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May 12, 2012
As Marvel's movie, The Avengers, becomes the summer blockbuster Elkton (Md.) Eastern Christian Academy defensive end Kenny Bigelow prepares himself to star as "The Hulk" at the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge.
The nation's top-rated defensive end has seen the clipping from several competitors calling him out in advance of the invitation-only event and said the he will have to bring his nasty side out in Atlanta.
"I have not had to bring out my mean streak in a long time," Bigelow said. "I haven't had to showcase my nasty this year but I will have to pull it out for this one."
And just like that, Bigelow's Dr. David Banner will transform.
"I am expecting a lot of really good guards and tackles out there," Bigelow said. "But I have seen that people are asking for me, and they are going to get me. They will get a much more physical side of me; a better speed side and a dominant side."
Being one of the top ranked players in the nation - Bigelow is the No. 6 overall player by Rivals.com - comes with plenty of pressure, and according to the 6-foot-3, 322-pound Bigelow he likes the expectations being placed on him and relishes the bull's eye put on his back.
"It is great for me," he said. "To have that many people thinking that highly of me and wanting to make their name against me fires me up.
"For some of the best players in the country to have me in the front of their mind means that I am doing things right. It also means I have to come prepared."
The inaugural Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge will take place on June 22-24 at Lakewood Stadium in Atlanta and will feature 80 of the best players from the Class of 2013 and 20 top-ranking juniors from the Class of 2014.
Bigelow will be traveling with his teammate Khaliel Rodgers, and according to Bigelow the two are inseparable.
"People think we are really related," he said. "We are extremely close and you could really call us brothers, our bonds are very tight."
With Bigelow already committed to play college football at USC and Rodgers without a USC offer to date, the two may be enjoying their last summer together.
It is a situation that is not lost on Bigelow.
"It will hurt if we are broke apart," he said. "But really if we end up far away from each other it can really make us closer because we will always have a bond and we can always talk about what the other is doing."
"Going to Georgia to compete against guys from California, Texas, and Florida is special," he said. "It is all about competition and that is going to make us better to go against the best.
"It is a mentality you have to have, the drive to compete. When I lose the drive it will mean I lost my drive to play football."
The drive to compete come June has only been fueled by those who want to try to call out the competitive side of Bigelow.
"They are going to push me to be my best," he said. "They asked for it. Now they are going to get it."
Mike Farrell's take
Bigelow is one of the top players in the country and is a massive kid who can play end or tackle and will be a load for any of the offensive linemen to handle. He is hungry and wants a piece of any offensive lineman he can get his hands on, but more importantly he wants to see how he stacks up against the rest of the defensive linemen out there. He feels he is just as good as the nation's No. 1 player so this is his chance to prove it. He has surprising quickness to the outside for a big man and he can counter and keep opponents off balance. He will be one to pass the eyeball test in Atlanta for sure and his potential is through the roof.