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Transfer portal makes recruiting process rough for some area high school football players


Belleville coach Jermain Crowell is concerned about the state of high school football recruiting.

With hundreds of college players entering the transfer portal, along with the NCAA granting others an extra year of eligibility due to the pandemic, there’s less room for high school players to receive offers.

Crowell doesn’t see things changing any time soon.

The early National Signing Day took place in mid-December. Crowell had a pair of players who made The Detroit News Dream Team in receiver/cornerbacks Jeremiah Caldwell and Deshaun Lee go unsigned. Their situation is unchanged ahead of the final signing day, Feb. 2.

The 6-foot-3 Caldwell, who had TD catches of 56, 64 and 72 yards in Belleville’s state title game win over Rochester Adams, would seem a good fit at Western Michigan.Skyy Moore (95 receptions, 1,292 yards, 10 TDs) left early for the NFL Draft and 6-4 Jaylen Hall (46 receptions, 752 yards) decided to put his name in the transfer portal.

Crowell was asked if any players from his state championship team were planning official visits.

“I wish. I wish. I hope and pray that we’ll know something next week and that there will be a lot of traffic," he said. "Folks call, but the portal has done a number. I’ve never seen it like this.”

More: Meet the 2022 Detroit News Blue Chip football prospects ranked 1-60

Crowell attended the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Convention in San Antonio last weekend, talking to multiple college coaches.

“College coaches are talking about how they’re not going to recruit high school players," Crowell said. "Utah said they are not recruiting high school players. They’re going strictly through the portal. ... Why would you go after a rookie kid with no experience versus people that have actually done it at that level?

“Colleges are calling me about guys in the transfer portal that I have called over and over again about my high school guys. They don’t want to have a conversation about a high school guy. They called about the portal guys that had played at Belleville.”

Former Belleville defensive back Devonni Reed announced on Twitter that he was leaving Central Michigan after his junior year. He will transfer to South Carolina.

Former Belleville News Dream Teamer, defensive back Andre Seldon, also entered the portal from Michigan. He will play at New Mexico State.

Power Five farm

Harper Woods coach Rod Oden said 6-4 receiver Tay’shawn Trent will be making official visits during upcoming weekends. He has offers from Virginia Tech, West Virginia and multiple MAC schools, including Eastern Michigan and Akron.

Oden had one player, Christon Stokes sign in December with West Virginia. Oden said there's no time to waste.

“This 2022 and 2023 class, if you get offers you need to lock in" Oden said. "You can’t wait for it to get greater later because college coaches are showing that they don’t have to recruit high school players anymore. There’s bigger, faster strong kids in the portal.

“It’s all about how authentic the offer is and if the school checks all the boxes, then let’s go. The FCS and Division II schools are now like junior colleges and players who had good years in the MAC are transferring up, which was unheard of. Akron had a receiver (Konata Mumpfield) who had a great freshman year and then just transferred to Pittsburgh.”

More: Meet the 2022 Detroit News Blue Chip football prospects ranked 1-60

Mumpfield had 63 receptions for 751 yards and eight TDs for the Zips, then picked Pitt over LSU, Kentucky, Minnesota, Houston, USC and Utah.

His move opens the door for Detroit King receiver Lynn Wyche-El, who sits No. 16 on The News list of Blue Chips, to possibly play at Akron.

“I’ve been in contact with Akron, Coach (David) Gilbertson, the receivers coach said he’s going to try and come down here and once he comes down here, he said he’ll want me to take a visit,” Wyche-El said. “Other than that, I haven’t been in contact with anyone. The offers went away."

Williams, Rice recruiting rises

West Bloomfield defensive end/linebacker Mike Williams, No. 12 on The News Blue Chip list, and North Farmington receiver/defensive back Aaron Rice are attractig attention.

Williams has been in talks with Miami and Florida State. He was set for an official visit at Massachusetts on Friday. He also has an official visit set to South Florida next weekend.

“I’m going to see (head coach) Don Brown at UMass, that’s my guy. He was the guy that recruited me my freshman year so I’m really going to give him a chance.”

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Miami's tradition interests Williams.

“They are known for their defense and to get a call is pretty special,” said the 6-3, 230-pound Williams, who capped his career with 24 sacks.

Rice received offers from Central Michigan, Marshall and several other schools at the end of the season. He had been in talks with Oklahoma last week.

“I decommitted in early October (from Navy) and then opened things back up,” Rice said. “It was pretty tough on me not knowing what I’d be able to get. Everybody was talking about how the class of 2022 had no more room, no more time to get offers, so it was exciting to get the call from Oklahoma.

“Oklahoma has a whole new coaching staff, so they are seeing how many numbers they have left, roster spots. But the head coach (Brent Venables) and safeties coach Brandon Hall have said they wanted me to be there."

Parachek, Morgan commit as juniors

Dexter tight end Brennan Parachek and West Bloomfield receiver Semaj Morgan are following Oden’s advice, acommitting as juniors. Parachek is committed to Michigan State, Morgan to Michigan.

Parachek, 6-6 and 220 pounds, said he will be playing football and baseball at MSU. He also pitches and throws in the mid-90s.

Parachek is a three-sport star, also playing basketball.

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“I’ve been working on my strength during the football season and I feel like I’m a lot stronger, a lot faster and more agile and I’m just going to keep on working to get better,” Parachek said. “I’m 6-6, 220, played last year at 6-4, 240.”

Why did he commit early to MSU?

“I love Michigan State, felt right at home right when I got there on campus my first visit and I never looked back,” Parachek said. “It’s the best decision of my life. I’m very honored to be able to make that decision to play at a school like Michigan State, to play in the Big Ten and hopefully win a championship.”

Parachek’s recruiting journey has been much easier than that of his older brother, Colin. Colin threw for 2,816 yards and 39 TDs his junior year in 2019, then set school records for yards passing (507) and TD passes (7) in a game against Jackson. He set another record for completions (36) against Livonia Churchill during his senior year. He decided to go to prep school at Myrtle Beach Collegiate Academy when Division 1 offers did not come.

He is now at Morehead State.

“He didn’t get the opportunities that I thought he should have had, so he went and proved himself at Myrtle Beach and he’s going to prove himself again at Morehead State,” Brennan Paracheck said of his brother.

Morgan had 61 receptions for 1,017 yards and obviously liked what he saw in Ann Arbor. He didn’t want to go through the same process that his teammate, Williams, is currently going through.

david.goricki@detroitnews.com