football Edit

Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge: Biggest surprises

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Noah Sewell

ATLANTA — Just over 100 of the top football prospects in the country competed in the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge presented by adidas and yes, a lot of players played up to expectations. But there were also some surprises. Who created a buzz inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium?

MORE #RIVALSCHALLENGE: The Farrell Awards | Mind of Mike after early sessions | MVPs | Teams that should be pleased | Coverage from throughout the day

CLASS OF 2020 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

CLASS OF 2021 RANKINGS: Rivals100 | Position | Team | State

SNEAKY SPEED  

Out of the gates, North Carolina commit Joshua Downs showed speed, and yes, it did surprise some. Most have described Downs more quick than fast, but he showed a great burst off the line and turned in two impressive times in the Fastest Man Challenge. His first time was 4.46 and the second was 4.5 — both impressive. He plays fast, he is very subtle and now he has shown his speed, too. His stock continues to rise on Rivals.com.

FREAK SHOW  

Just walking into the hotel, Noah Sewell turned heads and created a buzz. The four-star linebacker out of Utah took that buzz to another level inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium with his play on the field. Not only was he the top linebacker on the day but he was working at tight end and creating separation against some of the top linebackers in the country. Sewell is pushing 270 pounds and he is a quick-twitch jumbo-athlete. It's easy to see why he is such a coveted linebacker. Will he make the move up to five stars? His stock definitely isn’t down.

RIDICULOUS MOTOR  

Isaiah Raikes took more reps than anyone (by a lot), and he won a lot more than he lost. The 6-foot-1, 310-pound defensive tackle is a four-star just outside the Rivals250, but with his performance a move up may be imminent. He not only plays hard, but he played with leverage, he worked his hands and he flashed quickness. The Texas A&M commit was as impressive as any interior defensive lineman (other than five-star Bryan Bresee) inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

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FIFTH STAR COMING?  

Running back Bijan Robinson has made his case. He is the top four-star running back in the country, and after a very impressive performance Tuesday he may not be that much longer. Robinson left with the running back MVP hardware after the show he put on from start to finish. At his size, he showed speed, hands, wiggle and he has made a strong case for another star. He may even deserve consideration for top running back in the country.

OUTPLAYED RANKING

Yes, Marcus Rosemy left as the MVP among the wide receivers, but in that discussion until the end was Lavon Bunkley-Shelton. The one-handed grab Bunkley-Shelton made midway through the first session had people on the field and in the stands gasping. It wasn’t just that play that either. Bunkley-Shelton was very impressive from start to finish. He is just outside the Rivals100, and the No. 22 wide receiver, but he likely just played his way into the top 100. He was quick out of breaks, he was catching everything and he helped him team win the 7-on-7 championship.