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June 28, 2012

Rivals Challenge: Top underclassmen


MORE: The inaugural Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge

ATLANTA: Rivals.com takes a look at 10 underclassmen who stood out during the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge.

Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge: Top Underclassmen
1. Quin Blanding, S, Virginia Beach (Va.) Bayside
Blanding has great size at 6-foot-2 and nearly 200 pounds, but has the athleticism of a cornerback. He will be an elite safety prospect in the 2014 class due to that size, speed, and most of all, his instincts, in the defensive secondary. He displayed great closing speed when he worked in space during Sunday's 7-on-7 event. He is rarely out of position on any play.

2. Andrew Brown, DT, Chesapeake (Va.) Oscar Smith
Brown was good on Saturday and great on Sunday. The 6-foot-4, 292-pound defensive tackle was dominant on Sunday, flashing great quickness for his size and using his violent hands to get off blocks and get to the quarterback in 1-on-1 battles. As he continues to add bulk and strength, Brown will be an unstoppable force in the middle of the defensive line.

3. Da'Shawn Hand, SDE, Woodbridge (Va.) Woodbridge Senior
Hand has an excellent physical build on a great frame. He showed that he can compete at the highest level, winning numerous reps on Saturday and Sunday. He has massive, strong hands and is physical from the snap, getting offensive linemen off-balance on his initial punch. Hand has great speed off the edge, but his strength is what sets him apart from most rising juniors.

4. Leonard Fournette, RB, New Orleans (La.) St. Augustine
Fournette is a tall, long running back with solid weight on his frame. He is an agile back who handles change of direction very well in the open field. In the 7-on-7 setting, he did an excellent job of catching the ball and was a regular option on short routes and dump-off passes by Tyrone Swoopes. After the catch, he accelerates quickly and showed some shiftiness in the open field to avoid the tag.

5. Jalen Tabor, S, Washington (D.C.) Friendship Collegiate Academy
Tabor is a mix of athleticism and physicality at the defensive back position. He does an excellent job of getting himself in position to make a play on the ball and did a wonderful job of getting a hand on numerous passes throughout the on-field activities. When Tabor steps up to the line of scrimmage, he is very physical with the receiver, back, or tight end off the snap.

6. Tony Brown, S, Beaumont (Texas) Ozen
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound defensive back with a great frame likely ends up at safety in college, but he showed the athleticism to play at the line of scrimmage and handle man coverage like a cornerback throughout the event. Brown is intense and focused on every play and will be very physical with receivers, whether he is pressing them at the line of scrimmage or making contact with them down the field.

7. Bo Scarbrough, WR, Tuscaloosa (Ala.) Northridge
Scarbrough is actually a running back at this stage of his career, but worked at wide receiver through Saturday and Sunday's competition at the event. He is a thick, physical target who is quick off the line of scrimmage and showed the ability to separate from defenders down the field. He catches the ball cleanly and showed the ability to go up and win balls in the air. He would do fine if he were to make a permanent move to wide receiver.

8. Dwight Williams, OLB, Gardena (Calif.) Junipero Serra
Williams is an undersized linebacker who possesses great athleticism. He covers sideline to sideline and uses his closing speed well in pass coverage. In general, he was very good in coverage against running backs, tight ends, and wide receivers throughout Sunday's 7-on-7 event. He does a good job of staying in close quarters in coverage and will get his arm in-between the ball and intended receiver.

9. Laurence Jones, S, Monroe (La.) Neville
Jones, a thick 6-foot-2, 210-pound safety prospect, showed the ability to handle cornerback duties from an athletic standpoint. He did a great job of running with wide receivers downfield and his size was an advantage against bigger receivers. He will be an excellent option at safety with his mix of physicality and coverage skills. He has great range and does a good job of getting his hands on the ball.

10. Malik McDowell, SDE, Detroit (Mich.) Loyola
McDowell is a massive junior prospect on the defensive line. He is tall with long arms and a good amount of weight on his frame. The 6-foot-6, 292-pound defensive end has the versatility to contribute on the end or interior of the defensive line. He gets a good push off of the snap and moved offensive linemen into the backfield regularly. He does a good job of making a second move to get free from offensive linemen and into the backfield.



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