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Top five Midwest prospects at Rivals 3 Stripe regional camps

CLASS OF 2019 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position | Team

Midwest prospects participated in Rivals 3 Stripe Camps presented by adidas from Dallas to Nashville, but the majority attended the Columbus and Chicago events in the month of May and those two camps are where the five best performances from the region occurred.

MORE REGIONAL RCS BEST: Florida | Southeast | Mid-Atlantic

Jowon Briggs
Nick Lucero/Rivals.com

The only two-time Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge presented by adidas invitee from the Midwest this year, Briggs used the Columbus camp to re-awaken those who may have been sleeping on him this off-season.

For Briggs, recruiting is on the back burner while he attends to other passions and pursuits in life, and that has caused his name to slip from the headlines. In Columbus, though, the four-star Ohioan showed why he earned a rare sophomore invite to the Five-Star Challenge and also that he has made big strides in his game since.

Measuring in at a muscled-up 6-foot-2 and 299 pounds, Briggs physically dominated some strong offensive linemen at the event, but also demonstrated an explosive get-off and a better grasp of the finer points of playing defensive tackle. He may not refocus on recruiting until the fall, but it should be a good battle then because Briggs is a tremendous prospect.

Every quarterback attending the 2018 Columbus camp had to contend with the reigning position MVP from the 2017 edition of that camp. Michigan State commit Dwan Mathis was a clear winner last year, and is now ranked as the No. 105 player in the 2019 class. He came out and had an excellent performance in defense of his MVP award earlier this month, but was edged out by an even better performance by Mertz.

The Wisconsin commit came all the way in from Kansas City for this event, and was sensational from first throw to last. Mertz possesses a very simple, repeatable motion that produces a consistent football with plenty of velocity. He was pinpoint accurate all day in Columbus, and needed to be to overcome another impressive performance from Mathis.

Anthony Bradford
Nick Lucero/Rivals.com

The Chicago stop of the Rivals 3 Stripe Camp was cold, windy and rainy. Maybe that affected him because initially Bradford was content letting others get one-on-one reps while he mostly watched the action. Then he heard a comment he felt was directed at him about being overrated, and the gloves were off.

The recent LSU commit went out and dominated rep-after-rep, physically manhandling defensive ends who were unable to use their quickness to get around Bradford, who plays pretty light on his feet for a big lineman. It was a performance reminiscent of Muskegon’s state title game last November when the four-star collapsed an entire side of the defensive line play-after-play, giving his backs ample running room.

Marvin Grant
Nick Lucero/Rivals.com

There was a lot of buzz early in Grant’s career and he garnered more than a dozen offers before his sophomore year had even ended. But, sometimes in cases like this where a prospect generates a lot of early attention, the pendulum swings back the opposite way as they get older and lay observers start to dog the prospect who had the early attention.

The talk that maybe Grant was overhyped too early started to percolate with some observers early in the spring, and so the Detroit native shut those naysayers up the only way you can – by proving it on the field. Although a safety prospect (who some schools see growing into a linebacker hybrid) Grant showed cornerback-like coverage abilities during his Five-Star Challenge invitation-worthy turn at the Columbus camp, and the “overhyped” talk has been absent in the weeks since.

Justin Rogers
Nick Lucero/Rivals.com

Rogers and Grant are the only two on this list who did not win an MVP award. Rogers was edged out by Pennsylvania 2019 lineman Ja’quay Hubbard for position honors in Columbus, but it was his second camp in as many days and you could tell the fatigue was starting to set in toward the end. Even then, though, the Detroit-area prospect showed what earned him a Rivals100 nod in the initial publishing of that ranking for the 2020 class.

Now up to 6-foot-4 and 315 pounds, Rogers worked at tackle and impressively handled the edge speed as well as he anchors and punches with defensive tackles. While guard is likely his future position in college, Rogers has a 78-inch wingspan and the athleticism to play tackle, which ups his value. He will get a chance to showcase those skills again in Atlanta next month after earning a Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge nod.