RALEIGH, N.C. -- Running back Chandler Kryst played sparingly as a sophomore for Fort Mill (S.C.) High. He was behind two seniors who combined for 274 carries and a junior who led the program with 775 yards on 119 carries.
Kryst admitted he was not focused on his game, but with an opportunity to showcase his skills this season, it has been different.
As a result of his increased effort, he was one of nine players from the VTO Sports Underclassmen events in North Carolina to earn their way into the Rivals Underclassmen Challenge presented by Under Armour.
The invitation-only camp will be held July 7 at DeSoto (Texas) High and feature near 250 prospects from coast-to-coast.
"I have been working so hard," he said. "I have been nonstop, really. I love football and knew that I did not give it my all last year, so I was disappointed in my results and myself.
"When I saw this event and the opportunity to get to the national (Rivals event), I really went hard. As the day kept going, I noticed coaches were picking guys out and sending them against me on every rep and I just couldn't let anyone beat me if I wanted to get that invitation."
While his summer circuit performance doesn't lock him in to more playing time this year at his local level, Kryst said the national exposure can only be good for him.
"I can see where I am and where I need to be," he said. "I want my name out there; I want offers; I want exposure."
The Class of 2015 prospect is not alone.
After earning his trip to Texas on the second day of the events, Class of 2016 athlete Tim Glass took notice of how he was being put into reps with other players and hoped that continued at the national event.
"Can we do callouts down there?" he asked. "I want to be No. 1 in my class so I want to go against the best."
Glass checked in at 6-foot and 189 pounds. He has been asked to the event as an athlete and will play either safety or wide receiver.
Unlike Kyrst, he was all over the field as a freshman and was prepared for an invite to Texas before the day began.
"I came in confident that it would happen," he said. "I knew if I played my game, that I would get noticed."
The same can be said for Avon (Conn.) Old Farms prospect Chris Clark.
He made the drive from New Jersey with the sole purpose of earning an invitation to the Rivals Underclassmen Challenge.
"It was my only goal on this trip," he said. "I like to compete and I wanted to see how I stacked up with guys from all over. I knew that I wouldn't get that chance if I didn't come to an event like this, and now I can go and show what I can do.
The VTO Sports Underclassmen events showcased many athletes from the Carolinas as well as players from Connecticut, Kentucky and Georgia making the trip. Nine of the prospects from the weekend of combines were asked to participate at the Rivals Underclassmen Challenge presented by Under Armour.
Clark ran a 4.84 laser-timed 40-yard dash, impressiv for a 6-foot-5, 237-pounder. He said that some followers are telling him he projects best at tackle, but with his hands and speed he is staying focused on playing tight end.
"I don't even want to talk about tackle right now," he said. "I have the hands to stay at tight end and I can prove it."
Combining a proving-ground opportunity with excitement was on the mind of Class of 2016 athlete Demetris Robertson.
The 6-foot, 164-pound prospect from Savannah (Ga.) Country Day said that he was ready to go to Texas following the Charlotte stop in the Rivals Camp Series tour.
"I am so excited," he said. "I know what I can do and I want to see what that means against the best underclassmen in the country."
Robertson competed in the Rivals Camp Series when it came through the Southeast and said he is ready to take his name to the national level.
"I worked hard to get here and I will keep working hard," he said. "I expect the best out of myself and I think it will get noticed in Texas, for sure."