Prospects that earned their stripes at Rivals 3 Stripe Camp in Houston
HOUSTON - The 2018 Rivals 3 Stripe Camp Series presented by adidas rolled into the Lone Star State on Sunday, with around 200 of the best college football prospects in the Houston area turning out to compete. With so much talent on hand, there were plenty impressive performances, but only a select few won position MVP awards or earned a coveted invite to the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge presented by adidas. We run through the players who won awards and earned their stripes at Sunday’s event.
Zeno stood out among a deep group of quarterbacks thanks to his consistency from start to finish. He showed good arm strength and it seemed like every throw that came off his hand was a tight spiral. Often times in the camp setting it can be tough for quarterbacks to anticipate openings and lead the receivers into space, but that wasn’t an issue for Zeno as he quickly became a favorite of wide receivers in attendance. Zeno has several offers and said Georgia and Florida are among the schools he hopes to visit soon.
RUNNING BACK MVP
Manuel has been collecting MVP trophies on the camp circuit this offseason and Sunday was just the latest camp in which he shined. Manuel is a smaller back with great speed and his ability to cut without losing speed makes him a nightmare matchup in space. When it came time for one-on-ones, whether it was the open field tackling drill or pass coverage, defenders could barely get a hand on him let alone with a drill. Manuel turned heads at last year’s Rivals Camp in New Orleans but is still waiting on his first scholarship offer.
WIDE RECEIVER/TIGHT END MVP
In a crowded group of top receivers, Wilson provided the most fireworks. Whether he was making a defender miss on a juke mid-route, springing back to a pass thrown behind him for a tough catch, or just plain out-jumping a defensive back for a ball in the back of the end zone, nobody was able to make such tough catches at such a high frequency. Wilson has been a name on the minds of many programs since last spring as a natural and exciting talent, but he’s showing more and more his growth as a player and truly elite pass-catchers.
OFFENSIVE LINE MVP
Robinson earned his invitation to Sunday’s camp with a strong showing at Saturday’s combine event and he didn’t waste his opportunity to make a name for himself. He worked at both guard and center and was dominant for most of the day, while letting his opponents know every time he won a rep. Robinson has a good solid base and is pretty strong, allowing him to get leverage on opposing interior linemen. Robinson has a few Division II offers but has the look and ability of an FBS caliber player.
DEFENSIVE LINE MVP
The Texas A&M commit entered the weekend just behind Allen’s Jayden Jernigan for top defensive tackle in the state, but made a legitimate claim at taking top honors with his performance on Sunday. In the first set of one-on-one reps against offensive linemen, he was matched up against younger opponents, but his suddenness off the snap and ability to quickly disengage from their hands was at a level that would have given the best offensive lineman fits.
Zimos spent the first few seasons of his high school career as a safety, and those coverage techniques carried over to a successful outing during the camp. Zimos was certainly the longest linebacker at the event, and with a background in defending passes, showed the sort of instincts against running backs and receivers not commonly seen in a camp setting. Going forward, he’ll have college coaches excited at the option to add mass and muscle to his frame or leave him be and take advantage of his ability to eat up space as a more rangy hybrid defender.
DEFENSIVE BACK MVP
Wisdom came to the camp as an athlete – built like a running back, but there to play safety – both of which he does for Converse-Judson on the high school level. Despite being one of the more stout secondary prospects, he was able to confound receivers with his ability to cover downfield, close and intercept passes, and jam them out of the play when the opportunity presented itself. Wisdom’s versatility and toughness make him a valuable playmaker on either side of the ball.
GATORADE AWARD WINNER
On a day where many quarterbacks showed well for themselves, Daniel showed poise and zip when slinging passes out to the sidelines. After coming out to the adizero combine on Saturday, Daniel won the Gatorade Award after proving that he was capable of hitting back-shoulder throws and squeezing passes into tight spaces around defenders’ outstretched arms. Daniel is a scrappy player for his Kinkaid high school team, but hung in there in a setting where precision was key.
ADDITIONAL FIVE-STAR INVITES
Gunnell went toe-to-toe with Zeno all day during quarterback drills and made quite a case for MVP honors himself. The 6-foot-6 prospect checks all the boxes in terms of physical attributes and he got better as the day went along from a throwing perspective. Gunnell has offers from all over the country, with schools like LSU, Oregon, Arkansas, Oklahoma State, Ohio State and others heavily involved. Gunnell was awarded an invitation to the Five-Star Challenge for the second consecutive year for his efforts.
One of the nation’s top players regardless of position, Green came into Sunday’s event with a target on his back and after a few slip ups early, make quick work of most of his opponents. Green’s wingspan measured in at an impressive 84 inches – or seven feet – and once he got his long arms on opponents it was tough for them to disengage. Green was invited to last year’s Five-Star Challenge but couldn’t attend due to a conflict but he will have a chance to make up for lost time after earning an invitation again on Sunday. LSU, Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma and several others are in the mix for Green’s services.
When it came to bringing energy on Sunday, Stripling was the king of the enthusiasm committee, helping firing up both the defensive and offensive linemen. He started the day by taking two reps from Green and his celebration set the tone for the rest of the day. Green would later get his revenge but it didn’t phase Stripling, who continues to get bigger and stronger every time we see him. For his efforts, he was rewarded with an invite to the Five-star Challenge. Schools like Oklahoma, LSU, Alabama and Texas A&M are just a few of the many involved in Stripling’s recruitment.
The nation’s top cornerback more than lived up to his billing on Sunday, measuring in at an impressive 6-foot-1, 186 pounds and locking down wide receivers all day. Stingley loves to compete and carries himself with the confidence of a lockdown corner, winning rep after rep while recording several interceptions and pass deflections. After earning an invitation last year for his performance at the Rivals Camp in New Orleans, Stingley is headed back to this year’s event after his impressive showing. LSU, Stanford, Texas, Alabama and several others are in the mix for Stingley.
A versatile athlete who can play both safety and wide receiver, Lee impressed while working at wideout on Sunday. Lee checked in at 6-foot-1, 205 pounds and his physicality makes him a tough matchup for opposing defensive backs. Lee is still recovering from a minor injury suffered earlier this offseason but he powered through and did enough to earn an invitation to the Five-Star Challenge for the second consecutive year. LSU, Alabama and several others are in the mix to land his commitment.
Listed in the Rivals.com database as an athlete, Palmer lived up to his billing, impressing with this athleticism while working at wide receiver. He consistently got open and even when he was victimized by poor throws from his quarterback he found a way to go up and make a big play. Palmer’s ability to go up and make plays on the ball is one of the reasons why he’s a special talent and he showed that several times on Sunday. Palmer earned his invitation to the Five-Star Challenge on Sunday, making him a two-time invitee as well. LSU, Alabama and several others are in the mix for his commitment.
Curry has long been one of the closest-watched prospects in the state since picking up his first offer from Auburn as a freshman. He’s always been a physically impressive prospect, but has consistently been as effective of a downfield threat as a player that can shrug off a defender and make a tough catch on a hitch or comeback. Curry’s not afraid to climb the ladder to battle for a jump-ball and had to do that a few times to secure his place in this year’s Five-Star Challenge. He’ll bring an element of ruggedness to the receiver group in this year’s event and has always impressed as a participant in multiple Rivals Camp Series events.