July 10, 2013

Hot 11: Underclassmen Challenge

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DESOTO, Texas - With over 200 of the country's most talented young prospects it was impossible to take proper stock in all of the quality talent on hand at the Rivals Underclassmen Challenge presented by Under Armour. However, the SoonerScoop.com staff came in with several players to have a long look at and several others who couldn't help but catch the eye. So here is a list of some of the top targets to our eyes on Sunday.

11. Anthony Wheeler, Linebacker - School: Dallas Skyline
Analysis: The big linebacker was one of the real questions coming in. Though he is incredibly physically impressive - could he handle working in space against smaller quicker backs? Well, question answered. Wheeler's footwork and overall technique may not be perfect yet but his use of his athleticism and strength to get his hands on skill players and knock them off their route provided him with ample opportunities to make plays.

10. Tyler Hilinski, Quarterback - School: Upland, Calif.
Analysis: Hilinski, like his brother, has ample arm strength and showed it off on several occasions. His motion is a bit of a unique one - it's the definition of over the top. That said the velocity he produces comes from good weight transfer and the ability to drive through his throws, so perhaps it's uniqueness can be copied going forward? Regardless, Hilinski is almost certainly a name to watch going forward with many offers likely to come his way in the future.

9. Carlos Strickland, Wide Receiver - School: Dallas Skyline
Analysis: It's easy to watch the 6-foot-5 pass catcher and get caught up in his size and potential as a vertical receiver. However, when you watch him play there is a smooth quality to his game that most players of his size fall short of. In fact he is somewhat reminiscent of current Sooner freshman Dannon Cavil. Though he is quite different from the likes of Thomas Johnson, Ra'Shaad Samples, and several others look for the big man to keep Skyline's receiver tradition rolling.

8. Akylen Mayfield, Wide Receiver - School: Tulsa Edison
Analysis: No one else is talking about this guy right now but give it time. For a player that has spent all spring and summer working at quarterback - even spending some time with former Tulsa standout quarterback Paul Smith - he looked incredibly natural at receiver. He is a big receiver, who could develop as a quarterback or could move to receiver, safety, or any of several other spots. With his size and athleticism look for his name to really emerge of the 2013 season.

7. Jarrett Stidham, Quarterback - School: Stephenville, Texas
Analysis: Stidham looked surprisingly clean going through drills for a player that spent last year as a back-up. However, it didn't take long to see why he has some talking about him as the top quarterback in the state of Texas for the class of 2015. Stidham's athleticism helps him move around and his timing was impressive for a player with such a lack of familiarity with all the receivers on hand. Definitely a player with big potential going forward.

6. Alec Dunham, Linebacker - School: Coldspring, Texas
Analysis: A player who I knew next to nothing about when I arrived and came away thinking he was among the top handful of players on hand. Though as of yet few have discussed his performance but on the day Dunham showed great footwork, and the closing speed to match. In one-on-ones we didn't get to watch as much as we wanted but during drills he flashed the kind of potential that will see more join Houston on his offer list.

5. Chris Warren, Running Back - School: Rockwall, Texas
Analysis: Like Wheeler there was a feeling that this setting just wasn't going to work for Warren but he dispelled that quite quickly. Warren's game may be based on being powerful and able to handle running between the tackles but his footwork and soft hands showed he was a better receiver than most realized. It's always interesting to see a player taken out of his comfort zone and see how he'll fare, Warren passed with flying colors.

4. James Proche, Wide Receiver - School: Dallas Prime Prep Academy
Analysis: On the flip side Proche was right at home in the camp setting with his great route-running and explosion in and out of his cuts. The talented slot receiver is one of the annual mysteries of Texas recruiting as his hands, and ability to make plays in open space in the Big 12 region should be highly coveted. Here's better that in time it will be.

3. Malik Jefferson, Linebacker - School: Mesquite (Texas) Poteet
Analysis: The highly talented outside linebacker was among the best players in the camp regardless of position and whether it was in drills or one on ones he was the exemplary player at the position throughout the camp. Going forward it will be interesting to see how Jefferson's frame fills out but as they say 'you can't coach speed' and Jefferson's ability in space would be a major coup for the spread crazy Big 12.

2. Tyron Johnson, Wide Receiver - School: New Orleans Warren Easton Senior
Analysis: Though his game on film is highly reminiscent of a slot receiver with the explosive cuts and plays over the middle when you see him in person Johnson is much bigger than expected. His game and movement is not unlike former Sooner Juaquin Iglesias. Though with that being said Johnson is probably a bit more of a threat down the field with elite speed and showed that ability on numerous occasions running past one cornerback after another. He also showed quality hands making several acrobatic catches.

1. Josh Wariboko, Offensive Line - School: Oklahoma City Casady
Analysis: I saw Wariboko way back before he was even a freshman at Casady. Then I thought of him asa promising young defensive lineman. Well when I saw his sophomore film I realized his future was at offensive line. After his showing at the Army combine I still thought him solid but perhaps not spectacular. He has proved me incredibly wrong on that idea and looks to be making the top spot in Oklahoma a true question - something no one thought six months ago.

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