Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge: Southeast spotlight
INDIANAPOLIS -- After a weekend of great competition, the 2017 edition of the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge presented by adidas is officially in the books. But with so much on-field action and so much recruiting news coming out of the interviews, there's still plenty of digesting to be done with it comes to all the information.
Today we look at Southeast region and the biggest takeaways that will stay with us after the event.
TENNESSEE'S 2019 CLASS HAS SPECIAL POTENTIAL
Tennessee was represented by a trio of 2019 prospects, four-star defensive end Ani Izuchukwu, four-star defensive back Adonis Otey and four-star wide receiver Trey Knox. The three all showed impressive flashes during the event, highlighted by Knox, who has the potential to be one of the best overall players in the country in his class. The group is part of a deep talent pool in the state in the 2019 class, and with every year it seems like more players are emerging from Tennessee to become national level recruits.
DEVONTA LEE CAN DO IT ALL
Events like the Five-Star Challenge are a great chance to see just how much competitive drive individual prospects have. On Saturday, it was clear class of 2019 wide receiver Devonta Lee was a true competitor. After injuries depleted his team's secondary, Lee stepped in to play safety and ended up leading all defensive prospects in interceptions at the event. Lee plays both ways for his high school team, so it's not a surprise to see him be capable at defensive back. But Lee's ability to shine among elite prospects at two positions shows just how special he is as a prospect. LSU and Alabama are already battling for him and likely will be all the way up to Signing Day 2019.
JUSTIN FIELDS HAS EVERYONE GUESSING
There were plenty of Rivals.com publishers and reporters, along with 104 players in attendance over the weekend and, depending on who you ask about five-star quarterback Justin Fields, you were likely to hear a different prediction. The most common answers were Auburn, Florida and Georgia. Florida State was in there too, but Penn State was not mentioned.
A decision is likely to come in August. He plans to visit Florida State this week on his way to a 7-on-7 tournament in Florida.
There were plenty of prospects in his ear about their school and others just trying to get info from him and nobody got much. He is likely to keep outsiders guessing until he announces his final decision.
JADON HASELWOOD IS FOR REAL
Amon-Ra St. Brown won the Wide Receiver MVP, and rightfully so, but right behind him was 2019 five-star Jadon Haselwood. After the morning session, numerous reporters and coaches at the camp were talking about Haselwood's talent and ability at wide receiver. He has everything you look for in a No. 1 wideout.
Haselwood is committed to Georgia and he continues to say all the right things when asked about the Bulldogs, but he will continue to take visits. Auburn, Florida, Ohio State and, of course, Georgia are schools he said he could visit this summer. There is no doubt he is a five-star talent.
NEVER COUNT OUT ALABAMA
Alabama did not offer in-state running back Asa Martin as early as Auburn and Florida. Just a couple of months ago, his recruitment was down to the Tigers and Gators, but the Crimson Tide have turned up the heat. Behind the scenes, quite a few observers like Alabama's chances. He has visited Tuscaloosa three times since he was offered April 22 and he is scheduled to commit on Aug. 24. He plans to visit Florida again in July and he was at Auburn just over a week ago. This could go one of three ways, but it is hard to ever go against Nick Saban when he truly targets someone, especially when it's an in-state prospect.
FIFTH STAR COMING?
Had he been healthy, Clay Webb very well could have earned Offensive Line MVP honors. During the morning session, Webb's shoulder popped out, and the tough guy that he is, he popped it right back in. He went on to bench press 225 pounds 20 times after the shoulder injury to finish third in the Strong Man competition. He was very confident that he would have won if not for the shoulder injury.
Webb was held out of the afternoon session, but he showed enough in the first few hours to really put himself into the five-star discussion when the 2019 rankings are updated. He is so strong, he plays with good leverage and once he locks his hands in, it is over for the defensive linemen. Alabama, Auburn, Florida and Georgia are the early favorites.
FIRST OFFER MEANS SOMETHING
Numerous schools have come through and offered Derrick McLendon, a 2019 defensive end out of Tucker, Ga., this spring but Florida, the first school to offer, stands out right now. He has talked up Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and others that have offered in 2017, but Florida offering first has put the Gators in a good spot at this stage. McLendon said in Indianapolis that Florida was leading his recruitment, and the Gators being the first school to offer has something to do with it.
HILL AND JACKSON PLAN TO PLAY TOGETHER
Trey Hill and Kearis Jackson, two of the best prospects in Georgia, plan to play together on the next level. Hill discussed it some in Indianapolis, but Jackson constantly talked about the two playing on the same college team. There were some other names thrown around with these two as possible future teammates, but these two are likely headed to same the school. Auburn, Florida and Georgia are three of the common schools for the Peach State pair. Jackson likes Alabama while Hill likes Clemson, but it looks like these two Rivals250 talents could be roommates on the next level.
TREVOR TURNS IT ON
As the No. 1 player in the country, Trevor Lawrence doesn't have a ton to prove at an event like the Five-Star Challenge, but when it came time to compete in the 7-on-7 tournament, the Clemson commit's competitive instinct kicked in and he quickly rallied his team. Lawrence seemed to get motivated by a questionable officiating call during one game, and from that point on he was totally dialed in. Lawrence was even engaging in friendly trash talk with onlookers on the sideline, showing the type of spirit that has helped him lead his high school team to back-to-back state championships. Lawrence is laid back off the field, but make no mistake - when a trophy is on the line, he's not happy if he's not winning.
LSU HAS TO PROVE IT TO MARSHALL
In any given year, LSU is going to land the majority of the elite prospects from the state of Louisiana. It just makes sense for most players from the state to stay close to home. But after a coaching change in the middle of last season and some uncertainty about how the school's offense will look this year, the Tigers find themselves battling with several programs for the state's top players. Elite quarterback Justin Rogers just committed to TCU, five-star wide receiver Devonta Jason is committed to Kansas and fellow five-star wide receiver Terrace Marshall was blunt when asked to discuss the Tigers this week. Marshall said that if LSU doesn't show an ability to throw the ball more this fall, it will be out of the picture when it comes to his commitment. With so much in-state talent both this year and last year, there will be a lot of eyes on the new staff. It will be interesting to see if the Tigers hold on the in-state prospects will change depending on the won-loss record.