July 15, 2014

Underclassmen Challenge: They said it

MORE: Rivals100 | Rivals250

JACKSONVILLE -- Participants from the Rivals250 Underclassmen Challenge Presented by Under Armour had some interesting takes on recruiting rules, the distance they are willing to go for a scholarship and whether athletes should be paid. Here is a sampling of answers before the athletes competed at EverBank Field.

Should college athletes be paid?

At the Division 1 level, yes, because it takes a lot of time. It is like a 24/7 job. The players bring in millions of dollars and don't get any of it. -- Charles Callender, defensive end, Miami Gulliver Prep

I think they should be paid. These guys give a lot back to the school. It is like a job. (Playing football) is what you are there to do. I know a lot of players that don't have a lot of money and it is hard on them. Paying them would kep them in college longer. They wouldn't rush to the NFL. -- Breon Dixon, linebacker, Suwanee (Ga.) Peachtree Ridge

You should be able to eat whatever you want and stuff like that, but scholarships are enough. If you have to pay football players, then everyone else would be like, 'What about us?' Then, if you pay everyone, that's a big waste of money. -- Giovanni Fauolo, tight end, Oakley (Calif.) Freedom

Not a big amount, but some sort of stipend. The players who have their jerseys sold or who are in video games should get a stipend. -- Tre Jackson, defensive back, Baton Rouge (La.) University Laboratory School

It would be weird, because they have never been paid before. But I've heard it is like a job. Guys have told me you work out all the time. I think major sports -- football, basketball and baseball -- should be paid. -- Kahi Neves, quarterback, South Jordan (Utah) Bingham

Players should be paid half of the money that their sport brings in. Whatever the sport, half the money that comes in should go to the players. -- Jerron Cage, defensive lineman, Cincinnati Winton Woods

Should there be any changes to the recruiting rules regarding coaches contacting prospects?

They should be less restrictive. I'm trying to keep in touch with a lot of coaches, but I have to try to time it to reach them, so it is hard. I wish they were able to call me. -- JoeJuan Williams, defensive back, Nashville Father Ryan

I think they are plenty restrictive as it is. They should be able to contact us every now and then. I think they should be able to reach out to a sophomore and check in. -- Austin Capps, defensive lineman, Star City (Ark.) Star City Senior

It should be changed to sophomore year. As a freshman, you are getting adjusted to high school football. As a sophomore, you know your football, so you can get ready to talk about the next level. Just allow them to call for a certain amount of time. -- Antonio Williams, running back, New London (NC) North Stanly

It should be changed to when you are a sophomore because you are old enough to talk to a coach. I get why they put the rule in, but I think it should be changed. Freshman year is too young, but sophomore would be fine. -- Matt Dame, quarterback, Riviera Beach (Fla.) Suncoast

It is a good rule. They can talk to your parents, so that's enough. They should be able to email as a sophomore, but that's enough. -- Caleb Rozar, wide receiver, Clarksville (Tenn.) Northeast

How much of a factor is distance when you consider your college choice?

Not really a factor when it comes to playing ball. You have to find that right fit, and someitmes it is best to get away. It just depends on the person. -- Lamarques Thomas, defensive lineman, Clinton, Miss.

It is huge. I know my parents will want to go to the games, and I know it will be much more convenient if they are within a couple of hours versus a plane ride. I would like to be close to home and close to my family. -- Leighton Alley, quarterback, Ponte Vedra (Fla.) Nease

Distance plays a big factor. I am open to all schools, but I'm close to my family. I would like for my parents to come see me play in the games. -- Tarik Black, wide receiver, Cheshire (Conn.) Cheshire Academy

It is a factor. I want my mom to see me play. She's always been there for me. I want her to be able to drive to see me. -- Nigel Warrior, defensive back, Atlanta Westlake

It is definitely a big deal. If I'm going to go far away, I want it to feel like home. I'll go where i have to go -- if it is the West Coast, that's fine -- but being close to home is a big deal to me. -- Trey Sneed, athlete, Fleming Island, Fla.

What skill can you improve at summer camps, when you are not wearing pads and there is no hitting? It is a little different than football in the fall.

I work on my mobility. I'm trying to be more than a pocket passer. You can work on technique in the 7-on-7s and you are relaxed. Shea Patterson, quarterback, Shreveport (La.) Calvary Academy

Fundamentals. How to go out and stay low. There are plenty of skills to learn on the offensive line. I also learn a lot from the mental aspect. We don't need pads. It is good like this. Chidi Valentine-Okeke, offensive lineman, Hialeah (Fla.) Champagnat Catholic

These camps help focus on footwork and technique. When you are in a game, to avoid a big hit, that's where the footwork and skills come in. As a football player, you always want pads, but this minimizes injury. Sylvester Mayers, running back, Richmond (Va.) Heritage

I learn the mechanics of the D-Line -- the rip swing, bull rush. You also benefit here because of the competition. You are going against guys that have offers. You have to have your mechanics ready for the one-on-ones. At a camp like this, you want your craft perfected to showcase in front of the Rivals analysts. -- Michael Perry, defensive lineman, Memphis (Tenn.) Memphis Academy

As a wide receiver, I can learn to work with different quarterbacks. At a camp like this, I'll work with five quarterbacks. Some put the ball on your back shoulder, some lead you, one might be a lefty. There is also better competition. It is easier to learn technique without pads, and these coaches are some of the best in the nation, so it is good to learn technique from them without pads. Desmond Fitzpatrick, wide receiver, Farmington, Mich.

Is there an NFL stadium you would like to see a Rivals Camp Series event held?

Pittsburgh. That's my favorite team and the place I want to live when I get older. -- Chris Thaxton, wide receiver, Highland Springs, Va.

I'm a New Orleans Saints fan, so I would love the Superdome. I'm also from Indianapolis, so Lucas Oil would be great. Of course, this is a nice place here. -- Jackson Cain, defensive back, Huntington (Ind.) Huntington North

Baltimore. I love the Ravens and I love Ray Lewis. I also have family there. Hopefully I'll be there next year (for the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge). Malik Staples, running back, Atlanta Pace Academy

Any of them are really cool. Just look at this place. The jumbotrons are enormous. -- Matt Farniok, offensive lineman, Sioux Falls (SD) Washington

Who is your favorite NFL player?

RGIII. He's such an all-around athlete. I believe in him. -- Nikolas Daniels, linebacker, League City (Tex.) Clear Creek

It will always be Ray Lewis. he's my role model. The passion he brings, heart, words of encouragement. I love him. -- Ryan Vessels, linebacker, Washington (DC) St. John's College High

Ray Lewis. Great role model, great leader. -- Stephen Davis Jr., athlete, Irmo (SC) Dutch Fork

As a DB, I'll say Patrick Peterson. He can cover any receiver in the league. My favorite player is probably Drew Brees, since I'm a Saints fan. -- Elvis Hines, defensive back, Haddonfield (NJ) Paul VI

Jadeveon Clowney. He's the man. I love his heart, passion for the game, courage, ability to do everything. -- Andre Anthony, defensive lineman, New Orleans Miller-McCoy

Bill Trocchi is an editor for Rivals.com. You can click here to follow him on Twitter.




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