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June 23, 2012
ATLANTA - The Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge hit high gear on Saturday with an extended session of work on the fields. Numerous top players from around the nation got after it on the field and made a statement with their play. Here is a breakdown of some of the best players and moments.
San Diego (Calif.) Horizon wide receiver Darren Carrington
Carrington made the best catch of the one-on-one session when he was working down the sideline while getting bumped by Fresno (Calif.) Central East safety Hatari Byrd. Carrington lost his balance and began to fall but had the focus to catch the ball one-handed, with his left hand, all the while getting cracked in the head by Byrd and also whacking his head on the ground. Despite the violent ending of the play, the recent Oregon commitment held onto the ball.
Olney (Md.) Good Counsel cornerback Kendall Fuller
The five-star defensive back read a post route while playing off the line and broke immediately upon it being released. He jumped in front of the receiver and acted as though he was the receiver easily making the interception in the middle of the field. The 5-foot-11, 189-pound defensive back displayed great instincts on the play and finished it off with his stellar athleticism.
Best OL-DL battle
The 6-foot-3, 280-pound Pagano attempted to get into the body of the 6-foot-5, 305-pound Boutte and was immediately stonewalled at the point of attack. Boutte immediately won leverage and threw Pagano down to the ground with ease. To add insult to injury, Boutte finished the play by landing on top of Pagano.
Best LB-TE battle
Howard did a good job of getting off the line of scrimmage and down the field but the super athletic Smith stayed on his hip and handled a change of direction with ease staying step-for-step with the 6-foot-6, 226-pound tight end. When the ball was put in front of Howard, Smith did a good job of using his length to get a hand between Howard and the ball, breaking up the pass.
Best WR-DB battle
A battle of two of the nation's top players at their respective positions resulted in an incompletion due to an overthrown ball, but it was about the job done by Fuller on the route that helps him make his way onto this list. The 6-foot-5, 220-pound Seals-Jones got off the line without being pressed but Fuller was on his hip the entire way down the field. Fuller provided blanket coverage step-for-step down the field on the go-route.
New Iberia (La.) Westgate offensive guard Josh Boutte
Boutte made a strong impression due to winning numerous reps in the one-on-one battle with defensive linemen, but it was the manner that he won the battles that earned him the honors of most physical. Boutte threw defensive linemen around like rag dolls and finished a number of blocks with pancaking oncoming defenders. He plays with an aggressive style and was ultra-competitive. Another pair of offensive linemen deserves mention - Elkton (Md.) Eastern Christian Academy offensive guard Khaliel Rodgers was a brick wall for oncoming defenders on numerous reps and Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech offensive tackle David Dawson displayed a great initial punch.
Celina (Texas) offensive tackle Jake Raulerson
The 6-foot-5, 250-pound offensive tackle commitment for Texas likely took as many reps as any player on the field on Saturday. He worked at a number of offensive line positions and took as many reps as possible, regularly moving to an open spot before any of his peers could. He also took a number of reps at defensive end on the afternoon. He definitely will sleep well after his long day.
Alpharetta (Ga.) Milton defensive end Carl Lawson
Lawson was arguably the top player on the entire field on Saturday proving it with a dominating performance in the one-on-one battles with offensive linemen. He is extremely quick, strong, physical and agile coming off the edge. There wasn't a single offensive lineman that could handle him in this setting. Lawson then followed up that performance by taking some reps at linebacker where he performed well against tight ends. The 6-foot-2, 253-pound defensive end can do things in space, to the outside off the edge, or use technique to beat you to the inside. Plain and simple, he is a dominating defender in a multitude of ways on the defensive front seven.
Virginia Beach (Va.) Bayside running back Taquan Mizzell
Four-star running back Taquan Mizzell has very quick feet and does great things in space as a running back carrying the ball. As a receiver, he is nearly uncoverable when he is able to make a cut in space as the average linebacker can't stay with him. Mizzell won a tight battle over Delray Beach (Fla.) American Heritage running back Greg Bryant. Bryant is a physical back at 5-foot-11, 200-pounds. He is also quick out of the backfield and down the field in routes. He displayed that athleticism when he lined up at wide receiver and won a rep against super-talented Seffner (Fla.) Armwood safety Leon McQuay III.
Tallahassee (Fla.) Lincoln wide receiver Reggie Davis
Davis is a 6-foot speedster who does a great job of getting off the line of scrimmage and quickly working his way down the field. He flashed that speed on a go-route when he got off the line cleanly and quickly accelerated hitting his top gear quickly stretching the field. Best part, he made the reception on the bomb.
Elkton (Md.) Eastern Christian Academy offensive guard Khaliel Rodgers
Rodgers will never grab your attention as the most physically impressive looking lineman on the field, but he acts like a wall when he is able to get his hands on the oncoming defender and anchor his wide, thick base into the ground. He was able to move defenders to the spot he wanted to when he got his hands on them and handled re-adjusting to the second move very well.
Most impressive underclassmen
Virginia Beach (Va.) Bayside safety Quin Blanding
Blanding has safety size but has the athleticism to play like a cornerback. The future Rivals100 prospect has the ability to turn his hips and run step-for-step with any wide receiver down the field. He is sticky in coverage whether the route is vertical or toward the middle of the field. He does a great job of using his length to break up passes.
Most to prove on Sunday
The event will conclude Sunday with a 7-on-7 for the skill position players and one-on-one for the linemen. Seals-Jones was strong in positional drills but didn't make a statement during the one-on-one portion of Saturday's event. He has great mix of speed and size at wide receiver, but he should be able to grab your attention against a majority of the defensive back competition he is facing. He also didn't appear to be extremely crisp on his routes. Bigelow had a good day on Saturday but he needs to show more versatility in his attack. He regularly works to the outside and offensive linemen took notice of it and played him heavily to that way stalling him out toward the end of the day. He is a physically imposing monster who with a little more moves in the repertoire would be nearly unstoppable.