247Sports traveled to Michiana over the weekend, and there is plenty of high school football talent to keep an eye on in the area.
Wisconsin QB commit Chance Stewart of Sturgis (Mich.) High is ranked as the nation's No. 119 prospect overall.
Wisconsin Taking No Chance On Stewart
The Badgers are getting a good one in Top247 junior quarterback Chance Stewart, who led his team to a 35-18 victory over Battle Creek Central on Friday night.
When the 6-foot-5, 210-pound Stewart enrolled at Sturgis three years ago, the Trojans were coming off a winless season. His first two seasons as the starter, Stewart was able to lead his team to two playoff berths. Following the win over Battle Creek Central, Sturgis is sitting at 3-2 and in good position to earn a playoff spot this fall.
“He’s definitely becoming more comfortable in our offense,” Sturgis interim head coach Jimmy Lamb said. “His reads of the defense and what they’re giving him, he can pick a play and check and audible.”
Stewart committed to Wisconsin back in early August, and he is ranked by 247Sports as the nation’s No. 8 pro-style quarterback and No. 119 prospect overall.
“His leadership and his command of the huddle and his knowledge of the game really sets him apart,” Lamb said. Stewart also plays basketball and baseball. “We’re kind of opening the offense up a little bit to give him more opportunities to run the ball. I trust him in the system. He’s making the right plays and reads.”
Barron Emerging As BCS Recruit
Mishawaka (Ind.) Marian center prospect Kirk Barron is turning heads with his junior film.
Ohio State, Nebraska and Wisconsin have recently asked for Mishawaka (Ind.) Marian OL Kirk Barron's film.
Ohio State, Nebraska and Wisconsin were among the programs to recently ask for the 6-foot-3, 297-pound junior’s film. He visited Pittsburgh for the Virginia Tech game two Saturdays ago and this past weekend he was at N.C. State for the game against Citadel. Other schools that have Barron on the radar includes Indiana, Iowa, Michigan State, Ole Miss and Tennessee.
“Number one, Kirk is the kind of kid that does all the little things right,” Marian coach Reggie Glon said. “He trains hard. He gets in the weight room. He gets after film. He’s constantly watching film of practice and games. We have the Hudl program and you can keep track of how many hours a kid works during the week, and Kirk is always one of our top guys during film study.”
The results are showing on Friday night.
“He has great feet and he’s made himself into a big strong kid we can rely on and run behind. He knows his assignments and he gets off on the snap count and he finishes blocks. He has good leverage and he gives good effort to the whistle.”
Some Names At St. Joseph’s
One of the top programs in the state in the 3-A class, South Bend (Ind.) St. Joseph’s has had to take the field without its star player this fall in Miami (Ohio) linebacker commit Matt Smallbone, who is out with an injury.
It’s unfortunate for the 6-foot-5, 225-pound Smallbone, who put in a lot of work in the offseason to try and help lead the Indians back to the state championship game for a second-straight year.
“A young man who is gifted physically in terms of how tall and athletic he is,” St. Joseph's coach Ben Downey said. “He’s incredibly athletic. He played basketball every single year except this past year, and this was the first year he was able to truly dedicate himself in the weight room, and he put on 30 pounds in five months. If you put that into perspective what type of potential he has, he’ll be able to do some really good things for them at Miami.”
South Bend (Ind.) St. Joseph's 2015 OL Mirko Jurkovic has great bloodlines with his father being a former Notre Dame All-American.
There’s a few younger prospects to keep an eye on at St. Joseph’s.
The Indians have a pair of sophomores starting on their offensive line in Mirko Jurkovic (6-4, 230) and Ben Taelman (6-4, 230). Jurkovic is the son of former Notre Dame All-American offensive guard Mirko Jurkovic, and his uncle is former NFL defensive tackle John Jurkovic.
“Mirko Jurkovic is just a sophomore and we’re still working on the fundamentals and getting the right mentality for an offensive lineman,” Downey said. "It’s in his genes and in his blood, and as long as he continues to have good offseasons, the sky is the limit for him.
“Ben Taelman is right up there with Mirko in terms of size. They’re almost identical in size. They have the body types that can take them to the next level and from here on out it’s just going to come down to how hard they work in the offseason and how coachable they are.”
Junior quarterback Matt Monserez (6-5, 205) is putting together a fine campaign, throwing for 1,253 yards and four touchdowns through six games.
“I think if you look at his size and arm strength, he has what I think some programs will be looking for,” Downey said. “He certainly has the intelligence and composure.”
Shaq Vann Drawing Suitors
South Bend (Ind.) Adams has played six football games this year, and at the end of each ballgame, the scoreboard has read in its favor.
Indiana is one of the schools showing interest in South Bend (Ind.) Adams ATH Shaq Vann, and he's aiming to visit Bloomington this fall.
The Eagles are in the midst of one of their best seasons in decades, and junior athlete Shaq Vann is a big reason why. The 5-foot-10, 195-pound running back/safety has been an impact player on both sides of the ball. Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State and Western Michigan are among the programs showing early interest.
“Shaq Vann is a kid that is very speedy, very dicey,” Adams coach Craig Redman said. “He’s one that is still learning. He can come out at any time and run the ball, receive the ball and be a true threat. His size and strength, he’s a very strong individual. His feet and his ability to move quick is one of his gifts.”
Vann said he could visit Indiana for the Ohio State game on Oct. 13.
Vann’s senior teammate Steve Thomas, a 5-11, 160-pound cornerback/receiver is getting looks from Ball State and Western Michigan.
“Very high hips, long arms, part of the sectional championship basketball team,” Redman said. “Can jump. He’s got an enormous vertical. Junior all-state at corner. He could potentially be a better receiver than he is a corner.”
A Little Bit Of Everything At Elkhart Central
Elkhart (Ind.) Central has players on both sides of the ball attracting interest across the Division-I board.
Senior receiver JJ Stahl (6-4, 185) is hearing from Illinois and Purdue among others, and he was in Champaign over the weekend for an unofficial visit.
Elkhart (Ind.) Central WR JJ Stahl visited Illinois on Saturday.
“JJ has been doing a great job for us,” Central assistant Rocky Sites said. “We have four other returning letter winners at receiver and the conference leading rusher, so opportunities are few and far between. He’s still doing a good job. He’s one of our best blocker by far. He’s super physical, attacks the ball well and his footwork is tremendous for a guy that is 6-4.”
Stahl’s fellow classmate and receiver Spencer Schnell (5-9, 162) has the attention of coaches at Bowling Green, Eastern Illinois and Northern Illinois.
“He attacks the ball real well,” Sites said. “He’s great after the catch, averaging over nine yards after the catch. Very physical runner for a little guy, no drops this year, reliable, great route runner.”
Kicker Matt Eppers has an offer to play baseball at Ball State. As far as the gridiron goes, Indiana and Purdue are among the programs showing interest.
“He’s hit from 60 in practice a couple times and we trust him up to 52 in a game,” Sites said. “He’s been pretty accurate. Anywhere over 40 he’s about seven or eight out of 10. In terms of kickoffs he’s a touchback nearly every time he kicks it.”
The Central coaching staff is real excited about sophomore offensive guard Issac Barrios (6-2, 255), a two-year varsity starter. FCS and Ivy League schools are showing interest in seniors, safety/outside linebacker Dylan Kruse (6-3/185) and cornerback Austin McArt (5-11/165). Sites added that he thinks junior receiver Blake Faus will be his next receiver courted by Division-I programs.
News & Notes From Around The Area
-South Bend (Ind.) Clay has a trio of Division-I guys in receiver Wesley Thomas, offensive tackle Shakir Carr and Central Michigan defensive tackle commit Alex Coty. Both Thomas and Carr have MAC offers and are receiving Big Ten interest.
-Mishawaka (Ind.) Penn offensive tackle Jackson Day is a verbal to Western Michigan.
-Elkhart (Ind.) Concord running back DuWhan Alford is committed to Eastern Michigan.
-South Bend (Ind.) Washington junior quarterback Daigien Morgan is one of the top athletes in the state. He most likely projects as a receiver or defensive back on the next level. As a sophomore, the 6-foot, 185-pound Morgan ranked third in the state with 3,044 passing yards, and he added 31 touchdown passes in helping the Panthers advance to the 4-A state championship game.
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