CRETE, Ill. – Crete-Monee High has made the playoffs the last four years, including two consecutive trips to the state quarterfinals.
Standifer had nine interceptions as a junior, and landed roughly 20 scholarship offers before choosing Michigan.
From those teams, Coach Jerry Verde and his staff have sent a few players on to MAC schools, but now some of the nation’s top programs are coming around to recruit a couple of his prospects.
Senior cornerback Anthony Standifer committed to Michigan during a June 1 visit to the Ann Arbor campus, choosing the Wolverines over roughly 20 scholarship offers from the likes of Arizona, Cincinnati, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Northwestern, Syracuse and Boise State.
“Not to say we haven’t had great players before, but our story with Anthony, he’s an excellent athlete,” Verde said. “He has the size, but what we ended up learning was when you look at him, his reach is pro-combine kind of stuff with his arm length. He has the speed and vertical jump ability. We thought for sure he was a mid-major. That was a slam dunk. We didn’t know it was going to catapult what it ended up turning into because we didn’t understand the absolute shortage of 6-1 and change corners.”
All of Standifer’s BCS offers came over the last couple months.
“We’re talking a kid that you’re not just taking, who was a receiver the whole time and shows up in college and now you’re a corner. Anthony is going to show up in college already a corner, and he’s playing free safety for us this year. The instincts, the stuff that takes years to learn that you can only learn through experience, he’s going to have when he gets there. We didn’t know there was a market for that kind of kid.”
Verde is now helping the 6-foot-1, 180-pound Standifer stay off the market.
“We won’t talk to another school about him,” Verde stated. “We have a strict policy here.”
Verde and his staff are talking to a lot of schools about class of 2013 receiver Laquan Treadwell. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound specimen is already receiving a lot of Big Ten looks, and contributed for the Warriors last fall on both sides of the ball.
According to Verde, Treadwell has an opportunity to be more sought after than Standifer.
“He’s an excellent wide receiver,” Verde began. “Great hands and what he does after he catches the ball, he can outrun you or he can run you over. In these playoff games, there were times where he caught the ball and ran over everybody on the other side to score a touchdown. Then we put him about week seven at defensive end because were struggling at that position and needed another big body in there, and he ended up getting five quarterback sacks and three forced fumbles where he just takes the ball out of the other guy’s hands. That’s something you can’t teach. He just has that size and tenacity.”
“I don’t think Austin is done growing,” Verde said. “He has good feet. He works his butt off and he loves the game. He loves the game and we really feel strongly about him and his potential.
“Trevelle is a hard worker. He has above average strength at this point. He has good feet. Another kid that loves the game. He has the potential to do some really nice things for us.”
Other prospects that have jumped on the Division-I radar are seniors, running back Kenneth Kidd (6-0, 180), and blazing fast cornerback Tracy Whitehead (5-9, 160) who are both drawing MAC interest and will camp at Northwestern on June 24.
“Kenneth has all the tools to be a Division-I back,” Verde said. “At this point, where Anthony had that highlight film of him getting nine interceptions and his tackles, Kenneth didn’t have that type of film. We had a three-year starter last year he played behind. Even in the somewhat limited role he had, all the moves and all the speed are there.”
Speaking of speed, Whitehead ran a 4.39 laser-timed 40-yard dash at a recent local combine.
“That’s the big deal there,” Verde stated.
Another rising junior receiver to watch is Lance Lenoir (6-0, 175).
“He’s a possession type receiver,” Verde said. “He’s an excellent athlete and he has football skills. He has a football skillset. I don’t know what the scouts are going to see after this year. We’re hoping they’re going to see what we see.”
One thing is for sure, Verde will continue to see a lot of college recruiters on his campus.