The Rivals250 Underclassmen Challenge presented by Under Armour is set for Sunday in DeSoto, Texas. Here are some story lines Rivals.com's analysts anticipate.
As the recruiting calendar seems to get pushed up each year, players are making their college choices earlier than ever. The Underclassman Challenge is no exception, with 12 players already verbally committed.
The quarterback spot projects as one of the strongest groups at the event. The catch is it's also overflowing with bodies. Standing out of the crowd will be a chore. Mesquite (Texas) West Mesquite quarterback Chason Virgil and Stephenville, Texas, gunslinger Jarrett Stidham have early offers from Texas and others while Charleston, Ark., quarterback Ty Storey is already committed to Arkansas. Drew Lock, who already holds offers from Missouri and Louisville, might be the most intriguing prospect of the bunch, as he's coming off an impressive performance at Notre Dame's team camp. Alex Delton and Ryan Willis, two players from Kansas, hold early offers from Kansas State and are in line for more soon. That said, the California-based duo of Brady White and Tyler Hilinski have enormous upside. White and Hilinski have blown people away on the 7-on-7 circuit this offseason and either could use this event as a coming-out party. There will be more than a dozen quarterbacks on hand with early FBS offers, so the competition will be fierce.
The competition at RB could be among the most hotly contested, especially with a roster that includes 15 players who have already received FBS offers. Among those coming in with the most notoriety are 2015 Madison (Ala.) Madison Academy running back Kerryon Johnson, who already has offers from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, LSU and several other big-time programs. Huntersville (N.C.) Southlake Christian rising sophomore Robert Washington has already committed to Mississippi State, but has spent the offseason lighting up the camp circuit. Others to watch include Buford (Ga.) rising junior Joshua Thomas (Tennessee, Vanderbilt and other offers) and New London (N.C.) North Stanley rising sophomore Antonio Williams (Georgia, North Carolina, N.C. State offers). Other intriguing players to watch who don't have offers include all-purpose back Ruben Garnett and Southlake (Texas) Carroll rising sophomore Eboh Obi.
Local bigs to dominate?
One of the most anticipated portions of every camp is the one-on-ones between the linemen and the Midlands is bringing some fight on both sides. The offensive side of the ball will be headlined by Lewisville (Texas) Hebron offensive lineman Zach Rogers.
He already has a number of offers and is coming off a stout performance at the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge in Chicago. He will be joined by Josh Wariboko out of Casady (Okla.) who is already committed to Oklahoma and players such as Garret Thomas and Joshua Jones, who bring a combination of size and athleticism. Cordel Iwuagwu and Jozie Milton also seem to thrive on punishing others.
The defensive side is just as strong, if not moreso. Shreveport (La.) Calvary Academy defensive tackle T.D. Moton enters with the most offers, and along with his size, he brings a motor that does not quit. Ennis (Texas) defensive end James Lockhart holds a few offers of his own and is considered one of the top prospects in Texas. Kingsley Keke and Du'Vonte Lampkin add some Houston-area punch and Jenks (Okla.) standout Marquise Overton is one of the top prospects in the Sooner state. Throw in a couple of 2016 defensive tackle standouts in Hammond (La.) St. Thomas Aquinas big man Edwin Alexander and Austin Capps out of Star City (Ark.) and you have a strong group. Let's not forget DeSoto (Texas) defensive tackle Bryce English, who is already committed to Texas, although he might be slowed by a high ankle sprain.