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Helmholdt's Takeaways: Out-of-town prospects shine in Chicago

CLASS OF 2019 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position | Team

Kyren Williams
Kyren Williams

GLEN ELLYN, Ill. – The Windy City was cold and rainy for Sunday’s Rivals 3 Stripe Camp presented by adidas, but that’s perfect football weather for players in the Midwest, especially offensive linemen and this camp had a strong collection of players in the trenches.

RELATED: Updates from Chicago | Full Rivals Camps Series schedule


At day’s end, the offensive line group was the deepest and most impressive. Lead by eventual MVP Anthony Bradford of Muskegon, Mich., there was a good mix of tackles and interior linemen. While Bradford was the highest ranked of the group, he had to put up a near flawless performance to win MVP honors. Three stars J.J. Guedet, Jack Buford and Marquise Simmons were among those pushing Bradford with strong performances, but lesser-known Illinois prospects like Dave Monnot and Paul Fay as well a class of 2020 prospect in St. Louis offensive tackle Jalen St. John also had outstanding showings.


While Lutheran North offensive tackle Jack Buford just missed out on MVP honors at his position, fellow St. Louis native Kyren Williams scored an MVP award at the running back position. Williams is ranked as a wide receiver and is being recruited for a variety of roles in different offenses at the college level, but worked out as a running back and put his receiver skills to use winning the MVP award. Williams’ teammate at St. John Vianney, Nathan Thurman, won the Gatorade Award after working out at both defensive end and linebacker, and performing well at both positions. Other St. Louis prospects who performed well included three-star defensive back Derrick Miller as well as offensive linemen Marquise Simmons and Jalen St. John.


Even though a prospect has already made his commitment, events like the Rivals 3 Stripe Camp give them an opportunity to hone their craft against other FBS prospects. Several committed prospects answered that call on Sunday, headlined by Rivals250 offensive tackle Anthony Bradford, who made his commitment to LSU just 11 days prior. Bradford dominated the one-on-one portion of Sunday’s camp and gave LSU fans an intriguing glimpse into the future. The Iowa Hawkeyes had two committed prospects in attendance, including receiver MVP and tight end commit Logan Lee, as did the Nebraska Cornhuskers who were represented by in-state commits Garrett Nelson and Garrett Snodgrass. Michigan State commit Julian Barnett, meanwhile, joined Bradford as the two Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge presented by adidas invitees from the event and Notre Dame defensive tackle commit Jacob Lacey was among the top performers on the defensive line.


While Power Five commits were among the day’s top performers, there was a surprise mid-major that was represented by several commits performing well on Sunday. The Mid-American Conference’s Miami Redhawks had four commits from their 2019 class who had stand out performances in Chicago, lead by Chicago Simeon’s Alante Brown, who took home Quarterback MVP honors by throwing a football that consistently pierced the windy conditions. Brown, however, nearly was joined in the MVP picture by one of his future defensive back teammates. Olympia Fields (Ill.) Rich Central’s Mehki Miller and three-star cornerback commit Devin Blakley were both in the conversation for Defensive Back MVP honors, with Miller having a particularly impressive showing. Finally, offensive lineman Spencer Holstege out of Grand Rapids (Mich.) South Christian showed both strength and technique during his showing in Chicago. Programs like Western Michigan and Toledo have been recruiting well out of the MAC in recent years, but watch out for Miami in this 2019 class because this is a talented group.


The majority of prospects from southeast Michigan and the Metro Detroit area attended the Columbus, Ohio stop of the Rivals 3 Stripe Camp, but a handful of players from the area instead decided to work out in Chicago this weekend. The headliner coming into the event was Belleville, Mich., Rivals100 prospect Julian Barnett, who is committed to Michigan State. Barnett had a strong showing that earned him an invitation to the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge, but he was just edged our for position MVP honors by his sophomore teammate at Belleville, Andre Seldon. Although on the smaller side for cornerback, Seldon plays a physical brand of football and was able to intercept several passes on the day en route to earning top player at his position honors. West Bloomfield, Mich., 2020 linebacker Cornell Wheeler nearly brought home his own hardware, but was just edged out by Nebraska-based linebacker Caden McCormack for those position MVP honors. Although they were a small portion of the total number of players there, the Detroit-area prospects made a big impression.