Prospects that earned their stripes at Rivals 3 Stripe Camp in St. Louis
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EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. - The Rivals 3 Stripe Camp presented by adidas rolled into the St. Louis area for the final regional camp of the season and some of the best players in the Midwest showed up and competed. With so much talent on hand, there were plenty of impressive performances, but only a select few can win position MVPs or earn a much-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.
Notre Dame fans know the name well - and many other national programs should get highly interested soon. Powlus won the quarterback MVP at Sunday’s camp and even though there were other skilled quarterbacks there, the 2021 standout from Mishawaka (Ind.) Penn stood out because of his size, accuracy and consistency throughout the entire event. The son of the former Irish quarterback by the same name has offers from Bowling Green and Central Michigan so far but it would be easy to see Power Five schools get involved soon.
RUNNING BACK MVP
The running back group had a lot of talented players but Love separated himself early and really couldn’t be caught throughout the camp. The four-star Illinois commit was super smooth during all the drill work, he’s physical and tough but also has light, quick feet to make moves around linebackers. He was impressive throughout the camp and has a college-ready build so he should go to Champaign ready to compete for playing time.
WIDE RECEIVER MVP
Johnson is ranked No. 59 nationally and No. 13 at the wide receiver position but the Notre Dame commit has proven all spring - and again at the Rivals Camp - that he could be in the conversation for a move up in the rankings. He’s that good and that special. Johnson looked good through the gauntlet drills, he’s incredibly smooth and dynamic and he showed great concentration making some tough catches. The four-star also said he’s 100 percent locked in with the Irish and is not looking at any other schools so coach Brian Kelly is getting an elite weapon all over the field.
OFFENSIVE LINE MVP
What stood out most about St. John is his massive size at 6-foot-4 and easily 300 pounds but also what was impressive was how well he moved his feet and his devastating punch to get defensive linemen off their path. His legs are like tree trunks and he’s immovable at guard where he dominated throughout the camp. For someone so big, St. John moves really well, he’s agile, he keeps his feet moving and no defensive lineman had any success against him all day. Illinois, a host of other Big Ten teams and many other top programs are involved.
DEFENSIVE LINE MVP
The 6-foot-4 defensive end was very impressive from start to finish and stood out even more as one of the few defensive linemen to have consistent success against a loaded offensive line group. Moore is quick coming off the edge and is pretty strong and that combination is able to help him negate any advantage a bigger, longer offensive lineman might have against him. A St. Louis native, Moore looked very comfortable in his hometown and likely helped his stock with his showing. Nebraska and Missouri are among the programs involved in his recruitment.
The three-star Nashville native made the trip west to compete on Sunday and as it turned out, it was well worth the journey. Curtis impressed from start to finish, showing great footwork during drills, carrying that into excellent instincts and quickness during open-field tackling and then also impressing his coverage skills during one-on-ones. Curtis is still hoping for a few more offers before he starts to think about a decision, and if he can perform in front of programs like he did on Sunday that shouldn’t be an issues. Right now, programs such as Louisville and Vanderbilt are near the top of his list.
DEFENSIVE BACK MVP
Already ranked as one of the nation’s top defensive backs, Johnson came into the event with high expectations and by the time the day was over he lived up to them. A lean, rangy defender, Johnson took a workman like approach during the first half of the camp. As the day went along he continued to ratchet up his performance, saving some of his best one-on-one reps for the showcase portion of the event. With great size and elite length, Johnson is exactly what defensive backs coaches around the country are looking for. Missouri, Texas A&M, Iowa and several others are in the mix for Johnson, who also earned an invitation to the Five-Star Challenge for his performance.
GATORADE AWARD WINNER
This week’s Gatorade Award carried a special meaning as it was dedicated to Jaylon McKenzie, the East St. Louis native that was tragically shot and killed earlier this month. McKenzie had already registered and planning on competing in the event and his absence was felt among those in attendance. Warren, who has cleared his share of off-field obstacles, turned in an impressive performance and showed the type of effort and sportsmanship that the award is meant to represent.
ADDITIONAL FIVE-STAR INVITES
Cooper showed off the skills we’re used to seeing from him - he’s a dynamite, speedy slot receiver who is a complete mismatch for linebackers and defensive backs have a hard time controlling him as well. Cooper can catch short passes and make people miss and he has the speed to break open deep. Sometimes comparisons like these get tired but he’s very much like Rondale Moore or a more physical Wandale Robinson. Illinois, USC, Texas and Ohio State seem to be the most involved. He was previously committed to the Longhorns.