On the banks of the Red Cedar, recruiting never stops. We’re here every step of the way to keep you moving along with it.
It’s tough out there for a western Michigan football player.
No, not the university in Kalamazoo. Coach P.J. Fleck’s Broncos moved to 5-0 Saturday and earned their first ever national ranking, coming in at No. 25 in the Coaches Poll.
But high school players on the western side of the state have a different tale to tell about garnering recognition. Six of the top 25 seniors in the state hail from west of Lansing, which basically marks the midpoint of Michigan. In the junior class, that number is three.
Detroit and its surrounding suburbs dominate the recruiting rankings. Grand Rapids, Holland and Muskegon? Not so much. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, but for those with dreams of earning a Division I football scholarship, it can be discouraging. Just ask 2018 Rockford cornerback Marcus Remtema, who’s had that dream for as long as he can remember.
“There’s not very many athletes from west Michigan or Grand Rapids, so I feel like we are overlooked a little bit compared to bigger cities like Detroit and over there,” the 6-foot junior told Land of 10 about trying to pick up his first offer. “It’s gonna come. I hope.”
For now, Remtema is trusting the process. He hears from Bowling Green, Miami (Ohio), Northern Arizona, Central Michigan (which he visited over the weekend), Akron and Ball State (both of which he’ll visit soon).
His recruitment by Michigan State has progressed steadily as well. First, Michigan State co-defensive coordinator Mike Tressel came to Rockford to meet with him and 3-star quarterback Jason Whittaker, one of the three aforementioned west-siders ranked in the top 25 of the 2018 class.
Since then, Remtema has been to the spring game, a June prospect camp and an unofficial visit for Michigan State’s loss to Wisconsin on Sept. 24. Despite the result, the atmosphere blew him away.
“A lot of people were asking like, ‘Oh, are you a recruit?’ ” Remtema said of his time on the field before the game. “If you tweet something like ‘Victory for Michigan State’ or whatever, Michigan State fans see that and they go crazy. Adults that know who I am are always like, ‘Oh, are you gonna go to Michigan State?’
“It’s cool that you get some attention from Michigan State. You can tell that their fan base is definitely in the game. Win or loss, the crowd was huge. It was sweet. It was a great experience going there.”
And it will continue to be cool, but Remtema wants to turn the recruiting attention into offers. Both of his brothers played college football, and now he hopes to realize that dream as well. He’s sending in weekly highlights to coaches after he toils over the process of editing them.
His and his teammates’ videos are a bit shorter than others, though. Just before the start of this season, Rockford suffered an outbreak of cryptosporidiosis, a diarrheal disease caused by an intestinal-dwelling parasite.
It’s just as horrific as that description suggests. Remtema couldn’t eat because food wouldn’t stay down. He lost 17 pounds, dropping from 185 to 168 over the course of three days.
Others lost 30 to 40 pounds, Remtema said. Rockford had to forfeit its season opener against Saline, one of the best teams in the state. Just a week later, the Rams fought hard against Lowell, the No. 1 team in the state, but lost 21-10.
Since then, Rockford has rattled off four straight wins as the team gets back to full strength. Remtema last weighed in at 180 pounds, thanks in large part to countless peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, protein shakes and double lunch orders.
Remtema remains admirably optimistic considering these fits of adversity. Circumstances beyond his control have set him back, but he keeps his sights set high and achievable.
“Division I football is, I think, something that I can achieve if I work hard and do what needs to be done,” he said. “That’s probably my dream is to play college, Division I football and get a good degree.”
In many ways, recruiting is a business. Remtema gets that. He calls it a “battle.” Michigan State, like others, wants the best players it can get, and that list of available scholarships is really short from the outside looking in.
But based on what he’s seen and dealt with, Remtema looks battle-tested and ready.
Martin visit plans still in question
Michigan State fans let their excitement start to build when 247Sports’ Steve Wiltfong tweeted that he’s “hearing” 4-star Iowa City West receiver Oliver Martin will visit Michigan State this weekend.
It would be huge for the Spartans. Martin, who just visited Michigan, is one of MSU’s top targets at wideout. Apart from those two, Iowa, Notre Dame and Oregon are considered heavy contenders.
That’s where things get interesting. Martin told Land of 10’s Scott Dochterman on Friday that he will visit Oregon. Things can certainly change, and with Martin’s avoidance of media coverage, it might not be clear until we see him on either team’s sideline this Saturday.
Iowa City West WR Oliver Martin will fly to Michigan tomorrow morning for an unofficial visit. Plans the same for Oregon the following week.
— Scott Dochterman (@ScottDochterman) October 1, 2016
In-state freshman athlete to visit
This one’s a little more clear. Muskegon (Mich.) Catholic Central freshman Cameron Martinez confirmed to Land of 10 that he will visit Michigan State on Saturday for its game against BYU.
Martinez picked up his first offer from Central Michigan all the way back in June, before he even set foot in high school. The 5-foot-11 star is definitely one to watch with the early attention he has received.
All ratings are from the 247Sports composite rankings unless otherwise noted.