Blue-chip prospects put on show at Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge
The inaugural Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge practice occurred Saturday at Lakewood Stadium in Atlanta. The Rivals.com team of analysts took stock of the top prospects in attendance. Here's a breakdown of 10 that stood out:
QB Max Browne -- Sammamish (Wash.) Skyline: Browne was the most consistent of all the quarterbacks and certainly showed the best ability to make a variety of all the throws needed. He had touch on his deep ball and zipped it in when needed, although he seemed to be holding back on a few throws and we never really saw his full arm strength. However, he made many more good passes than bad and a few of them were fit into tight windows. It wasn't a great day overall for the quarterbacks, but Browne was the best by a little bit.
RB Greg Bryant -- Delray Beach (Fla.) American Heritage: Bryant took top honors here but it was very close at the top. Bryant brought great energy to the event, gave 100 percent in every drill, caught the ball well and showed off his cutting ability. He has pretty good size and is very explosive in his cuts as well as upfield. He was one of the true standouts at the event and could have raised his stock.
WR Earnest Robinson -- Pinson Valley (Ala.): Robinson is a good-sized wide receiver who is very smooth in his routes and quick out of his cuts. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Auburn pledge did an excellent job of catching the ball whether it was over the shoulder or opening up his body on inside routes. Robinson does a good job of using his body as a shield and cutting through defenders when they approach him at the line of scrimmage.
TE O.J. Howard -- Autauga (Ala.) Autauga Academy: Howard is extremely difficult for opponents to match up with due to his size, speed, and athleticism. The 6-foot-6, 226-pound Alabama commit is in some ways a big wide receiver who has tight end size and capability at this stage. He does a great job of getting off the line of scrimmage and into his routes. Howard is explosive on his second move and does a great job on his routes of creating separation. He catches everything that comes his way and snatches the ball away from defenders.
OG Josh Boutte -- New Iberia (La.) Westgate: The 6-foot-5, 305-pound LSU commit was one of the last players added to the Challenge roster but he certainly did not look like an afterthought on Saturday. Not a regular on the camp scene, Boutte took a couple of reps to get used to the competition level. After that he simply took over. He pancaked three different defensive linemen, including an impressive one against defensive tackle Scott Pagano. He showed incredible lower-body strength and didn't give up much ground on the interior at all. He is a player who will be interesting to watch throughout his senior season.
DE Carl Lawson -- Alpharetta, (Ga.) Milton: The 6-foot-2, 253-pound defensive end certainly proved he is a five-star prospect and was the consensus top performer on the day, regardless of position. Lawson lined up at defensive end for several 1-on-1s and the best offensive tackles on the field had trouble even getting a hand on him. The Auburn commit then moved inside and showed power against the guards and tackles. After he was done with the linemen 1-on-1s, he played linebacker and did a good job covering the tight ends.
DT Andrew Brown -- Chesapeake (Va.) Oscar Smith: The 6-foot-4, 292-pound junior-to-be came in with as much fanfare as any of the younger prospects and lived up to his billing. Brown showed good lateral agility in the positional drills and then was a force to be reckoned with in 1-on-1s. Though he was younger than most of the opposing offensive linemen, he was not intimidated and was quick to jump in and take reps. He used a bull-rush as well as his quickness to win almost every one of his reps.
LB Jaylon Smith -- Fort Wayne (Ind.) Bishop Luers: As a whole, the linebackers were not the most impressive group on the field, but from start to finish the clear-cut No. 1 performer was the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Smith. The five-star has freakishly long arms that allow him to fend off blockers and get his hands on a lot of passes in coverage. However, it is Smith's athleticism that sets him apart. Throughout the drills Smith did everything faster, stronger and more completely than anyone else. He split his one-on-one battle with tight end O.J. Howard and was the only player to stop Howard all day. Smith was also the first to run every drill and the most vocal leader of the group.
CB Jalen Ramsey -- Nashville (Tenn.) Brentwood Academy: Ramsey was outstanding throughout the entire day from drill work to 1-on-1s and he had one of only two interceptions all day when he stepped in front of a short route. The four-star has a great, well-developed frame, fluid movement and rarely bites on any receiver's move. His timing is great, too. On his interception, instead of getting fooled on the pump fake, Ramsey stood his ground and then broke on the ball once it was thrown.
S Leon McQuay III -- Seffner (Fla.) Armwood: McQuay arrived to Atlanta late Friday night, just came off a two-day team camp and normally plays safety. But he showed how talented he is in coverage during the one-on-one drills. The four-star standout has special athleticism, stays in the hip pocket of receivers and competes for every ball thrown his way. Oklahoma running back commit Greg Bryant was the only one to catch a pass on him all day.
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