Over 80 W. MI athletes commit on national signing day

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Over 80 West Michigan athletes revealed where they would be playing college football next year on Wednesday.

At an event held at Celebration Cinema North in Grand Rapids saw a litany of high school seniors finalize their plans. Nearly every school Michigan has to offer was represented at the event.

West Michigan representation in the Big Ten

Holland tight end Luke Buckman decided to pass up a scholarship offer from Grand Valley State University to play for Jim Harbaugh as a preferred walk-on at Michigan.

“Playing in front of a bunch of people in the Big House and having the opportunity to contribute to the team is just amazing,” he said.

Jenison offensive lineman Dan VanOpstall will also be a preferred walk-on, but he is headed to East Lansing to play for the Michigan State Spartans.

“They’re known for taking walk-ons and turning them into fantastic football players, many of whom have gone onto the next level,” VanOpstall said.

Northwestern also snagged a West Michigan commitment from Rockford quarterback Jason Whittaker.

“I’m really thankful it all worked out and really looking forward to the next chapter of my life,” he said.

Two headed to Ivy League school

Two West Michigan players will be playing together at Cornell.

Muskegon’s Demetrius Harris and Max Lundeen of East Grand Rapids are combining an opportunity to extend their football careers and get a top-notch education.

“It’s big for me because where I’m from, not too many people make it to (an) Ivy League school,” Harris said. “The last person that’s been to Cornell, it’s been a while. From an academic and athletic standpoint, it just fit me.”

While the education is an obvious benefit of going to an Ivy League school, Lundeen pointed out the football program is also on the rise.

Staying local

GVSU, Ferris State University and Davenport were able to grab some of the top local talent as well.

Grand Rapids Catholic Central running back Nolan Fugate is heading to Davenport to join head coach Sparky McEwen’s team.

“They just moved to into the GLIAC this year and I’m excited to get the program moving in the right direction and turn them into a winning program,” Fugate said.

FSU will be receiving an athlete it will utilize for two sports in West Ottawa’s Xavier Wade, who will play both basketball and football for the Bulldogs.

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