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PREP NOTEBOOK: Class of 2015 jam-packed with gems on local gridiron, Antwine & Penny looking good

Oak Park junior tailback Johnny Kelly is just one of a bevvy of elite local football prospects in the state's Class of 2015. (Oakland Press photo file)

Oakland County has an exquisite junior class on the high school football field this season, with several players dotting the state’s Top 50 in most college scouts' recruiting-rankings.

Orchard Lake St. Mary's defensive back Tyson Smith is a consensus four-star recruit. Earning a scholarship offer from Michigan State this summer, the savvy and athletic Smith starts at cornerback and wide receiver for the defending Catholic League Central Division champion Eaglets.

Birmingham Brother Rice’s Alex Malzone is one of the state’s best quarterbacks. He’s a natural in the pocket and throws laser beams with pin-point precision. Over the weekend, he visited the University of Michigan. Malzone (1,195 yards, 9 touchdowns) and the Warriors are undefeated at 6-0 as they seek a third state title in a row.

Oak Park’s Johnny Kelly and Auburn Hills Avondale’s Josh Holloman are two of the most-coveted running backs in the state in the Class of 2015.

Kelly holds a scholarship offer from Michigan State and as a sophomore last year helped lead Oak Park, currently 5-1, to its first-ever district crown. Holloman is big, physical and fast (he won a state championship as a sprinter last year), being clocked at a jaw-dropping 4.2 seconds in the 40-yard dash over the summer at the University of Alabama’s camp.

Madison Heights Madison's Juan Johnson is another tailback prospect in the junior class attracting attention.

Southfield (5-1) has five juniors being recruited by Division I college programs. Wide receiver Ray Buford already has five offers. The aggressive and intelligent play of safety Dior Johnson, linebacker Keith Dewberry, cornerback DaVonte Ginwright and running back Adrian Carter are major reasons why the Bluejays are in first place in the rigorous Oakland Activities Association White Division.

Clarkston offensive lineman Adam Matich (tackle) and Oak Park defensive lineman Shahid Bellamy (nose tackle) have droves of college coaches headed out to watch them play. Starting on the line at Clarkston since he was a freshman, Matich was offered by Miami (OH) prior to the season getting underway. Bellamy is a tenacious presence in the trenches, receiving interest from Big 10 and Mid-American Conference schools.

Split ends Grant Perry (Birmingham Brother Rice), Chris Cliff (Walled Lake Northern) and Anthony Gunn (Pontiac Notre Dame Prep) and tight end Cole Chewins (Clarkston) are each getting Division I looks. Cliff visited Northwestern this weekend, following Northern's win versus Waterford Kettering on Friday where he hauled in seven grabs for 125 yards and a 23-yard touchdown reception.

Perry caught a 15-yard touchdown from Malzone on Friday in Brother Rice's 31-14 downing of Orchard Lake. St. Mary's.

The county’s No. 1 and No. 2 passers, Clawson’s Ty Sparks and Waterford Mott’s Dakota Kupp are both juniors that are building on productive sophomore campaigns by continuing to pile up the yardage through the air again this year.

Shining through

Possibly the lone bright spot in the bleak Pontiac football season this year is the play of Ja’mar Antwine, an dynamic talent of a slotback and return specialist on special teams. Antwine is only a junior and transferred to Pontiac (0-6) after playing junior varsity at Orchard Lake St. Mary’s last year. Speedy with a killer instinct in the open field, Antwine is beginning to generate interest from college recruiters. Bowling Green is hosting him for a visit this weekend.

Penny for a thought

North Farmington is 4-2 and appears headed for the playoffs on the gridiron this season and first-year starting quarterback Kyle Penny has gotten steadily better every game, culminating in his best effort of the year under center Friday in the Raiders’ 35-14 belting of Auburn Hill Avondale.

Penny, a gutty junior and second-generation field general at the school, completed 10-of-13 passes for 170 yards against a veteran Avondale pass-rush, including a momentum-seizing touchdown strike in the first quarter to kick-off a 35-0 run by the Raiders to open the game.

Kevin Penny, Kyle’s older brother, quarterbacked North Farmington to a 7-2 record and into the playoffs when he was a senior in 2011.

Tweet of the week

“6-0 feels great, 7-0 will feel even better, back to work this week,” – Walled Lake Western all-league senior quarterback Kyle Bambard following the Warriors’ victory Friday against Waterford Mott.

Last Updated: 10/6/2013 10:46:20 AM EST

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