Today, I’m here to talk about some of these football kids from Northeast Indiana that don’t receive enough attention and we need to start doing so! Offense, defense, maybe special teams. I’m here to give these kids the respect they’ve deserve so far from the 260 area! With that being said, let’s get things rolling. 

Brayden Holbrook – Freshman Quarterback – Lakeland 

430 yards passing, .604 Completion %, 5 TD passes, 5 INT

I’m so excited about the future of this gunslinger at Lakeland. As referenced by  Stephen A Smith, Brayden Holbrook is a BADDDDDDDD MAN! He’s a DAWG amongst puppies from LaGrange, IN, and I’ve never seen a Lakeland freshman QB look this good already.

He’s so poised in the pocket with a tremendous awareness to what’s going on the field and understands the playbook so fluently. Now he does have 5 picks so far this season, but 3 of them came early in last Fridays Garrett game. And let me tell you, I love what I’ve heard about his persistence to adversity. He’s 2 years ahead of his maturity and football IQ as a quarterback, and that’s scary. Plus, when you look at Kham Malaivanh’s power and strength to score through his physical presence and the quickness of Owen Troyer, that’s a pretty scary offense when it gets hot. 

Kamden Zeisloft – Junior Free Safety – Leo 

I know Joe Waburn of SummitCity Sports has been pumping the fuel on that hype train, but it’s time someone else extends the hype to Indiana Preps. What I will tell you is he’s a competitor baby! He’s got the heart of a raging Lion and the compete level of a winner! 

He can run the football like a power back, but on defense he’s got that killer instinct in the secondary. Kamden doesn’t just tackle guys, he dominates. He’s ferocious as a defender that gives players no room to make a play, and most importantly he knows when to strike to make a big pick. I feel this kid gets no love at Leo because of all of the talent that’s still there, but let me tell you he leads the NE8 in picks for a reason with 4. I’m really excited to see how much he grows from this season. 

Luke (Senior) and Drew (Sophomore) Graft Running Backs/Defensive Backs – Norwell 

At Norwell, they’re known as this elite defensive team with that Three-Headed Monster in the backfield. What I will tell you is both Graft kids are elite athletes who are exceptional in any situation they’re asked to do. Both Graft kids are exceptional running backs, but what’s most impressive is their ability to be amazing blockers and add that extra physicality and toughness to this Norwell team. Luke is also equally strong as an interior linebacker that brings size and physicality to the table for the Norwell Knights. As for Drew, he’s been getting snaps under center where he can make throws in play-action and expand the run game. 

Jorge Valdes – Senior Safety – Carroll 

The Chargers are having an amazing season with sophomore quarterback Jimmy Sullivan aka Jimmy Football amassing 697 yards and 11 TD passes, with a combined 6 of them coming to Cameron Hershberger and Hansen Haffner. Dylan Bennett has provided a physical presence with size and college bound football IQ as a linebacker and Braden Steely is making noise as a strong safety. But not enough is being discussed about Jorge Valdes who has 3 picks and 14 total tackles. And for the way Carroll plays, that combo of Steely, Justin Anderson, and now Valdes gives Carroll athletic versatility, size, and tremendous grit to this team where one if not all three could become big time college recruits. 

Josh Masasu – Sophomore Linebacker – North Side 

The Legends get a lot of attention because the explosive D1 talents from Bohde Dickerson at QB, Tae Tae Johnson at wide receiver, and Johntae Lambert in the backfield. Davon Doughty, a Bishop Luers transfer, has been excellent in that defensive versatility that has become a valuable pass rusher with 5 sacks. But when you look at where North Side has improved the most this season, they’ve improved drastically in the trenches with one of them being sophomore Josh Masasu. Josh isn’t the biggest of kids up front sitting 5’9 200lb, but he is absolutely reliable at getting after opposing linemen with speed and durability. He’s their most consistent linemen when it comes to making good tackles and bringing good stability to that North Side defense. Not enough people talk about the kid’s relentless play up front. 

Gavin Cook – Senior Running Back and Defensive Back – Adams Central 

How was there not a lot of talk about Cook before this season? While Keegan Bluhm continues to be a stud on both sides of the field, Cook has quietly become a force to be reckoned with for the Jets. He’s only 5’5, so size is not something he can bring to the table. But what he does bring is consistency and value as a speedy, athletic back that comes with a burst of lightning. Cook is so quick to taking off when he gets the football, and when the O-Line blocks well, Cook is off to the races. He doesn’t need a bunch of carries or this fancy offense. Cook just needs just enough time and space with the football and he will let his legs do the magic, and that’s the type of player the Jets consistently develop so well are these under-the-radar small, scrappy players that are so athletic and have that talent to blow past defenders with great awareness. 

This won’t be the last time you’ll see these type of posts. In a future post, I’ll have another set of players that we need to talk about from the Fort Wayne area!