RCS Cleveland: What to watch
The Rivals Camp Series Presented by Under Armour heads north for the first Midwest stop, getting things underway Sunday in Cleveland. Prospects will be coming from as far away as New York, Iowa and Canada, to take on the top players in the regional states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Ohio. There are plenty of storylines to watch when the camp kicks off. Here are five that stand out.
1. Defending multiple titles
Five-star Ann Arbor (Mich.) Skyline linebacker Daelin Hayes and four-star Pittsburgh (Pa.) Woodland Hills running back Miles Sanders are the only two prospects across the country who came into the 2015 Rivals Camp Series Presented by Under Armour after having won two MVP awards in the 2014 Rivals Camp Series, and both will be looking to defend their crowns at Sunday's Rivals Camp in Cleveland.
The 6-foot-4, 240-pound Hayes, a USC commit, won the Linebacker MVP award at the RCS Detroit last April, then took home that same position award at the Rivals250 Underclassmen Challenge in Jacksonville last July. Sanders, who measures 5-foot-11, 192 pounds and is committed to Penn State, earned the Running Back MVP award at RCS Columbus in April, then went down to the Underclassmen Challenge and added a second MVP award in Jacksonville.
2. Young receivers will challenge older talent
As the No. 66 prospect in the 2016 class, Detroit (Mich.) King's Donnie Corley will have a target on his back for wide receivers looking to earn the position MVP award. Corley has carried the momentum of a 47-catch, 1,087-yard junior season into his early off-season workouts, but he will face stiff competition from a very deep wide receiver group.
Corley's toughest competition could come from the a very impressive group of 2017 prospects, led by Rivals100 To Watch members Donovan Peoples-Jones of Detroit Cass Tech and Javonte Richardson of Maple Heights, Ohio. The 6-foot-1, 182-pound Peoples-Jones is a veteran of the camp scene even though he is just a sophomore. For the 6-4, 205-pound Richardson, though, this will be the first big camp he will get to showcase the tremendous talent he displayed in a break-out sophomore campaign when he excelled at multiple positions last fall.
Besides Peoples-Jones and Richardson, the 2017 receivers who will be on-hand include Orchard Lake (Mich.) St. Mary's Kahlee Hamler and Fremont (Ohio) Ross' Russ Yeast, both of whom hold multiple Power Five offers, as well as Ann Arbor (Mich.) Skyline's Hunter Rison and Cleveland Heights' Jaylen Harris, who have each recently pulled in their first Power Five offers.
Not to be discounted, the collection of 2016 wide receivers besides Corley consists of Louisville commit Desmond Fitzpatrick and Kentucky commit Dakota Holtzclaw as well as three-stars Ruben Flowers, Seth Dawkins, Jalen Martin, Trishton Jackson, Aidan Howard, Jonah Morris, Jordan Overton and Armani Posey, all candidates for the MVP award.
3. Four-stars headline deep DB group
Whoever wins the wide receiver MVP award will not only be tested by depth of talent within their own group, but they will have to face a gauntlet in the one-on-one session of the camp. Pittsburgh (Pa.) Central Catholic four-star safety Damar Hamlin, Penn State four-star cornerback commit Lavert Hill along with Rivals100 To Watch 2017 defensive backs Lamont Wade and Paris Ford headline arguably the deepest position group in Cleveland on Sunday.
In addition to the four-stars, there will be at least a dozen three-star defensive back prospects from the 2016 class, including Pittsburgh commit Tony Butler and Kentucky commit Tobias Gilliam, along with a pair of underclassmen from Detroit in cornerback Ambry Thomas and safety Jaylen Kelly-Powell, who already boast impressive offer lists.
If there is a surprise who wins the MVP award from outside the rated prospects, a couple candidates are Pittsburgh (Pa.) Brashear's Therran Coleman and Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech 2017 Donovan Johnson. Coleman's stock has risen recently with offers from Pittsburgh, West Virginia and Wisconsin. The 5-10, 175-pound Johnson has been lights out on the early off-season 7-on-7 circuit and hails from the DB factory that is Cass Technical School.
4. Wildcats well-represented
Two dozen of the prospects expected to participate in Sunday's event have already made their college commitments. With much of the talent coming from Pennsylvania and the Midwest, obvious programs such as Ohio State and Pittsburgh will have multiple commitments in attendance. The team with the most prospects attending, however, may be somewhat of a surprise: the Kentucky Wildcats.
Kentucky has been a constant fixture recruiting the state of Ohio under head coach Mark Stoops and lead recruiter Vince Marrow. The Wildcats are off to another great start in the state for 2016, and have at least eight prospects that will work out on Sunday. All eight hail from the state of Ohio: defensive end Jaylin Bannerman, cornerback Tobias Gilliam, wide receiver Dakota Holtzclaw, defensive tackle Kordell Looney, tight end Justin Rigg, athlete Asim Rose, running back Benny Snell and linebacker Roland Walder.
5. Underclassmen line battles
The highlight of almost every camp is the one-on-one battles between the offensive and defensive lines. Bringing extra intrigue to Sunday's camp is the matchup of up-and-coming 2017 prospects squaring off on either side of the football.
Among the more well-known class of 2017 prospects are Pittsburgh-area four-star offensive linemen Robert Hainsey and CJ Thorpe along with four-star Beaver Falls, Pa., defensive end Donovan Jeter. There are several more currently unrated prospects from that class, however, that are rising quickly and building healthy offer lists.
On the offensive line, massive 6-6, 315-pound Thayer Munford from Cincinnati (Ohio) LaSalle will be joined by Cincinnati (Ohio) St. Xavier's Matt Bockhorst (6-4, 295) and Oak Park, Mich., tackle Ja'Raymond Hall. Each holds multiple FBS offers already. The defensive line goes just as deep with 2017 prospects and features multiple-offer guys such as Toledo (Ohio) Central Catholic end James Hudson (6-5, 250), St. Joseph, Mich., end Corey Malone-Hatcher (6-3, 235), Walled Lake (Mich.) Western tackle Bryce Brand (6-1, 260) and Cincinnati (Ohio) Winton Woods tackle Jerron Cage (6-1, 254).
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