MORE: Team rankings
With the high school season about to begin, Rivals.com's Josh Helmholdt takes a look at the six players to keep an eye on in the Midwest as the fall season kicks off.
1. DE Josh Augusta, Peoria (Ill.), 6-foot-5, 275 pounds:
2. DB Cameron BurrowsClick Playing in Central Illinois, there have been limited opportunities for Augusta to be seen. Few offseason camps take place in that region, but even when they did, the three-sport star was knee-deep in either basketball or track. On film, Augusta shows an outstanding array of tools and is only beginning to tap into his potential on the football field because his offseason schedule leaves little time for football training. In Week 4 of the high school season, Augusta's Peoria team takes on Rivals250 offensive tackle Logan Tuley-Tillman and Peoria Manual in a game that will be worth the trip.Here to view this Link., Trotwood (Ohio) Madison, 6-foot, 203 pounds:
Trotwood-Madison boasts a loaded roster and it advanced to the state title game in 2011. We were able to see Burrows twice that season, and he was sensational. His play as a junior earned him an early five-star nod, but this offseason, Burrows has not played up to that level. The fluidity with which he was able to play the cornerback position at 6-foot and 200-plus pounds was a big reason we felt comfortable tabbing him an early five-star last winter, but he has looked stiffer in camps this offseason. We will see if the old Burrows returns when his team takes on Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) University School in Week 1.
3. DE Malik McDowell, Detroit Loyola, 6-foot-6, 290 pounds (2014): It has been a tremendous offseason for the big underclassmen out of Detroit, who went from obscurity to a national name in the span of six months. McDowell is the player to beat out of the Midwest for top honors in the 2014 class after his showing at several camps, including the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge. We are definitely interested to see how he performs when the lights turn on, though. As a sophomore he lined up almost exclusively at offensive tackle, and he is expected to play there again as a junior. He dominated from the defensive end position this offseason, though. Both positions are possible in college.
4. OT Jake Campos, West Des Moines (Iowa) Valley, 6-foot-7, 250 pounds:
Like Augusta, Campos had a long way to travel if he wanted to take part in one of the top national or regional offseason camps. So, we have only seen the Rivals250 prospect on film, but we will get a chance to see him live on Sept. 21 when his team takes on Indianola. On film, Campos shows outstanding technique, footwork and plays with great intensity. He was less than 250 pounds as a junior, but looks to have the frame to fill out in the 300-pound range. We'll be looking forward to seeing how much Campos has filled out when we see him next month, and further evaluate where he is at in his development.
5. DB Dymonte Thomas, Alliance (Ohio) Marlington, 6-foot-1, 175 pounds:
As a junior, Thomas teamed with Alden Hill, who signed with Tennessee in February, to form a potent backfield duo for Marlington. Thomas is expected to play both ways again as a senior. Thomas is one of the fastest players in the Midwest's 2013 class, and he has very good size for the running back or safety position. As a junior, though, Thomas played close to the line of scrimmage on defense and we did not get a good feel for his coverage skills. Thomas and his Alliance Marlington team play a Thursday night game Week 1, which may give us a chance to see him early in the season and get a better feel for that element of his game.
6. WR Travon Hudson, Cincinnati (Ohio) Colerain, 6-foot-3, 200 pounds (2014):
It has been a tumultuous offseason for Hudson following a breakout sophomore campaign last fall. Hudson was very productive from the wide receiver position early in his sophomore season, and then filled in admirably at running back when Colerain suffered injuries at the quarterback position. After the season, though, he had to transfer out of Colerain and essentially dropped off the radar and has not been involved in the recruiting game. Hudson has the physical tools to be ranked among the top few prospects in the state of Ohio for 2014, but we'll be interested to see where he is when he steps on the field Week 1.
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