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June 12, 2012
Rivals.com, the nation's leader in football recruiting coverage, is bringing 100 of the country's top prospects to participate in the inaugural Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge. The free, invite-only camp for the nation's elite will feature 80 prospects from the 2013 class and 20 prospects from the 2014 class. Each position group is loaded, including the receivers/tight ends, today's featured group.
Tyler Boyd, WR, Clairton (Pa.); Adam Breneman, TE, Camp Hill (Pa.) St. Cedar Cliff; Reggie Davis, WR, Tallahassee (Fla.) Lincoln; John Diarse, WR, Monroe (La.) Neville; Jeffery Farrar (2014), WR, Mission Hills (Calif.) Bishop Alemany; O.J. Howard, TE, Autauga (Ala.) Autauga Academy; Adoree' Jackson (2014), WR, Gardena (Calif.) Junipero Serra; Rickey Jefferson, WR, Destrehan (La.); Isaiah Jones, WR, Milton (Fla.); Sebastian LaRue, WR, Santa Monica (Calif.); Jalin Marshall, WR, Middletown (Ohio); Eldridge Massington, WR, Mesquite (Texas) West Mesquite; Danny Mattingly,TE, Spokane (Wash.) Mead; Steven Mitchell, WR, Mission Hills (Calif.) Bishop Alemany; Marquez North, WR, Charlotte (N.C.) Mallard Creek; Francis Owusu, WR, Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian; Earnest Robinson, WR, Pinson Valley (Ala.); Bo Scarbrough (2014), WR, Tuscaloosa (Ala.) Northridge; Ricky Seals-Jones, WR, Sealy (Texas); DeSean Smith, TE, Lake Charles (La.) Barbe; Demorea Stringfellow, WR, Moreno Valley (Calif.) Rancho Verde; Stanvon Taylor, WR, Tulsa (Okla.) East Central; Laquon Treadwell, WR, Crete (Ill.) Crete Monee; Taj Williams, WR, Tallahassee (Fla.) Lincoln.
There are no five-stars at receiver or tight end in the 2013 class (at this point), but don't kid yourself -- the group headed to Atlanta is stacked. It includes Seals-Jones, an extremely talented player from Texas that is the highest-rated receiver/tight end in the class. Seals-Jones currently checks in at No. 18 in the Rivals100, and is the highest-rated player without a fifth star. He played quarterback and safety in 2011, and was the unanimous district MVP. That gives you an idea of how talented an athlete he is. As a receiver, he provides quarterbacks with an enormous 6-feet-5, 220-pound target. Is he truly the country's top receiver prospect? And is he deserving of a fifth star? We're about to find out.
Taylor isn't underrated. He's currently a four-star recruit. He's also the country's 199th-rated player. Clearly, those aren't sleeper numbers. But Taylor, an Oklahoma commit, is being recruited as a corner. In this event, though, he'll be a receiver. So that's why we're slapping the "sleeper" tag on him. Making things even more interesting with him is this: Taylor is coming off a serious ankle injury. In space, Taylor is excellent, and even though he's relatively inexperienced on the camp circuit, he has the potential to thrive given his skills in space.
Any number of players could have been chosen here, but for argument's sake we'll go with Scarbrough, a talented 2014 prospect from Alabama. He is 6-feet-1, 215 pounds and almost certainly will be among the most well-put together prospects on hand. At this stage, he already claims offers from many high-profile programs, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Michigan. What's interesting is that most schools like Scarbrough at running back. But he has the skills to also play receiver (he impressed at the Alabama Rivals/VTO Sports Elite 100 at that spot) and that's where he will line up next week. Is he an elite-level receiver? Or will the Challenge prove that he is better off at running back. Even if Scarbrough ends up at running back in college, the additional practice time at receiver can only help. By the way, despite having major knee surgery last year, Scarbrough has run sub-4.5 times in the 40 this spring. The bottom line, this is an outstanding young prospect.
KEEP AN EYE ON
The battle between the tight ends. In Breneman, Howard and Smith, the top three players nationally at that position will be in Atlanta. Each has an NFL frame, each is a matchup problem for an opposing defense, and each is strong after the catch. In the current position rankings, Breneman, a Penn State commit, is No. 1. Howard, who has verbally committed to Alabama, is right on his heels and also is only three spots behind Breneman in the Rivals100 (27th and 30th). Will one of them separate from the other?
BATTLING FOR RESPECT
Let's go right back to the tight ends, where Breneman and Howard are the headline-grabbers. With those two, it's easy to overlook Smith. But the Louisiana standout is all of 6-feet-4, 222 pounds, is a top-100 national recruit and has an offer list as impressive as just about any player in the country. A year ago, Smith caught 43 passes for 764 yards and seven touchdowns, so playing 7-on-7 figures to be an easy transition. Is Smith in the same league as Breneman and Howard? Or might he be better than either? This is a great opportunity to showcase his talents.