football Edit

Speed Skill Challenge: What to watch for in Houston

The Rivals Camp Series Presented by Under Armour stops
in Houston on Saturday with the second
Rivals
Speed & Skill Challenge. The event is the first
of its kind on the camp circuit, with all positions except linemen given the
chance to learn from top coaches and show off skills in agility, athleticism,
speed, quickness and ball skills. The challenge will include one-on-one
competitions and skeleton sessions. There figures to be plenty of standout
showings, but what are we most excited to see?
Here's a breakdown of the five storylines we are watching heading into the
event.
Linebacker overload
Michael Divinity impressed last year at the Rivals100
Five-Star Challenge.
The Houston Rivals Speed & Skill Challenge will feature an impressive collection
of linebackers. The group expected to compete on Saturday has both highly ranked
headliners and a number of prospects that could make a push with a strong
showing.
Rivals100 linebacker Michael Divinity is making his way over from the New
Orleans area to show everyone just what made him a standout performer at the
Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge in Baltimore
in 2014.
Rivals100 standout Erick Fowler has proven himself to be one of the more
explosive defenders in Texas, but he has also made some big strides working
in space. Saturday's event will allow him to show just what he can
do in coverage.
The linebackers of Greater Houston will also be well represented. Rivals250 standout
Jeffrey McCulloch has been one of the most hotly-pursued prospects since the end of the 2014 season, with offers coming in from across the country. He is highly
regarded, but has an ever-present chip on his shoulder and will try to prove a point on Saturday.
McCulloch will be joined by Rivals250 inside linebacker Dontavious Jackson. Inside backers may have the toughest job of all in camp settings as their range is stretched in
one-on-one competition, but if there is anyone up to the task, it is Jackson. The Alief Elsik defender is a
Rivals Camp Series veteran. Last year he attended RCS Houston and the Rivals250 Underclassmen Challenge Presented by Under Armour in Jacksonville, Fla. He knows
what will be required.
The linebacker group has plenty of others to watch and several are more than capable of jumping up to take the spotlight. Manvel's Jordan Carmouche has made
some big waves recently, Maciah Long is another big athlete with exceptional skills, and Dejon Harris and Giovanni LaFrance also bring plenty of talent to
the position.
Who will emerge?
One of the big questions entering these camps is who will emerge.
A year ago, Michael Divinity made a name for himself as he took home the linebacker MVP award in New Orleans. He entered the event as an underclassman with little fanfare
and went on to earn a spot in the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge in Baltimore.
Two years ago in Cedar Hill, little known wide receiver DaMarkus Lodge ran away with offensive skill MVP honors. He too earned an invitation to the
Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge as a sophomore, and then became an Under Armour All-American as a
senior.
There are several candidates who could emerge in Houston. It could be a sophomore looking to make a statement , or it could be an under-the-radar junior in need of a brighter spotlight.
We don't know who it will be, but someone will make a name for themselves in Houston.
Lone Star's finest
TCU commit Courtney Lark will be the highest-ranked
receiver on the field.
Since Saturday's camp is located in Houston, the Lone Star State is expected to be well-represented, and the bar is set high due to the rankings of several participants.
Safety Eric Monroe is the highest ranked prospect expected to attend. He is currently ranked No. 35 in the country and No. 4 among safety prospects. Rivals250 athlete Christian Wallace will also draw plenty of attention while
working at defensive back.
The defenders will definitely have their hands full with a strong wide receiver group. TCU commit Courtney Lark leads the way. Texas A&M tight end commit Zarrian Holcombe of Humble Summer Creek will also make an impact as he is a highly skilled receiver.
Then there are the running backs. Rivals250 standouts Devwah Whaley and Kameron Martin are two shifty and quick backs. They will be joined by two of the top pass-catchers out of the backfield in Trayveon Williams and D'Vaughn Pennamon.
The quarterbacks responsible for getting the ball in the hands of those playmakers have established themselves as well. Manvel's D'Eriq King stands just 5-foot-10, but he can sling the ball around the yard and Westfield quarterback Dillon Sterling-Cole is in the conversation to be one of the state's top quarterbacks. Neiko Hollins of Fort Bend Hightower has turned a few heads as well. Then there is Rondle Johnson, who looks to repeat a strong performance which earned him the win at the Rivals Quarterback Challenge in Dallas.
The linemen may not be in attendance but there will be plenty of talent on-hand.
Out-of-state statements
While Texas will be well-represented on Saturday, the out-of-state crowd will definitely make a
push.
Rivals250 standout Jordan Duncan may work at receiver, but he has also proven to be a strong defender. He will make his way over from Mississippi. Duncan
attended RCS Hattiesburg a year ago and also had a strong showing at the Rivals250 Underclassmen Challenge. He is more than capable of pushing for top honors at receiver.
Louisiana will also have a strong presence. Joining Divinity will be Rivals250 receiver and LSU commit Stephen Sullivan. At 6-foot-6 and 210-pounds, Sullivan will be one of the biggest receivers on hand. Athlete prospects and fellow LSU commits Cameron Lewis and Clifford Chattman will be a couple of the defensive backs tasked with trying to cover Sullivan.
Tight ends Irvin Smith and Peyton Aucoin will make the trip from New Orleans, along with athlete Ca'Ron Baham of John Ehret and cornerback Kyle Meyers of Holy Cross. Baton Rouge University Lab defensive backs Tre Jackson and Malik Antoine also plan to make their way to Houston.
Underclassmen turning heads
Much of the attention will be on the upperclassmen, but underclassmen have left their mark at every Rivals Camp Series stop. Some are guys we know about while others come from off the radar.
In Houston, receivers Cedarian Lamb, Jhamon Ausbon, Octavious Evans and Manny Netherly bring size and athleticism to the 2017 class. They have each landed firmly on the radars of college coaches, and they know the spotlight will be bright on Saturday.
The receivers will be met by some strong competitors at defensive back. Texas defenders Kieston Roach, Derrick Tucker and Terry Petry are three who could really shake things up, and Louisiana standout Patrick Queen and Michael Lee are no slouches either.
Dual-threat quarterback Keytaon Thompson has made a name for himself in the New Orleans area. The 6-foot-4, 210-pound prospect is a multi-sport standout with a strong arm. Port Arthur (Texas) Memorial quarterback Kadon Harrison is the son of Port Arthur Memorial head coach Kenny Harrison and he also brings a nice combination of athleticism and throwing ability to the table.
Two of the shiftiest prospects on hand will also be underclassmen. Midland (Texas) Midland Christian 2017 athlete McLane Mannix and Crosby (Texas) 2018 prospect Craig Williams have proven they will not shy away from big
opportunities. Boling (Texas) 2018 athlete Vernon Jackson and New Orleans (La.) Brother Martin athlete Bruce Jordan-Swilling both bring a combination of size, speed and athleticism which could translate to a number of positions on the field.