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July 12, 2013

Underclassmen Challenge: What We Learned


MORE: Rivals250 Underclassmen Challenge

The second annual Rivals250 Underclassmen Challenge presented by Under Armour is in the books, and the Rivals.com team of analysts discusses what they learned from the star-studded event.

Razorbacks' double dip

Razorback nation has to feel good about the start of the 2015 recruiting class.

Zach Rogers and Ty Storey were not exactly unknowns coming into Sunday's event, and they did not disappoint with their performances. Rogers put in some nice work at center and continued to show his strength, technique and intensity, while Storey was at the top of his game from start to finish. Both are prospects whom Bret Bielema and his staff should have no problem building around as they look toward the 2015 class. After Sunday's performance, things are certainly looking good.

Offensive line dominates

The big beef eaters on the offensive front came to play on Sunday, and they did not waste time getting after their defensive counterparts. The group was led by 2015 offensive guard Josh Wariboko of Casady, Okla. The Oklahoma Sooners commitment put on a dominating performance. One-on-ones were the highlight of the day when he worked his hands and showed his strength. Then there was Tyler Carr of Southside, Ala. Carr might not have much experience at tackle, but he looked at home at the position in DeSoto. His offer list is likely to grow. Zach Rogers, an Arkansas commit out of Lewisville (Texas) Hebron, Quarvez Boulware of Washington D.C., Keenan Walker of Scottsdale (Ariz.) Chaparral and Matthew Burrell Jr. from Fredericksburg (Va.) Chancellor showed well, too. They were not the only ones, but this was one deep group.

Southeast flavor

It was a long trip for the players from the Southeast to Texas, but many made the most of it.

Hoover (Ala.) linebacker Darrell Williams came from the heart of SEC country and represented his region well, earning the Defensive Skill MVP. Another Southeast defender, defensive end Russell Ude, impressed with his abilities and earned the Defensive Line MVP. Williams has two SEC offers and Ude has one, but both players are likely to see their profiles rise after excellent showings. Headlining the list on offense were Southside (Ala.) offensive tackle Tyler Carr, who just missed winning the Offensive Line MVP, and Savannah (Ga.) Country Day rising sophomore Demetris Robertson, who was the event's third-best wide receiver.

Running backs from the Southeast also represented the region well, with Madison (Ala.) back Kerryon Johnson, Buford (Ga.) back Joshua Thomas and Memphis (Tenn.) back Jamal Jones all standing out. Ponte Vedra (Fla.) Providence 2016 quarterback Auggie DiBiase was also lauded for his showing, making the list of top quarterbacks at the event. There were many others from numerous Southeast states, and an argument could be made that the region outperformed the locals.

[ MORE: Early offers polarizing issue for coaches, recruits ]

Sleepers emerge

There were plenty of surprises in Dallas, as the top performers lists were littered with players who came into the event carrying little national buzz.

On the offensive side, a 2016 name, Demetris Robertson, stole the show by running open all afternoon and showcasing tremendous quickness. Quarterback Alex Delton (one offer) finished the day as the camp's No. 2 quarterback. Wide receiver Carlos Strickland made waves with his size and ability to get position on defensive backs. On defense, there was end Caleb Peart stealing the show with his speed and burst off the ball. Markale Moses impressed with his footwork and his ability to flip his hips. Maybe most impressive, though, was Ugo Amadi. A defensive back from Nashville, Amadi made multiple interceptions during one-on-one drills and showcased the kind of quickness and closing speed BCS coaches hunt for. Amadi made as many impressive plays as any skill player at the camp.

Youth is served

It has been well publicized that the recruiting process is starting earlier than ever for high school football players. At the Rivals250 Underclassmen Challenge presented by Under Armour, the stars of tomorrow showcased their talents. Many of them just finished or are going into the ninth grade. The headliner of the group has to be Dylan Moses. The 2017 athlete became the center of attention after he picked up offers from LSU, Alabama and many others. The phenom from Baton Rouge (La.) University Lab School proved he deserves the hype. Other defensive standouts in 2016-17 included defensive linemen Edwin Alexander and Austin Capps, both 2016 prospects. On the offensive side, the running backs in the 2016 class were very impressive. Antonio Williams, Devin White and Trevor Speights gave the defenders a hard time in one-on-ones. 2016 quarterbacks Tristan Wallace and Auggie Dibiase hooked up with wide receivers such as 2016 standout Demetris Robertson to make it a long day for defensive backs.



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