Rivals Camp Series St. Louis: Prospects now on the radar
MORE FROM ST. LOUIS: Teams that should be pleased | Prospects that earned their stripes | The Helmholdt awards
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. - A lot of big-named prospects earned the MVP awards at the Rivals 3 Stripe Camp presented by adidas on Sunday and rightfully so because they turned in big performances. There were many under-the-radar prospects who also had a good showing at the camp and they are highlighted below:
Brown was quietly solid throughout the entire event, from the gauntlet drills that mirror what receivers go through at the NFL Combine to the one-on-ones where he torched numerous defensive backs. The Chicago (Ill.) St. Rita standout is also a 2022 prospect, which is impressive because he has a sturdy build, he’s surprisingly fast and shifty off the line of scrimmage and he has strong hands. One cornerback tried to press him into the sidelines and Brown slipped off it to catch a wide-open pass. All day long, Brown, who has an early offer only from Illinois, was one of the more reliable receivers at the event.
The class of 2022 quarterback nearly walked away with quarterback MVP honors after a very consistent showing from start to finish. Having just completed his freshman year of high school, he doesn't have any offers as of yet, but at 6-foot-3 and nearly 190 pounds and with a strong and accurate arm, it won't be long until programs catch wind of this young talent.
A versatile defensive prospect who could play either safety or outside linebacker at the next level, Fletcher impressed with his length and coverage skills at the event. He checked in at 6-foot-2.5 with a 6-foot-6 wingspan and moved well in the open field. Fletcher has a few early offers from FCS and Group of Five programs like Miami of Ohio, but with some good camp showings this summer, he could land at a Power Five program.
The showcase one-on-one session between the offensive and defensive lines saw five offensive linemen take the field who had separated themselves with their play to that point. Three of those guys were already well-known, but Grant and East St. Louis’ Javontez Spraggins are guys still awaiting their first FBS offers. Grant is not the biggest offensive lineman at 6-foot-1 and 272 pounds, but he dominated his reps, stymieing multi-Power Five offer defensive linemen on repetition after repetition. He overcomes his lack of size with exceptional technique, quick feet and plenty of strength and toughness.
Johnson landed his first Power Five scholarship earlier this month from the home-state Illinois Fighting Illini. That looks like a great investment for the future from Lovie Smith and Co. after Johnson almost took home position MVP honors Sunday were it not for an outstanding showing from current Illinois running back commit Reggie Love. Measuring 5-foot-11 and 191 pounds, Johnson is developing an excellent football frame, and he showed the explosiveness and ball skills you want in a young ball carrier. Johnson was also nominated for the Gatorade MVP award by his position coaches for his work ethic and sportsmanship,
For a long while, Lovett was seriously in the running for wide receiver MVP even though Jordan Johnson edged him out in the end. The 2021 prospect from Belleville (Ill.) Belleville West does not have any offers yet but Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan State and others have been showing new interest. It would not be a surprise if Lovett has double-digit offers by this time next season. He was a highlight-reel in cat-and-mouse drills, he showed off superior athleticism and bounce against some top-rate cornerbacks and he just kept making big plays. The Belleville West receiver has all the tools to be special.
The battle for Quarterback MVP honors was a back and forth affair. The position coaches and Rivals personnel discussed several prospects as being among the top contenders, including Missouri commit Brady Cook, Kentucky commit Beau Allen, sophomores like DC Tabscott and freshmen like Dontrell Jackson and Nick Brown. Throughout the day, though, Powlus was always right there and by the event’s end his consistently high level of play earned MVP honors. He has the size at 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds, he has the pedigree, and now Powlus should start to see the college interest grow.
Roussell might have the build of a receiver or a defensive back - long and lean - but he was outstanding at running back from the drill portion of camp and especially in one-on-ones. The unranked prospect from Omaha (Neb.) Burke still does not have any offers but that could easily change soon because he has tremendous athleticism, bounce and he can separate from anybody. He was wide open numerous times on deep passes and no one could really contain him. If he adds more thickness and keeps his speed, watch out.
Having just picked up his first Power Five offer, Rucker is just starting to emerge as a name to know in the 2021 class. On Sunday, he showed great strength and a good motor while working at defensive tackle against mostly more experienced offensive linemen. Rucker is the perfect fit at defensive tackle for several teams in the SEC, so his offer list should only continue to grow.
Smith did not win the defensive back MVP award because four-star Antonio Johnson was outstanding during one-on-ones and had a couple interceptions, but Smith was in the conversation. Time and again, the analysts checked their rosters for No. 221 because he kept making plays and looked great doing it. The Chicago (Ill) Simeon standout is already a three-star prospect with a Pitt offer and seven others, but Smith clearly proved he has high-end ability and it wouldn’t be a shock if Big Ten and other Power Five programs got much more involved with him soon.
The camp was at his high school and Spraggins wanted to make a statement. He did just that. The massive interior offensive lineman was physical, tough, relentless and he kept jumping in the line to get more reps. The East St. Louis prospect is currently unranked and he has no offers, but Spraggins definitely has a lot of skills and more than that he showed how hard he’s willing to work to make an impact. At 6-foot-3 and 300-plus pounds, Spraggins could trim up a little bit, but his toughness and determination really showed.
The East Tennessee native continues to make a name for himself this spring, turning in another quality performance at a marquee event. Vaulton delivers a catchable ball and despite some windy conditions, had no problem airing it out when needed. Vaulton lives a little bit off the beaten path, but he will have every opportunity to earn his first offer when he throws for programs on campuses this summer.