Five schools that should be pleased after #RivalsChallenge
ATLANTA – The on-field portion of the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge presented by adidas took place on Thursday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, with many of the nation’s best players going head-to-head in a variety of competitions. With the action wrapped up, we take a look at five college programs who should be very happy with the way things played out in Atlanta.
MORE FIVE-STAR CHALLENGE: The Farrell Awards | Seven players named MVPs at their positions | Justin Flowe makes a strong case for himself | Offensive roster | Defensive roster | All-Lobby team | Next to commit | Five who could flip | Farrell's storylines | Best Five-Star Challenge performance ever? | Which QB will shine brightest? | Who will improve stock the most? | Who has the most to prove? | Full Rivals Camp Series coverage
The Gamecocks' day got off to quite a start when they added a commitment from Rivals250 athlete Keveon Mullins, a prospect they had been courting over the past few months. Things only got better from there, as quarterback commit Ryan Hilinski turned in another quality performance and Gamecocks defensive target Cam Smith also stood out for his play. Adding Mullins gives South Carolina its second four-star prospect from the state of Tennessee in this year’s class, joining Joseph Anderson. Pulling Mullins away from his hometown is another major recruiting victory for Will Muschamp and company, and having Hilinski there to push him over the top is also reason for Gamecocks fans to celebrate.
The Tigers were well-represented at Thursday’s event in the form of five-star commitments Derek Stingley Jr. and Kardell Thomas. Stingley was his usual dominant self, playing both ways all day long and helping his team to the 7-on-7 championship. Stingley isn’t as loud or outspoken as some of the other top defensive backs in the country, but he let his play do the talking all day long. Thomas was also dominant during the lineman challenge, winning rep after rep as usual, showing improved technique to go along with his trademark strength.
Tigers wide receiver target Trey Palmer also put on quite a show, taking home the Gatorade award after being one of the most engaged players from start to finish. The class of 2019 is loaded in the state of Louisiana, and Tigers fans should be very happy about the potential of landing several elite players to go along with Stingley and Thomas.
The Tigers only had one commit in attendance, but that doesn’t mean that their fans shouldn’t be happy about the way the star of their class, quarterback Bo Nix, performed on the biggest stage. Nix took the reins of his team and helped it win the 7-on-7 championship, throwing accurate balls and forming a nice bond with his receivers. Nix is a true leader and earned the respect of his teammates and the other quarterbacks in attendance as he continues to excel at events this offseason.
The Tigers had some targets in attendance and Nix was doing his best to recruit, especially when it came to teammate Trey Sanders. He’s the perfect example of a cornerstone to a class, and his impact as a recruiter should continue to keep Auburn fans smiling in the months to come.
The most important FSU-related event was the commitment of Derrick McLendon, who committed to the Seminoles at the camp. A 6-foot-4, 225-pound prospect, McLendon is FSU’s 13th commit in the 2019 class, but the program’s solid showing didn’t end with him. Defensive back Brendan Gant, an FSU lean, walked away with defensive back MVP honors, but was narrowly edged in the end. The same fate befell offensive line commit Dontae Lucas, who finished second the in offensive line MVP discussion. Lucas put on a show during the camp’s one-on-one portion. Quarterback commit Sam Howell led his team to the 7-on-7 finals and made a number of impressive throws in the process.
Oklahoma commit Theo Wease was impressive in the morning session and showed continued flashes through the afternoon. The real star of the show for OU, however, was commit Trejan Bridges. Bridges took home the wide receiver MVP award after a well-rounded effort that saw him shine in both one-on-one work and during 7-on-7s. Both Wease and Bridges flashed versatility by playing both sides of the ball at times. Oklahoma fans are thrilled with Lincoln Riley’s current recruiting efforts, and they should be excited about the weekend the program had in Atlanta.