---- — EAST LANSING (AP) — Malik McDowell of Detroit Loyola could be the state's top recruit next season. At 6-foot-7 and 290 pounds, McDowell is a two-way lineman who has been named The Associated Press Player of the Year in Division 7-8.
McDowell, a junior, and his teammate, senior running back Keymonne Gabriel, are two of the 28 players selected to this season's AP Division 7-8 All State team announced today.
During the regular season McDowell had 25 unassisted tackles, 15 assists and 6 1/2 tackles for loss.
Loyola (13-0) will play in its first state championship game on Saturday and will face Ishpeming for the Division 7 title at Ford Field.
Despite scholarship offers from schools like Michigan, Michigan State, Oregon, Stanford and others, McDowell remains grounded.
"Malik is concentrating on school and being a kid," Loyola coach John Callahan said. "I give credit to his mother and father. To them, it's not about football, it's about the books. Malik will understand that if he doesn't know it now."
Apparently he does understand. McDowell sports a 3.3 grade-point average.
Gabriel rushed for over 1,500 yards during the regular season and rushed for 325 yards in one playoff game.
Joining Gabriel in the backfield are Wyatt Derrer of Mancelona, Nick Hire of Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart and Tyler Koenigsknecht of Fowler. Derrer averaged nine yards per rush. Hire also showed his impact defensively with 76 tackles and Koenigsknecht rushed for more than 1,300 yards.
Other linemen selected included three-year starter Cari Campbell of Muskegon Catholic Central, Jake Doetsch of Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes, Beal City's Nate Schafer, Josh Schipper of Saginaw Nouvel, Brann Schmitt of Carson City Crystal and Logan Slaughter of Mendon.
At quarterback, Nate Gaggin of Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett and Mitch Myler of Sacred Heart were named to the team. A four-year starter, Gaggin threw for 2,087 yards and 22 touchdowns this season. Myler threw for 25 touchdowns and had just four interceptions in 193 attempts.
At receiver, first-teams include Amari Coleman of New Lothrop, Steve Schankin of Petersburg-Summerfield and Jake Grice of Dansville. Coleman averaged 25 yards per reception and also scored 13 rushing touchdowns. Schankin had 54 receptions and of the 44 Grice had, nine went for touchdowns.
Joe Ostman of St. Ignace LaSalle committed to Central Michigan and he tops this list of five who were selected at linebacker. Christian Benevidez of Vestaburg averaged 15 tackles a game, Nate Gerhold of Decatur had 21 tackles for loss, Brad Harran of Adrian Lenawee Christian had 152 tackles and Josh Reau led Britton Deerfield to a Division 7 region final and amassed 127 tackles.
At defensive back Nathan Holt of Lake City had eight interceptions, Eric Cooper of Flint Beecher doubled as a receiver, Cody Peyok of Reese also started at quarterback and Kirk Gibson of Climax-Scotts had 119 tackles.
Nick Eberstein of Mendon and Nolan Nye of Frankfort were named as specialists.
Tommy Sanchez of Detroit Westside Christian is the all-state punter and Spencer Howell of Our Lady of the Lakes is the place kicker.
Joe Reddinger of Iron Mountain North Dickinson and Bob Saylor of Reese were selected as co-coaches of the year.