Skipping the freshman football team at Grand Rapids (Mich.) East Kentwood, 2020 prospects Bryce Mostella and Dallas Fincher started their high school football careers on the junior varsity squad. The following season, they were making an impact on the varsity.
On May 17, Mostella, a 4-star weakside defensive end, and Fincher, a 3-star guard, received offers from the University of Michigan.
“It’s not normal when a huge team like Michigan offers two guys from the same school like how they did here,” Fincher said. “It’s extremely cool and huge to see that.
“We have our own teams that we favor more, but playing on the same team is definitely a talked-about thing. We are really close, and it would be cool.”
Mostella, at 6-foot-6, 235 pounds, has a top-3 list of Michigan, Northwestern and Penn State. He will visit the Wildcats on June 15.
“I love the academics and there’s a certain vibe you get from everybody there,” Mostella said of Northwestern. “It’s just something you want to be a part of. [Penn State] has great people. It is a place where you can have and develop relationships. The facilities are top-notch because it’s a Big Ten school.”
Along with a trip to Northwestern, Mostella wants to check out Purdue, Indiana, Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State and maybe Minnesota and Iowa soon. The Spartans have been “getting in more contact” as of late.
“[Michigan is] definitely near the top,” the defensive end said. “I need to see more of Coach [Greg] Mattison actually coaching. I want to see him in action. He’s produced great players, but I need to see how he gets through to the players.
“The best way to get that is to be close to him at a practice.”
Now that Mostella has an offer from Michigan, the chance to play for the Wolverines is attainable. But he does not look at the team any differently.
“I’ve always seen Michigan as a great place,” Mostella said. “I still see them as the same place I saw them before, but now it’s just much more attainable.”
Mostella said he plans to wait until late in his junior year to make a commitment. He is focused on being a leader at East Kentwood.
“Last year, I wasn’t a leader on the team,” Mostella said. “It wasn’t like I did anything wrong, it just wasn’t who I was as a sophomore. I wasn’t in the position to lead anybody. This year, it’s going to be different because I’ll be in the position to lead. I think that helps with the collegiate level because it makes you a better person to follow the leader.
“If the leaders don’t have anyone that follows, then they aren’t leading anybody.”
Mostella’s teammate, Fincher, agreed. He said he is excited to play with his class and not have to watch the players at his lunch table with the freshman or junior varsity team. In 2018, Fincher will be on the field with his friends.
“Bryce and I were not able to play with our classmates for the last two years,” Fincher said. “Our team as a whole should be a lot better because of kids in my class and in Mazi [Smith] and Logan’s [Brown] class coming together is going to be great.”
Fincher, reflecting on the offer from Michigan, said it is a special scholarship to receive.
“Growing up in Michigan, you see that M everywhere,” Fincher said. “I have so many family members, friends and colleagues that love Michigan. I’ve always followed Michigan and it’s a blessing to have an offer.”
Fincher is 6-4, 260 pounds. He said he plans to bring Mostella with him for Michigan’s Big Man Big House camp on June 18.
“We are trying to compete there and have a little visit,” Fincher said. “I’m excited to run around, be able to trust my technique and test it against great competition.”
Fincher said the Wolverines are in his top 10, but he wants to get back on campus because he is “looking at it completely different now” in teh wake of the offer. Fincher is interested in how he would fit in Michigan’s scheme and in the classroom.
With offers from 19 schools, including Michigan, Michigan State, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Purdue and Wisconsin, Fincher said he believes UCLA could be the next school to extend a scholarship offer. He also has been “really talking” to Ole Miss.
“I love Ole Miss,” the guard said. “I’ve followed their program for the longest and it was so cool when I was talking to the director of player operations about how they love me. They said they love my film and I’m always welcome there. It’s a welcoming feeling and I haven’t even visited yet.
“I was always a loyal Michigan State and Ole Miss fan. I don’t try to give anyone the benefit of the doubt. I treat everyone equally.”
Mostella, reiterating what Fincher said about the two playing together, does not want to force anything.
“If he wants to go somewhere else, I shouldn’t force him to come with me,” Mostella said. “He wants to see some West Coast schools and I want to see some in the South.”
The Falcons kick off the 2018 football season against Muskegon Mona Shores on Aug. 24 with Mostella and Fincher providing junior leadership.