Rivals.com - Friedman's Takeaways: Rivals Media Day in Charlotte
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Friedman's Takeaways: Rivals Media Day in Charlotte

WEDDINGTON, N.C. -The Charlotte area played host to a Rivals Media Day event on Sunday, and there were many top prospects in attendance. The pandemic disrupted the recruiting process for prospects around the country, but many players in the Carolinas have had a harder time than others getting onto the radar of college coaches.

Check out these updates on some well-known and not-so-well-known talented prospects.

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COMMITTED PROSPECTS REPRESENTING THEIR SQUADS

The highest-ranked and most well-known prospect to come through the event was Rivals100 linebacker Jalon Walker. The Georgia commit from Salisbury, N.C., has the look of a current college player. At 6-foot-2, 225-pounds, Walker has very little body fat and a frame that can hold even more muscle mass.
He’s enjoying an outstanding senior season and plans to finish his high school career at the Under Armour All-American Game in early January. Walker has taken an active role recruiting for the Bulldogs. He was very outspoken about wanting Rivals100 tight end Oscar Delp to pick Georgia before he announced his commitment a few weeks ago. Now Walker has his sights set on defensive backs like Rivals100 safety Kamari Wilson and five-star cornerback Jaheim Singletary.

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Wake Forest commit Andre Hodge is excited about getting on campus in Winston Salem. The receiver from Catawba Ridge is happy to see the success Jaquarii Roberson is having this season and he’s hoping to continue that next season.

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North Carolina quarterback commit Tad Hudson is really happy about how this 2022 recruiting class is shaping up for the Tar Heels. A 2023 prospect, Hudson still has another year of development before he suits up for the in-state program. It looked like Hudson got about an inch taller since the last time we saw him and he appears to have trimmed the baby fat off his frame. His Cornelius (N.C.) Hough team is undefeated heading into the playoffs this weekend.

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MAJOR 2023 TARGETS TO KNOW

Of the uncommitted prospects in attendance, none have as many offers or as much interest as Rivals100 receiver Christian Hamilton. The Harrisburg (N.C.) Hickory Ridge star is hoping to cut his list down after this season. Texas A&M, North Carolina, Georgia, Louisville, Clemson, Virginia, Oregon, Ohio State, Maryland, Ole Miss, LSU, and Notre Dame are just a handful of teams to watch in his recruitment. Look for Hamilton to take a trip to Athens this coming weekend for their game.

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Grant Tucker has generated a lot of interest on the recruiting trail and his offer sheet is poised to grow significantly over the next few months. So far, the 2023 athlete out of Charlotte (N.C.) Charlotte Christian is really liking what he’s seen and heard from North Carolina and Penn State. He’s visited both schools already and they’ll be key contenders throughout the rest of his recruitment. Keep an eye on teams like Notre Dame, NC State, Ohio State and Virginia as well.

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Charlotte (N.C.) Chambers standout receiver Kevin Concepcion has double-digit offers - and more are on the way. NC State, Wake Forest, Vanderbilt and Coastal Carolina are keeping in regular contact right now. Expect Concepcion to see his stock rise when he performs in front of college coaches later this season and in the spring.

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Chris Peal has quietly put together a pretty impressive list of early offers. Standing at right around 6-foot-2, the Charlotte (N.C.) Providence Day defensive back said South Carolina, North Carolina and NC State have been talking to him a lot. Peal has already visited all three schools and Wake Forest. Recent offers from Michigan, Louisville and Oklahoma caught his eye, so expect Peal to take a closer look at these three schools in the not-too-distant future.

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Cornelius (N.C.) Hough running back JT Smith, Charlotte (N.C.) Providence offensive lineman Connor Drake, and Pfafftown (N.C.) Reagan offensive lineman Sam Pendleton were also in attendance on Sunday. Each of them are seeing increased interest from Power Five schools. Smith has a number of Power Five offers already, while Drake and Pendleton have a couple. Expect their offer sheets to quickly expand once they get in front of college coaches over the next six months.

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PROSPECTS ON THE RISE

Eliyt Nairne is a name to watch the next few months. The 2023 defensive lineman from Charlotte (N.C.) Olympic has a lot of potential and there are number of teams taking a close look at him. Don’t be surprised to see him pull in Power Five offers in bunches.

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Also on the defensive side of the ball, Daevin Hobbs has pulled in offers from Coastal Carolina, App State and a couple others. Teams like Tennessee, North Carolina, Wake Forest and Louisville are keeping tabs on the Concord (N.C.) Robinson 2023 standout. Most of those same schools are in communication with 2023 Charlotte (N.C.) Providence Day linebacker Liam Groulx. The youngest Groulx brother is very familiar with the recruiting process and is excited to build relationships with college coaches around the country.

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Athlete Kyron Jones has the skill set to play on either side of the ball. The Charlotte (N.C.) Charlotte Christian 2023 standout has added significant mass to his frame and looks primed for a strong finish to his junior campaign.

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Quarterback Connor Smith has the physical makeup of a college quarterback, and he is doing everything he can to make a name for himself on the recruiting trail. The 2022 signal caller made his way to Sunday’s Media Day from Fairfield, Conn., and is looking forward to taking some visits later this year.

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2024 PROSPECTS READY TO MAKE WAVES

There are some really impressive 2024 pass catchers in the greater Charlotte area, starting with Keenan Jackson out of Waxhaw (N.C.) Cuthbertson. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound wideout is actually young enough to be in the 2025 class but is a grade ahead of his age group because of his good grades.

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Charlotte (N.C.) Providence Day has a pair of talented 2024 receivers in Channing Goodwin and Jordan Shipp. Both are at least 6-foot-1 already and have complementary skill sets that should make them a tough combo at the high school level and impressive prospects in their own right.

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Charlotte (N.C.) Charlotte Catholic has two tight ends that will end up getting a lot of attention from college coaches. Jack Larsen already has a few offers and will be getting more as the process rolls on. Nick Segarra has impressive measurables and will catch the eye of any college coach he comes across.

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Defensively, keep an eye on Brody Barnhardt and Anthony Walker. Walker is a 2024 inside linebacker from Cornelius (N.C.) Hough and he already has the muscle definition of a senior. Barnhardt is a tough safety prospect with a good nose for the ball and a high football IQ. East Carolina and Vanderbilt have already offered him.

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FUTURE NATIONAL PROSPECTS

Get ready to hear these names a lot over the next few years. Georgia and Carolina Panthers fans are already familiar with his dad, but get ready for the rise of Thomas Davis Jr. The 2026 prospect has already eclipsed 6 feet, has broad shoulders to fill out and looks like he has fairly long arms. If he plays anything like his dad, Davis should be a great one.

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Also in the 2026 class, Dallas Brannon looks like he'll have the physical traits to end up a major Power Five prospect. Brannon, like Davis, is also the son of a former Bulldog. Georgia fans will remember tight end Robert Brannon from the early 2000s. His son could end up a tight end, but there is also a lot of potential for him to see significant time as a defensive end throughout his high school career.

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Lastly, the biggest of all three, David Sanders Jr. looks like a no-brainer Power Five prospect. The 2025 recruit out of Charlotte (N.C.) Providence Day already holds offers from Michigan and East Carolina and has the tools to be a bookend left tackle. Sanders is 6-foot-6, 245-pounds and brings plenty of agility and aggressiveness to the field. It will be a fun ride watching his recruitment unfold - and his development as a prospect - over the next few years.