football Edit

RCS Charlotte: What to watch

The Rivals Camp Series Presented by Under Armour rolls
into Charlotte on Sunday and, as usual, some top talent is expected to be on
display. With multiple Rivals100 players registered, there will be plenty of
candidates looking to punch their ticket to Baltimore for the
Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge as well as several under-the-radar
prospects looking to state their case for four-star status.
Gunning for the top spot
Five-star defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence impressed
at the Elite 50 Experience presented by Under Armour in January.
Five-star defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence is already ranked among the
nation's best, but he's hungry for the No. 1 overall spot in the Rivals100.
After performing well in camp settings in the past, Lawrence enters Sunday's
event facing lofty expectations. Will he be able to live up to the hype and
dominate like a five-star should? In recent weeks, players such as Marlon Davidson, Jacob Eason and Shea Patterson have all done well at events, so
Lawrence will need to show the combination of speed and power that he's shown in
the past to have a chance to pass any of those above him in the rankings.
With a talented pool of offensive linemen also set to attend, Lawrence will have
his hands full.
Will D-Rob dominate?
In the three years of the Rivals Camp Series, there
isn't a prospect who has attended more events than 2016 five-star athlete
Demetris Robertson. The Alabama commit has been to two Underclassmen
Challenges, the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge, and he will be making his third trip to a regional camp on Sunday in Charlotte.
After performing well every time, Robertson will be looking to defend the wide
receiver MVP title he took home at the Atlanta stop on last year's tour. As he
has grown and developed, Robertson is beginning to look more like a true wide
receiver and is close to shedding his "athlete" label. As the highest ranked
player in attendance, he will also have a target on his back; but if past
performance is any indication, he should put on a show.
Hardman's health
Rivals100 athlete Mecole Hardman is one of the most explosive playmakers in
the 2016 class, but a recent hamstring injury forced him to miss the Atlanta
stop of the Rivals Camp Series. Hardman's game is
predicated on using his speed, both as a wide receiver and a defensive back, so
if he isn't 100 percent healthy it could affect his ability to perform. He says
he's ready to go and eager to challenge a different group of talent on the big
stage, and if his pre-camp swagger is any indication of performance, it should
be a big day for Hardman.
Quarterback battle
Rivals100 quarterback Austin Kendall committed to
Oklahoma on Tuesday.
Recent Oklahoma commit and Rivals100 quarterback Austin Kendall comes into
the camp looking to repeat as quarterback MVP. His showing last year helped
boost his recruitment as well as earn an invitation to Baltimore for the
Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge. With his recruitment
finally settled, Kendall is coming out to compete and prove he belongs in the
discussion with the nation's top quarterbacks.
Joining him in Charlotte is
three-star Northwestern commit Deuce Wallace, who took home MVP honors from
the Rivals Camp Series in New Orleans in 2014. With no
stop in NOLA this year, Wallace is traveling east in hopes of earning another
MVP honor.
The winner of the Rivals Quarterback Challenge in
Atlanta, 2017 prospect Chase Brice, is also making the trip north having picked
up an offer and serious interest from several programs over the past few weeks.
Another strong showing could only help him going forward.
Which 2017 receiver will shine?
While Robertson and Hardman figure to be the headliners of the 2016 wide
receiver group, there is a strong group of talent in 2017 waiting to show what
they can do.
The group is highlighted by Oak Ridge (Tenn.) wide receiver Tee Higgins, a member of the Rivals100 watch list. Higgins' highlight tape is among
the best in his class, and even though he's never been to a major camp event, he
enters with high expectations.
Joining Higgins as a potential breakout star is South Carolina star OrTre Smith. The talented Smith's recruitment has been picking
up steam over the past few months, and he's shaping up to be one of the state's
top prospects in the class of 2017.
Representing the Atlanta area in the battle will
be Powder Springs (Ga.) McEachern wideout Tyler Smith. The speedster broke out
during the 2014 season and already has offers from several SEC programs. After
missing the Atlanta stop with an injury, he will be eager to prove that he
belongs in the elite conversation with Higgins and Smith.
North Carolina also
boasts no shortage of 2017 talent at the position, with Ryan Jones and
J.T. Cauthen among the most notable expected to attend.