up — and firing up his teammates.

“I told them before the game that this is one of many to come,” Ajami said of his WSU East All-Star teammates. “I’m ready to go get it done [for Wayne State], hopefully win a national championship there and get the program back on track.”

Normally, these would be lofty aspirations for an incoming freshman, but Ajami has the track record to prove that he’s a competitor.ajami.jpg

At Dearborn High School, Ajami won the team leadership award his senior season and was voted the Pioneers’ MVP.

Off the field, Ajami fits the description of a student-athlete, having been voted to the Academic All-State Team and finishing his high school career with a 3.4 grade point average.

Ajami had already seen one of his future teammates before the All-Star game, competing against Mike Moynihan’s Allen Park Jaguars a total of four times in two years — the biggest coming when the two faced off in the first round of last year’s state semifinals.

The former adversaries will now work together for the common good of Wayne State.

“We’ve been going at it for awhile,” Ajami said of Moynihan. “But since then I’ve become friends with him, [fellow WSU East All-Stars] Joe Long and Zach Easterly — I’m ready to go to battle with these guys.”

Ajami insists that he’s nobody special, but according to East All-Star head coach Drake Wilkins, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

“All of these kids are super kids,” Wilkins said referring to the WSU class. “It’s a coach’s dream and I’ve been coaching for awhile. Wayne State has some talented kids that they’re getting and you couldn’t ask for a better group.”

Moynihan is anything but average July 27, 2007

Posted by City Hoops in profiles, Wayne State.
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Despite smallish frame, linebacker ready to step up at Wayne State

By Shawn Wright

On the surface, Mike Moynihan is just an average kid. He likes to go to parties, hang out with friends and play video games.

And despite his seemingly pedestrian frame — all of 5-foot-10 and 200 pounds — when Moynihan steps onto the football field, he is anything but average.

At linebacker, was a Dream Team selection by both The Detroit News and Free Press as a senior, when he racked up 151 tackles. He amassed 130 tackles and two interceptions in his junior year.mikem.jpg

He excelled as a fullback — 470 yards on 72 carries for eight touchdowns — in his senior year, but his heart was always that of a linebacker.

“I’ve been playing linebacker for 14 years now,” Moynihan said. “I’m all right in the other positions but I just feel more comfortable (at linebacker) — more at home.”

The former Allen Park standout played a total of four positions in his high school career: punter, fullback, halfback and linebacker.

Moynihan was a leader for the Jaguars his senior year and understands that a team is all about camaraderie and friendship, something he’s already started on with his fellow recruits — and the season hasn’t even begun.

“I made best friends with the guys,” Moynihan said of his fellow WSU teammates playing with him at Saturday’s MHSFCA All-Star Game on the East team. “I’ve been talking with them all week and I can tell that the game is going to be faster in college — better, faster players and harder hitting.”

Not only will the level of the players on the field be elevated, but so will his new head coach, Paul Winters.

“He seems like a very strong coach,” Moynihan said. “He knows what he’s talking about, knows what his goal is and is always striving for it.”

Winters is looking forward to Moynihan joining the Warrior ranks and helping him succeed.

“He may not be a prototype,” Winters said, “but I guarantee Mike Moynihan is going to surprise people.”

“Big” Joe Long will work for own legacy July 26, 2007

Posted by City Hoops in profiles, Wayne State.
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Massive tackle draws from brother Jake, a top NFL prospect

By Kyle Stefan

Jake Long stands 6-foot-7 and weighs a massive 313 pounds.

His younger brother Joe is a more modest 6-7, 280.

After his junior season at Michigan, Jake was named the Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year. Some scouting services tabbed him as the No. 1 offensive line prospect in this year’s NFL draft before he decided to return to U-M for his senior year.

Joe recently graduated from Lapeer East and has yet to play a down of college football.

By all accounts, Joe has a big legacy to live up to.

Tell him something he doesn’t already know. (more…)

WSU Notebook: Offseason was the Paul Winters show July 25, 2007

Posted by City Hoops in GLIAC, News, Wayne State.
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While Bell, Graham and Co. gear up for new season, Winters and staff have major success

By Kyle Stefan

For fear of becoming complacent, Paul Winters doesn’t like to pause and take stock of his accomplishments.

He’s too focused on what comes next.

Because he is self assuming and won’t take much of the credit, Winters probably won’t overemphasize the importance of this off-season for the Wayne State football program.

But there was more visible progress for WSU off the field – mirroring its on-field ascension – thanks to the vision and plan of its fourth-year head coach. (more…)

Prep notebook: Best of Michigan AWOL at All-Star game July 24, 2007

Posted by City Hoops in MHSFCA All-Star Game, News, Preps.
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By Kyle Stefan 

EAST LANSING – Thanks to Michigan’s uber-talented class of 2007, the best in recent memory, last Saturday’s MHSFCA game had an impressive list of no-shows.

Opting out of the game were: Keith Nichol (Oklahoma), Dionte Allen (Florida State), Joseph Barksdale (LSU), Darris Sawtelle (Tennessee), Justin Siller (Purdue), Chris Colsanti (Penn State), Ron Johnson (USC), Taurian Washington (Ohio State), Cedric Everson (Iowa), Derek Knight (West Virginia), and Quincy Landingham (Wisconsin), among others. 

It’s one man’s theory that the lack of participation contributed, at least in part, to the game’s very sparse crowd that numbered, generously, around 4,000. (more…)

MHSFCA All-Star Game: West edges East, 9-7 July 22, 2007

Posted by City Hoops in MHSFCA All-Star Game, Preps, recaps.
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Battle Creek Central defensive back Myles McNichols (14) tries to block this extra point attempt in the West’s 9-7 win over the East in Saturday’s MHSFCA All-Star Game at Spartan Stadium. (Photo by Kyle Stefan)

McNichols, incoming Warriors make plays in defensive struggle

By Kyle Stefan

EAST LANSING – Unlike typical all-star contests, the hitting was hard and the action was intense at Saturday’s Michigan High School Football Coaches Association All-Star Game.

The game, captured 9-7 by the West in front of a sparse crowd at Spartan Stadium, was a grind-it-out slugfest won in the trenches.

That suited Wayne State’s incoming quintet of players — two offensive linemen, two linebackers and a defensive back — just fine. (more…)

Wayne State’s five July 15, 2007

Posted by City Hoops in MHSFCA All-Star Game, Wayne State.
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From left to right, incoming Wayne State freshmen Joe Long, Mike Moynihan, Myles McNichols, Mike Ajami and Zach Easterly. The Division II Warriors placed five players in Saturday’s MHSFCA All-Star Game at Spartan Stadium.

All-Star Rosters July 15, 2007

Posted by City Hoops in MHSFCA All-Star Game.
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While some of the big-time out-of-staters (Keith Nichol, Dionte Allen, Joseph Barksdale, Darris Sawtelle, Justin Siller, Taurian Washington, Chris Colsantii, Ron Johnson, Cedric Everson among others – Wow!) aren’t playing at this week’s MHSFCA All-Star Game, there is still a strong contingent from around Michigan, showing the depth and strength of this 2007 class.

Here is a link to the official rosters, while some of the notable players are listed below, broken down for your convenience. Get out and see this game – Saturday at 2 p.m. at Spartan Stadium – and help pass the long month-and-a-half before football starts for real.

(more…)

Denby’s Drake Wilkins a pioneer July 14, 2007

Posted by City Hoops in MHSFCA All-Star Game, PSL.
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Caught up with Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press at the MHSFCA All-Star Game Press Day today, and he told me that Drake Wilkins, head coach at Denby and also the head coach of the East squad this week, was the game’s first PSL head coach in its 27-year history.

Well deserving after leading Denby to the third round in last year’s playoffs, Wilkins will have a bevy of PSL talent – eight players, including his own Carlton Downs, to work with.

PSL/CHSL Challenge July 13, 2007

Posted by City Hoops in Uncategorized.
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Forget the controversy surrounding Brother Rice’s proposed trip to the Herbstreit Challenge; we’ve got our own series of challenge games in Week 1 as four matchups between skilled PSL teams and Catholic League powers will take place:

Denby at Brother Rice
Cass Tech at St. Mary’s
U-D Jesuit at Renaissance
Southeastern at Catholic Central

The last time CC lost to a PSL team? Go back 17 years to 1990, when they lost to King in Week 3 (For the record, CC went on to beat King later that season for the Class A state title, is a whopping 14-0 against the PSL since that loss, and no matter how down the Shamrocks appear to be and how much talent at the skill positions Southeastern might have, I’m not picking against a CHSL team in Week 1.)

It’s not like Brother Rice won’t get tested out of state, as they picked up perhaps a better opponent than Cincinnati LaSalle – Pittsburgh (PA) Penn Hills, before Cincinnati (OH) Moeller the next week. Both are road games in Week 2 and 3, respectively.

DFR: Who we are and what we’re doing July 12, 2007

Posted by City Hoops in Detroit Football Report.
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We wanted to take this time and space for an informal introduction.

First off, thanks for visiting our site and reading our work. We’re the guys from Detroit Basketball Report and Dethoops.com. Around November of last year, our team of like-minded individuals figured we could use our passion for Detroit sports and some journalistic prowess to provide unique coverage of Metro-Area basketball.

And so, DBR was born and was an hit throughout Year 1. We took a different angle – covering the preps to college and college to the pros – and vowed to see the games, talk to the coaches and players and expose the deserving figures that were making a difference.

We want to do the same for football. This fall, we figure on seeing a ton of games – prep, collegiate and pro – both in the city and the suburbs, as well as around the state. We needed a medium to report back to you, the fans, to keep you informed and let you know which teams and individuals are performing at the highest level.

As far as content goes on Detroit Football Report, you can expect game recaps, player analysis, features, photos, interviews, blogging, recruiting info … maybe even some video highlights and audio. DFR will be a work in progress but we think you’ll like what you see.

Thanks again, and please give us feedback. Leaving a comment or e-mailing KStefan@dethoops.com would be a good place to start.