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May 27, 2013
Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge: QBs
Rivals.com, the nation's leader in football recruiting coverage, is bringing more than 100 of the country's top prospects to participate in the second annual Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge presented by Under Armour. The free, invitation-only camp for the nation's elite will feature top prospects at all positions from the classes of 2014 and 2015. Each position is loaded with talent, and today we take a look at the quarterbacks.
Kyle Allen, Scottsdale (Ariz.) Freedom; Drew Barker, Burlington (Ken.) Conner; Jerrod Heard, Denton (Texas) Guyer; Deshaun Watson, Gainesville, Ga.; Jack Beneventi (2015 understudy), Glen Ellyn (Ill.) Benet Academy; Josh Rosen (2015 understudy), Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco
Watson started the 2014 cycle as the nation's No. 1 overall quarterback, regardless of dual-threat or pro-style status, and he tightened his grip on that spot with a strong spring showing. Now, Watson enters the Five-Star Challenge with a target on his back, because he'll be competing side-by-side on Saturday and head-to-head in Sunday's seven-on-seven competition. Not only will Watson be looked at by his fellow quarterbacks, but wide receivers, tight ends and running backs from around the country who have never seen him in person will get their first chance to watch him show his skills.
Unlike Watson, Barker has had to climb into the conversation for one of the nation's top quarterbacks. He's from a small town in Kentucky (Burlington, population 15,000), and he has committed to the in-state Wildcats. Many Kentucky fans are hoping that Barker, along with new coach Mark Stoops, can turn things around in the Bluegrass State. The Five-Star Challenge will give Barker the chance to introduce himself to the competition and perhaps to show that it doesn't matter where you're from, as long as you can sling it.
KEEP AN EYE ON
Heard is a true dual-threat quarterback because he is equally as lethal with his arm as he is as a runner. He improved by leaps and bounds as a junior, helping Denton Guyer claim its first state title in program history by showing a strong combination of athletic gifts and intangibles. The tools have been there for awhile now, but in 2012 he took his consistency in the passing game to a new level.
MOST TO PROVE
Allen is the recently crowned king of the pro-style quarterbacks. He'll carry the top ranking into the event, so why is there so much pressure on his shoulders? For one, Allen has never been compared side-by-side with such an inclusive list of other top quarterbacks. All eyes will be on Allen in Chicago as he attempts to prove his ranking is deserved. There's also the business of unseating fellow Rivals Challenge participant Watson, the country's top dual-threat quarterback, to claim the No. 1 overall spot among 2014 passers.
BEST CHANCE TO IMPROVE STOCK
Despite his recent jump in the rankings, Barker comes in ranked No. 117, the only quarterback on the roster not in the Rivals100. Obviously, he's hoping to improve that position and to prove he belongs in the conversation with the other quarterbacks at the event. Barker doesn't play the stiffest competition in Kentucky, so the Five-Star Challenge could serve as his best chance to improve his standing between now and the all-star events late in the year.
The Five-Star Challenge will be a home game for Chicagoland class of 2015 signal caller Beneventi. At 6-foot-6 and 190 pounds, Beneventi is a tall, strong-armed quarterback whose best days are ahead of him even though he completed 63 percent of his passes for more than 2,300 yards and 20 touchdowns as a sophomore. Meanwhile, Rosen started all of his sophomore season and plays on an elite seven-on-seven team, so experience is not a problem. Many colleges have stopped by St. John Bosco during the spring evaluation period, and he recently has landed offers from Tennessee, Michigan and others. Rosen is wise beyond his years, he has a big-time arm, and he does a tremendous job of picking apart defenses in any setting. Both prospects will gain invaluable experience at the event during the camp portion, and they will be ready to step in during seven-on-seven play, if needed.