football Edit

Five-Star Challenge: Reviewing the defensive linemen

Maason Smith
Maason Smith (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

The Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge would have been held this week but, like countless events across the country, was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

There were a total of 33 prospects who were selected for the Five-Star Challenge before the Rivals Camp Series was halted in March.

This week, we will break down the Five-Star Challenge selections by position and look at other prospects who may have earned the coveted invitation. Today, we continue with the defensive linemen.

*****

RIVALS100 FIVE-STAR CHALLENGE SPOTLIGHT: QB | RB | WR/TE | OL

CLASS OF 2021 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

CLASS OF 2022: Top 100

MORE: Rivals Transfer Tracker | Rivals Camp Series

*****

EARNED AN INVITE 

RCS Miami: “The MVP of the Miami camp stop, Stewart dominated a host of older FBS-bound prospects and showed why he’s been so highly regarded for so long. The class-of- 2022 standout’s quickness and length give him five-star upside, even if he isn’t the most polished prospect just yet.” — Rob Cassidy, Rivals.com Southeast Recruiting Analyst

Farrell’s take: Stewart is a superior athlete for his position as a younger player with great quickness off the edge and long arms. He would have been a handful for any lineman.

*****

RCS Miami: “A bet on Sapp is a bet on upside. His hands need to become quicker and more violent, but the Florida commit has the size and quickness necessary to make a massive impact on the SEC. He was clearly head and shoulders above most other defensive linemen at the Miami camp. His raw upper-body strength is unmistakable.” — Cassidy

Farrell’s take: I’m the biggest Sapp fan on the staff as I think with some refinement, he can be special. He’s not super long but he’s very powerful and still learning technique.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH FLORIDA FANS AT GATORSTERRITORY.COM

*****

RCS Orlando: “Adeleye arrived at the Orlando camp on a mission and executed it to perfection. The five-star Ohio State commit is devastatingly explosive off the ball. He didn’t come close to losing a rep at the event. Adeleye’s combination of power and quickness is hard to match. He walked away with MVP honors in Orlando, as he made things look easy from the jump.” — Cassidy

Farrell’s take: Adeleye is one of my favorite players in this class because of his off-the-charts athleticism and superior closing speed. He could be a Chase Young type.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH OHIO STATE FANS AT BUCKEYEGROVE.COM

*****

RCS Orlando: “He’s not the most consistent player on this list, but when Langston is on his game, he’s great. And while he might not have been at his best in Orlando, his performance still proved he was one of the best defensive linemen at the event. A Florida lean, Langston is elite from a strength standpoint.” — Cassidy

Farrell’s take: Langston is solid in most aspects of the game, and when his motor is high, he’s unstoppable.

*****

RCS New Orleans: “Smith was absolutely brilliant at RCS New Orleans in March, showing that big men can also be athletic pass-rushers when they line up inside at tackle. Smith showed an array of different pass-rush moves and bullied a few interior linemen. We were expecting Smith's dominance to continue at the Five-Star Challenge.” — Sam Spiegelman, Rivals.com Mid South Recruiting Analyst.

Farrell’s take: Smith is elite at not only crushing the pocket but chasing the quarterback, and at his size that is very rare.

*****

OTHERS THAT COULD HAVE EARNED INVITES 

“Page is a monster defensive tackle that doesn't always show well in camps, but in games he's a dominant force. He's been working really hard on improving his physical attributes. The camp circuit would have given him a chance to show how far he's developed and why he's still considered one of the nation's best.” — Adam Friedman, Rivals.com East Coast Recruiting Analyst.

*****

“A versatile defender who is relentless in his pursuit of the quarterback, Payne gives opposing offensive linemen fits because he brings both strength and the explosiveness to the defensive tackle position.” — Josh Helmholdt, Rivals.com Midwest Recruiting Analyst

*****

“Malone is one of the most unique prospects in this class and odds are good that he would have earned an invite to compete at the Five-Star Challenge had he chosen to compete at the regional camp. The athleticism he brings to the table poses major matchup problems. He's much stronger and more advanced technically than most expect for a dual-sport athlete.” — Friedman

*****

“There has been some chatter about Hunter possibly being ranked a little high, so we really wanted to see how he moved, if he could rush the passer some in one-on-ones or if the Auburn commit is more of a plugger that has limited upside.” — Chad Simmons, Rivals.com Southeast Recruiting Analyst

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH AUBURN FANS AT AUSPORTS.COM

*****

“There are few prospects in the Midwest I was more excited to see this off-season than Hall. His production and versatility are unquestioned, but I am curious how just high his ceiling goes and that would have been answered at an event like the Five-Star Challenge.” — Helmholdt

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH OHIO STATE FANS AT BUCKEYEGROVE.COM

*****

“Goodwine is one of the most coveted edge prospects in the nation, and with good reason. He's got the size and strength to put his hand on the ground and match up well with offensive tackles, but he also has the speed and athleticism to drop into coverage and play in space. The camp series would have given him a great opportunity to show off his pass-rushing abilities and coverage skills in one-on-ones and potentially earn an invitation to the Five-Star Challenge.” — Friedman

*****

“Alexander, affectionately nicknamed "Big Bear," developed a reputation after last year's RCS stop in Dallas, where he bulldozed the competition. The No. 1-ranked defensive tackle in Texas for the 2022 class, Alexander missed the majority of last season after transferring high schools. We were anxious to see if any offensive linemen were able to slow down the explosive, overpowering defensive tackle.” — Spiegelman

*****

“The recent Wisconsin commitment is a prototypical defensive end in most defenses, but the Badgers plan to use him as a hybrid outside linebacker. That highlights just how athletic and versatile Bollers is for a defender.” — Helmholdt

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH WISCONSIN FANS AT BADGERBLITZ.COM

*****

“Sawyer is coming off a torn ACL suffered at the end of his junior season, so he may not have been ready even if there was a Five-Star Challenge this year. Had he been able to compete, the five-star’s size and athleticism would have been difficult for offensive linemen to handle.” — Helmholdt

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH OHIO STATE FANS AT BUCKEYEGROVE.COM

*****

“Brooks is a very intriguing rush end with length and athleticism that has added some weight to his frame. Has the Tennessee commit taken the game to the next level? One area we wanted to see was his strength and how he got off blocks in this type of setting.” — Simmons

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH TENNESSEE FANS AT VOLQUEST.COM

*****

“Shaw is one of the most exciting underclassmen in the nation. He's a massive defensive tackle with elite athleticism. He is one of those prospects that is almost guaranteed to be a star at the college level. At the camp series, he could have shown off that outstanding potential and possibly earned an invitation to the Five-Star Challenge.” — Friedman

*****

“West was an easy five-star selection in the 2022 class and he was one we really wanted to see live. He is a grown man on tape, so really just wanted to see if he played at that level in person. He is a do-it-all type of defensive lineman.” — Simmons