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March 31, 2012

Rivals/VTO NC: Top story lines

MORE: Rivals/VTO Sports page | Players to watch

Sunday's Rivals.com/VTO Sports North Carolina Elite 100 in Charlotte will once again have many of the top players from the Tar Heel State on hand competing against each other from the 2013 and 2014 classes. The headliners are the wide receivers. While Mallard Creek wideout Marquez North could be limited due to injury, Matthews (N.C.) Butler wide out Uriah LeMay will have some good competition at his position.

1. Air attack

North is the top-rated receiver in the Southeast, a rarity for a North Carolina prospect with all the yearly talent in Georgia, Florida and elsewhere. While the Charlotte (N.C.) Mallard Creek standout will be limited in what he can do when it comes to contact due to a shoulder injury, he will still be on hand likely doing drills. In his potential absence, fellow four-star Uriah Lemay has a chance to close the gap between the two. Jack Britt receiver Jalen McDaniel was a standout at last year's South Carolina event and this year he will be older, wiser and stronger. Mallard Creek's Jorian Jordan is one of the state's best-kept secrets and Ashbrook's Emmanuel Vanderpuye is a good-looking prospect physically. Davis Howell from Tennessee has put up amazing numbers in high school and Southeast Raleigh wide receiver Dante Jones is a solid slot receiver. It should be a good day to scout the receivers, especially if North can go full on.

2. D-Line Dominant?

Last year the camp was highlighted by defensive linemen such as Jonathan Bullard and Carlos Watkins, as well as a plethora of other talented players on the defensive side of the trenches. While there might not be a U.S. Army All-American such as Bullard or Watkins in this group, the defensive line is very impressive once again. Hunt defensive end Lewis Neal leads the way and is joined by Crest end Dane Rogers, who played opposite Bullard last year, and Tarboro end Tyquan Lewis, who is one of the fastest rising names in the state. The offensive line, led by Richmond's Tyrone Crowder and Mallard Creek's Tevin Lawshe, will have their hands full.

3. Linebackers vs. running backs

Wide receiver is a position of depth but linebacker has some star power. Butler's Peter Kalambayi is one of the nation's best at his position and a Rivals100 prospect. He'll be joined by South Iredell standout LaChaston Smith and South Stanly's Jordan Starnes. Robinson linebacker Michael Steinbacher will be an interesting prospect to watch as well. On the offensive side of things, Hunt's Josh Joyner was one of the more prolific backs in the state last year while 2014 stud Derrell Scott from Havelock already has an impressive offer list and could be the best back in the state next recruiting year. However, Charlotte Catholic running back Elijah Hood is a huge back who could give him a run for his money. Jordan's John Brown could play running back or wide receiver and was a top performer at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl combine in January.

4. D-Back ball hawks

While the wide receiver group is impressive, they'll be checked by some solid defensive backs led by Mallard Creek's Anthony Covington and Charlotte Christian's Desmond Lawrence. Covington has been overshadowed a bit by his teammate, Brian Walker, who also is expected to compete on his home turf. Lawrence could play cornerback or safety in college and boasts some impressive offers in the ACC and SEC as well as Notre Dame. Havelock star Pharoh Cooper will probably play wide receiver but he could also see time on defense if he chooses. He is as well-rounded as any athlete in the state. Add in West Rowan's Desmond Jackson, Jordan's Greg Hairston, Northern Nash's DeQuavais Mann and Wake Forest Roseville's Xavier Smith as sleepers, and you have a nice group.

5. Intriguing Class of 2014 athlete

One of the most intriguing prospects at the event will be Southern Alamance athlete Johnathan Lloyd, who played almost every athletic position imaginable last season and could play quarterback or wide receiver at the camp. With early offers from Florida, Ohio State, South Carolina and Virginia Tech, as well as in-state offers from North Carolina, N.C. State and Duke, Lloyd is leading the charge for 2014 in the Tar Heel State. A bit undersized at quarterback, it will be interesting to see how he projects.

If you are the coach or parent of a prospect with D-I offers or likely to receive D-I offers, or the prospect himself, contact Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Mike Farrell at mike@rivals.com, via Twitter at @rivalsmike or via Facebook.

These camps are INVITE ONLY and you must pre-register to attend, there will be no walk ups allowed.



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