While the so-called skill players were busy with 7-on-7 play Sunday at the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge presented by Under Armour, the big uglies were busy with the Big Man Challenge.
The day was split between the man-to-man challenges of the one-on-one team tournament and then a series of timed events made up of the three-cone drill, the figure-eight drill, the sled push, the two-man tire flip and the offensive linemen kick-slide drill and defensive line rip/swim drill.
"It was fun. It was like the Pro Bowl games," defensive line MVP Da'Shawn Hand said.
"It was really cool. The weather was cool and everything and I had a lot of fun with the guys."
Fun and games aside, it was still a competition and it did not take long for the action to begin. Offensive lineman Mitch Hyatt and Hand kicked it off in one-on-one drills. Hyatt won the first rep for Team Yahoo! as he went on to a stellar day, which also saw him grab a win over five-star Lorenzo Carter during one-on-ones.
However the story of one-on-ones was Team Tumblr, which was led by a fiery Demetrius Knox and offensive line MVP Damien Mama. The standout four-star arrived ready to make a statement and over the course of the two days in Chicago, he did just that. Meanwhile Mama put on a workman-like performance, showing endurance, technique and natural ability.
Knox was the only offensive lineman to go through the one-on-ones undefeated, as he recorded wins over Thomas Holley (twice), Malik McDowell (twice) and Andrew Brown. Mama had only one one-on-one loss, which was very close and could have easily gone his way.
The standout duo led a Tumblr squad, which also included Alex Bars, Zach Okun, Kentavius Street, Derrick Nnadi, Qualen Cunningham and Jaylen Holmes, to the one-on-one championship.
Team Tumblr defeated a Team Flickr squad of Damian Prince, Drew Richmond, Davon Patterson and Casey Tucker, in the championship game by winning five of the eight individual matchups. Jaylen Holmes sealed the win on the last rep of the championship round over Richmond.
Team Yahoo! finished third in one-on-ones after winning the consolation round over Team Rivals. Yahoo's Solomon Thomas did go undefeated in one-on-ones with wins over Josh Casher (twice), Alex Bars (twice) and Damian Prince.
He was joined by McDowell, Terry Beckner Jr., Rasheem Green, Hyatt, Steven Moss, Javon Patterson and Sterling Jenkins.
Team Yahoo! was without Natrell Curtis who sat out because of an injury, but Zach Rogers, Sam Mustipher and Casher stepped up to take on multiple reps. The Yahoo defensive line consisted of Hand, Brown, Daylon Mack and Deondre Clark.
Following one-on-ones, the teams went into the timed events. They began with the three-cone drill, which tests the ability to change directions at top speed. Down McDowell and Green, Team Yahoo! was led by Beckner's 7.37 and 7.40 times and had an event high of six players below the 8.00 mark as they took first place. Team Rivals finished second with Tumblr third and Flickr bringing up the rear.
The fastest time of the event went to Qualen Cunningham of Tumblr, who recorded a 7.10, while Flickr's Lorenzo Carter recorded a 7.22 and Yahoo's Mitch Hyatt recorded a 7.44.
Next was the figure-eight drill during which the linemen try to hug the turns as much as possible and as quickly as possible around two rings. And again, Team Yahoo! took the crown as Solomon Thomas led the way with a 4.78 and a 4.90. Tumblr finished second, Flickr took third and Rivals was last.
Cunningham finished with a drill-best 4.69 and was joined by teammate Kentavius Street, who ran a 5.00. Flickr's Lorenzo Carter also posted a 4.85.
The sled push, which measures strength and acceleration, was next. It helped to have good technique and, while it was timed, athletes needed to maintain control and awareness of where they were.
For the first time in the timed events, Team Yahoo! was unseated as Flickr took first place with Casey Tucker leading the way with a 4.63 and a 4.66. Yahoo finished second, Tumblr took third and Rivals finished fourth.
Team Rivals' Hand finished with the top time at 4.37, Yahoo's Solomon Thomas posted a 4.47, and Tumblr's Damien Mama grabbed a 4.50.
In the tire flip, teams broke into two-man groups, with Team Yahoo's duo of Hyatt and Patterson posting an event best of 13.05. Tumblr's Street and Cunningham put up a 13.16 and the Flickr duo Holley and Carter charted a 13.91. However it was the consistency of Team Yahoo which took the overall win.
The challenge ended with the offensive linemen competing in a timed kick-step drill while the defensive linemen timed in a rip/swim bag drill.
Flickr's Carter and Tumblr's Street posted the top times of the D-line event with Hand and Cunningham also putting up strong numbers. For the offensive linemen, Flickr's Drew Richmond and Yahoo's Javon Patterson led the way.
The final tally put Team Flickr at the top, and combined with a strong performance in one-on-ones, it was Flickr which walked away with Big Man Challenge Championship.
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