The Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge presented by adidas is headed to the Midwest and Big Ten country. Several conference programs have commitments who will be participating in the event, while several more have top uncommitted targets who will be in attendance. Here is a look at the five schools who will be watching the proceedings later this month with the most interest.
When players hit the field for the 2017 Five-Star Challenge, there is a good chance Big Ten programs will boast the most commitments in attendance. One of the drivers of that statistic is Penn State, and that probably should not be a surprise since they have the No. 2 ranked recruiting class in 2018.
Headlining the group of future Nittany Lions in Indianapolis will be five-star quarterback Justin Fields, and he will be joined by fellow commits Ricky Slade, Nana Asiedu and Jesse Luketa. Additionally, Penn State is still in the hunt for several of the uncommitted prospects set to attend, including offensive tackle Rasheed Walker and Tyreke Smith.
Another major driving force for the Big Ten’s strong representation at this year’s Five-Star Challenge is Ohio State, which should have just as many commits in attendance as their rival, Penn State. Maybe that is fitting with this year’s Challenge located in Big Ten country, but the majority of Ohio State commits participating this year are coming from outside the region.
Safety commit Jaiden Woodbey is flying in from California, defensive end commit Brenton Cox will make his way to Indianapolis from Georgia and safety commit Josh Proctor will be up from Oklahoma. Only running back commit Jaelen Gill is local.
The St. Louis stop of the Rivals 3 Stripe Camp produced a lot of Five-Star Challenge invites, and Nebraska has as strong of presence in that region of the country as just about any team. One of those selections was their long-time athlete commit Cameron Jurgens, who will be playing tight end in Indianapolis. He will be catching passes from a player Nebraska fans hope will be throwing in Memorial Stadium in 2019 and beyond – quarterback Grant Gunnell of Texas, who has visited Lincoln several times already in the recruiting process.
The state of Missouri is deep at the defensive line position in 2018, and all three who will be in Indianapolis – defensive tackle Michael Thompson and defensive ends Ronnie Perkins and Daniel Parker – are strongly considering the Cornhuskers.
Three Big Ten programs have commits in the Five-Star Challenge, but the majority of prospects participating in the event are uncommitted and Michigan is considered a top contender for many of those prospects. Although their lists are a dozen teams long, the Wolverines have made the top group for Tyreke Smith, Rick Sandidge and Ronnie Perkins. Class of 2019 Ohio defensive tackle Jowon Briggs lists them prominently, along with Notre Dame and Ohio State, as teams that stand out early in his recruitment. And, Rivals100 California defensive back Isaac Taylor-Stuart and Houston 2019 quarterback Grant Gunnell are planning summer visits to Ann Arbor.
Like Michigan, Iowa does not have a commitment in the Five-Star Challenge, but they do have several top targets who will be participating and how those players fare against the nation’s best will certainly be of interest to Hawkeye fans.
Among the most noteworthy Iowa targets who will be participating in Indianapolis is cornerback Julius Brents. The Defensive Back MVP of the Columbus Rivals 3 Stripe Camp, Brents lists Iowa among his top five and many college football recruiting observers see the Hawkeyes as the team to beat. Iowa is also a strong player for the three defensive linemen out of Missouri who will be at the Five-Star Challenge: Daniel Parker, Ronnie Perkins and Michael Thompson.