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July 4, 2012
Underclassmen Challenge: Ten with offers
More than 500 prospects nationwide in the classes of 2014 and 2015 already lay claim to Division I offers. Many of the best will be in Dallas this weekend for the Rivals Underclassmen Challenge. Here is a look at 10 from the 2014 class whose recruitments are already well under way.
QB Drew Barker, Burlington (Ky.) Conner: Barker just picked up his sixth offer last month from South Carolina following a workout with Gamecocks' quarterback coach G.A. Mangus. Previous offers had come in from Cincinnati, Illinois, Louisville, Purdue and Western Kentucky. The 6-foot-3, 204-pound Barker has the ideal tools for a pro-style quarterback: he is big, accurate and has clean arm mechanics. He will lead a deep crop of quarterbacks into Dallas this weekend.
DE Keyon Brown, Wauchula (Fla.) Hardee: At the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge last month, it was Alpharetta (Ga.) Milton defensive end Carl Lawson who emerged as the most dominant pass rusher from the event. Like Lawson, the 6-foot-2, 230-pound Brown does not have great height, but is explosive off the edge and could prove to be the most difficult to block in Dallas this coming weekend. Offers have already come in for Brown from heavy-hitters like LSU and Miami.
WR K.D. Cannon, Mount Pleasant, Texas: One of the hottest names in the state of Texas for the 2014 class over the last month has been Cannon, who had strong outings at both Oklahoma's and Texas' camps in June. Cannon will look to carry that play into the Rivals Underclassmen Challenge, where he will face a bevy of top defensive back talent. The 6-foot-1, 160-pound Cannon earned an offer from the Sooners after his camp appearance in Norman, and also holds tenders from the likes of Baylor, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and West Virginia.
RB Jonathan Haden, Washington (D.C.) Friendship Academy: The younger brother of Cleveland Browns' cornerback Joe Haden, this tailback from the nation's capital is looking to carve his own path and will get a chance to showcase his wares in Dallas. The 5-foot-8, 190-pound Haden rushed for 1,100 yards and 12 touchdowns as a sophomore for an always-talented Friendship Academy squad. His brother's former college coach, Urban Meyer, has already offered Haden a scholarship at Ohio State and North Carolina is also on board early with an offer.
LB Cameron Hampton, Dallas (Tex.) Carter: It has already been a productive summer for the Hampton, and offers have come in from the likes of Clemson, LSU, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and West Virginia. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound linebacker has turned heads this summer by clocking 40-yard dash times in the 4.5 range. He will welcome a number of the top underclass linebackers in the country to his hometown this weekend.
CB Chris Hardeman, Houston (Tex.) Alief Taylor: Few in the country can boast an offer list as impressive as Hardeman's. Five of the six BCS Conferences are represented among his 20 scholarship offers, with only the Big East yet to join the group. Speed is the hallmark of Hardeman's game, and he already boasts a 10.5 100 meters time despite having only just completed his sophomore year of high school. The 5-foot-9, 178-pound corner is not the biggest defensive back, but he has no trouble playing physical.
OT Demetrius Knox, Fort Worth (Tex.) All Saints Episcopal: This will be Knox's second major showcase of the summer, after he was one of just 20 class of 2014 prospects invited to participate in the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge last month in Atlanta. The experience Knox gained from playing against the best defensive linemen in the classes of 2013 should serve him well when he matches up against a talented group of pass rushers from his own class. The 6-foot-5, 300-pounder has already gone national, with offers from Alabama, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio State and UCLA.
DB C.J. Reavis, Chester (Va.) Thomas Dale: With classmates Da'Shawn Hand, Andrew Brown and Quin Blanding hogging all the attention in the state of Virginia's 2014 class, Reavis will head to Dallas looking to steal some of their spotlight. The 6-foot, 190-pound safety has done a solid job thus far of attracting college coaches' attention, boasting scholarship offers from Boston College, Maryland, North Carolina, N.C. State, Virginia and Virginia Tech.
DT Travonte Valentine, Palm Bay (Fla.) Bayside: The recruiting process began early, and ended early, for the 6-foot-3, 283-pound Valentine. The Florida native committed to Louisville in May, though he may continue to take visits until he signs his letter of intent in February, 2014. Prior to the Louisville commitment, Valentine held offers from the likes of Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Clemson, Miami, Michigan State and West Virginia.
DE Gerald Willis III, New Orleans (La.) Edna Karr: The younger brother of class of 2012 five-star safety Landon Collins, Willis carries a much different build than his elder sibling, but the attention he is receiving from colleges is very similar. The 6-foot-3, 260-pound Willis recorded 48 tackles, eight sacks and four forced fumbles as a sophomore and has earned scholarship offers from the likes of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, LSU, Miami, Nebraska, TCU and Texas A&M.