The trickle-down effect in the business of football from the professional level to the high school fields has brought with it a steady stream of clich?nswers from teenage players emulating what they see on television.
For Concord (Calif.) De La Salle outside linebacker Victor Egu, that process has not taken hold. When talking about accepting his invitation to the inaugural Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge, Egu was honest and open.
"I was more than shocked to get invited," he said. "I didn't think I was anywhere close to a five-star recruit."
The honesty continued as Egu reflected on what he was doing before playing football for one of the most prestigious high school brands in the country.
"I was kind of playing basketball," he said. "But really I wasn't doing much of anything."
That all changed when he actually started to pay more attention to the sport.
"I remember watching Ray Lewis and Patrick Willis and thinking about how good they were at football," Egu said. "I tried it out that spring and never looked back."
With an invitation to travel to Lakewood Stadium outside of Atlanta on June 22-24 for the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge, Egu feels like there is validation to the hard work he has put in over the last three years.
"I felt like this would all happen for me," he said. "I just didn't know when. I felt like once I got out there I really could go to college. I believed there was a school out there that would take a chance on me even if I was raw."
Under the tutelage of Bob Ladoceur and the staff at De La Salle, the raw product has become more refined and Egu has been a major part of a pair of nationally-ranked and California Open Division Bowl winning teams.
"My coaches are amazing," Egu said. "They have given me a lot of confidence and really have developed me as a football player so much in just three years.
"I know that at that school that if I put in the work it will pay off, not to be cocky but we know that we can win state because that is what we do, we are winning all the time."
As part of his maturation process Egu hopes that he will be taking the next step in his game and that being in the same arena as many of the best players at his position, as well as former NFL players giving him instruction at the exclusive camp, will expedite everything.
"I know I need to work on my pad level. My lateral movement and my reads, too," he said. "I will have my head on a swivel there that is for sure."
While Egu will be taking in what is going on around him the full team of Rivals.com recruiting analysts and videographers will be keeping an eye on the prospect, and he knows it.
"This is a chance for me. A real chance," he said. "I expect to put everything out there and gain something from every practice.
"I honestly want to give it all out there."
Mike Farrell's take
It's a down year for linebackers on the West Coast and Egu has been in the shadow of teammate Michael Hutchings so now is his chance to shine. He has good size, shows good range and he's solid in his coverage drops so he will be good for 7 on 7. One of the few current three-stars invited to the event, Egu is looking for a rankings bump as he continues to be one of the hotter names on the coast. De La Salle kids are always well coached and disciplined so I expect him to be one of the better linebackers in coverage for his region and possibly at the event itself.