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June 8, 2013

Five-Star Challenge: Team scouting reports

MORE: Complete Five-Star Challenge coverage

CHICAGO - For the second annual Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge presented by Under Armour, our analysts drafted the participants into four teams: Team Rivals, Team Yahoo!, Team Flickr and Team Tumblr. Teams will earn points based on their performances in Sunday's 7-on-7 Tournament and Big Man Challenge.

Here's a scouting report on each team along with the rosters.

Team Rivals

Strength: Defensive line. Team Rivals went hard in the trenches and added both Da'Shawn Hand and Andrew Brown from the top of the Class of 2014 rankings. Daylon Mack may prove to be one of the top players in the Class of 2015 and DeWayne Hendrix has made a major move up the board since his Rivals Camp Series performance. There is size and speed here which will help in timed events as well as 1-on-1 reps.

"With Hand on the outside and Brown and Mack battling in the middle there are few reps those three are expected to lose. Hendrix is the wildcard but has continued to impress. This is clearly the best group of defensive lineman of the four teams." - Mike Farrell

Concern: Linebackers. A position that is often hard to project performance in the 7-on-7 portion still leaves a lot of questions for Team Rivals. Raekwon McMillan is the five-star among the group but he is a true inside linebacker and that could be a mismatch against tight ends or running backs.

"There are a lot of talented kids at the position on this team but the real worry is how they work in space." - Farrell

Headliner: Da'Shawn Hand. The No. 1 player in the Class of 2014 has heard and read all about the players who are gunning for his ranking and has maintained his quiet confidence. The odds are that his training and talent will be on display this weekend as he is set to prove that he belongs atop the Rivals100.

Most to prove: Sam Mustipher. The Notre Dame commit had a up-and-down performance at the Rivals Camp Series in Newark and was often guessing and over extending on plays. With the talent that will be on Soldier Field he could get exposed if his fundamentals are not improved.

2015 to Watch: Daylon Mack. Already in the mix for the top player in Texas for the Class of 2015, Mack could prove to be the best defensive tackle in his class. In some lineman groups he would be the headliner already as a rising junior.

Don't be surprised if... Kevin Toliver emerges as the best defensive back from the entire event. He has that type of top-end talent.

Team Yahoo!

Strength: Defensive backs. There is a strong mix of size, speed, and ball skills on this roster. Marlon Humphrey is one of the biggest players at the position in the entire event while Jamal Adams, Damon Webb, and John Smith are ball hawks. Class of 2015 prospect Iman Marshall should feel comfortable with this group as he is teammates at Long Beach (Calif.) Poly with Smith.

Concern: Wide receiver. There is not a lot of size in this group as Adonis Jennings is the tallest player, measuring in at 6-foot-3. The rest of the group takes a dramatic drop with Justin Brent at 6-foot-1, Travis Rudolph at 6-foot and both KD Cannon and Malik Dear being listed at 5-foot-10. The speed could be an advantage but there isn't really a go-to player in the group.

Headliner: Kyle Allen. Allen made a major move up the Rivals100 rankings following a great showing at the Rivals Camp Series event in Phoenix and is now the No. 1 pro-style quarterback on the board. He could push Deshaun Watson for the top overall quarterback with a strong showing in Chicago.

"Having the top pro-style quarterback was very important for this team. The receiver group is worrisome but if anyone is going to be able to pick apart defenses in this setting it is Allen. In a 7-on-7 quarterback is the most important position and he is among the best in the country at delivering a good ball." - Mike Farrell.

Most to Prove: Adonis Jennings. To Jenning is not listed inside the Rivals250 and it is his mission to open the eyes of the analysts that will be in attendance. There is major opportunity to do that with this group of receivers as he is one that may emerge as a redzone threat with his size.

2015 to Watch: Mitch Hyatt. Hyatt has the size at 6-foot-5 and is a very strong player at a solid 258 pounds. He is not the biggest offensive lineman but he has very good footwork. He will have the chance to go against more experienced players all weekend and this could be an opportunity to improve his already very good game.

"Hyatt is the best player in the offensive line group for Team Yahoo! and may be in the running for the top offensive tackle in the country next year. He is a young talent that will benefit from being here and could dramatically improve his national perception with a good weekend." - Farrell

Don't be surprised if... Justin Brent becomes the Tyler Boyd of the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge. He has the size and speed to catch the ball in all areas, can stretch the field, and runs good routes. If he builds a quick bond with Allen the pair could carry this team offensively like Christian Hackenberg and Boyd did last year.

Team Flickr

Strength: Balance. There is not one group that really stands out above the rest as the team was well put together. It has five players ranked as five-stars mixed through the roster with Deshaun Watson, Elijah Hood, Damian Prince, Lorenzo Carter and Adoree' Jackson all being ranked between No. 5 and No. 13 nationally. That balance could prove to be a winning formula or a middle of the pack finish with no one group able to carry the load.

"This is a well balanced group that has star power but maybe not the depth at any one position. Top to bottom it is a group that could show to be the best on the weekend because of that. There isn't a reliance on one position group but also there isn't one position group to rely on. It is a curious mix." - Mike Farrell.

Weakness: Linebacker. This is a group that stands out from the balance as the spot with the most concern. Kalen Ballage has made an impressive move from three-star to Rivals250 since the Rivals Camp Series but he isn't a true linebacker and he certainly hasn't seen the type of talent he will in this setting. Kain Daub did not move well in space at his Rivals Camp Series stop and Derik Calhoun is one of the shorter players at his position in the event.

Headliners: Lorenzo Carter. The top-ranked player on the team is one that has been earmarked as one that could push Hand for the top overall spot in the country. He is long and athletic with very good speed and lean on the outside. His frame still allows for more weight to be put on but at this level he could be impossible to stop.

Most to prove: Tyler Luatua. Luatua is listed as a tight end but is working in with the receivers group, and that may put him at a disadvantage, but the questions about him had begun before the event started. At 6-foot-4, 230-pounds he has the size and strength to be a factor and needs to prove that he wants to be here and compete.

"There have been a lot of questions about how much Tyler Luatua wants it. His effort has been lacking at a lot of events and he looks like he is often going through the motions. He has flashed a lot of talent but also shut it down at times. We want to see consistency and intensity from him." - Farrell

2015 to Watch: Minkah Fitzpatrick. Team Flickr has Steven Parker and 5-foot-10 Adoree' Jackson who will be asked to cover the speedy slot receivers in many contests, which will leave Fitzpatrick on an island covering one-on-one. He is very talented and will enjoy the opportunity as will those that want to analyze his ability and ball skills.

Don't be surprised if... Davon Godchaux emerges as an MVP of the team. He is a pure speed rusher which will play well in the one-on-ones and the timed strength events. He also a chip on his shoulder and wants to show that he among the nation's elite.

Team Tumblr

Strength: Wide Receiver. Easily the most complete group of receivers in the group belongs to Team Tumblr. The group has size with Allen Lazard (6-foot-5) and Malachi Dupre (6-foot-4) and speed with Christian Kirk and DaMarkus Lodge. Team Tumblur also has a great combination player in Jamil Kamara. Adding to the group is Leonard Fournette and Dalton Schultz. Fournette is one of the smoother pass-catching backs in the country and Shultz enters at 6-foot-7 and could be a redzone force.

Concern: Quarterback. Jerrod Heard is not the most accomplished passer in the event and with quarterback being the prime position in 7-on-7 he could prove to be a pressure point. Heard can throw the ball and has good touch and having the biggest targets of any team in the event could help him along the way as well.

"We know that he is not Tyrone Swoopes -- and that Heard is a more polished passer coming into the event -- but there is a natural comparison with him being a dual-threat quarterback, from Texas, with some concerns about delivery." - Mike Farrell

Headliner: Allen Lazard. He is the biggest receiver on the field and the highest rated as well. That combination should theoretically make him the toughest match up and one that should make it very hard on the secondary of the other teams. He is the closest receiver to earning his fifth star and showing out in this setting could make the case much easier to close.

Most to prove: Shaun Dion-Hamilton. Hamilton had a very good Rivals Camp Series event and moved up the rankings because of it; now he has to follow that up with a good national showing and prove that he was deserving of the upward movement. Linebacker is a tough spot to stand out in a positive way in the 7-on-7 format but being alongside Dillon Bates should make this group the best linebacker duo in the event.

2015 to Watch: Christian Kirk. Kirk may be one of the fastest players in the field of prospects and he may emerge as a consistent, underneath threat this weekend. Many outside of the Southwest do not know who Kirk is but that can easily change.

"Kirk is a little waterbug that is very tough to cover. He really is an ideal player to have paired with the group of giant wide receivers on this team with a chance to work all over the field and stand out." - Farrell

Don't be surprised if... Dalton Shultz becomes the key to the team. His combination of size and speed is tough to cover. Shultz has the ability to get downfield as well as box out players attempting to cover him. While there isn't an O.J. Howard at the event, Shultz could be a go-to target like Howard was last year.


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