April 12, 2013

Rivals Camp Series Charlotte: What to watch for

MORE: Rivals Camp Series presented by Under Armour

1. Lone (Five-)Star

Dynamic five-star athlete Elijah Hood was one of the first players to register for the Charlotte camp, so it's clear he's ready to compete. Hood is still being looked at as either a linebacker or running back, but keeps suggesting that he sees himself scoring touchdowns rather than delivering big hits.

Either way, he's the only five-star who will be in Charlotte and he'll be expected to deliver a standout performance.

Last weekend, more conventional backs such as Racean Thomas, Nick Chubb and Stanley Williams all had big days and Hood will be expected to meet or exceed their standout performances.

He's also waffled between a top three and a top six, so Hood could also shed some light on his future football home during the morning media session.

2. Can Grier take the No. 1 spot?

Last Sunday in Atlanta, five-star dual-threat quarterback Deshaun Watson made his case to hang on to his No. 1 overall quarterback spot but this weekend, high four-star Will Grier will stake his claim.

Grier sits just seven spots (No. 18) behind Watson (No. 11) in the Rivals100 and right behind him in the dual-threat and unofficial overall quarterback rankings.

Much like Watson, Grier put up huge numbers last fall, albeit against weaker competition. Now, Grier will have a chance to earn an invite to the Rivals Five-Star Challenge, where he and Watson can compete side-by-side.

Having already committed to Florida, Grier is coming out on Sunday just to compete and participate with some of the top players in the Carolinas, a very good sign from a very talented quarterback.

3. Rising up?

One player who has seen his stock rise through the roof over the past few months is high three-star defensive tackle Lamont Gaillard. He's recently added offers from Alabama, Florida and Georgia and has a prime opportunity to show what he can do and move up the ranks.

At 6-foot-4 and 312 pounds, Gaillard is a massive young man who will likely give offensive linemen fits during one-on-ones. If he performs like many expect he will, he could shoot up the rankings.

Over the past few years, the Carolinas have become a breeding ground for quality defensive linemen and Gaillard appears to be the next in that group.

Last weekend at Rivals Camp Series stops in Birmingham and Atlanta, three, three-star or lower prospects earned MVP honors and drastically helped their stock. If there's a safe bet for someone to upset the apple cart again this week, it's Gaillard.

4. Miller time?

With big-name linebackers such as Shaun Dion Hamilton, Tre Williams and Raekwon McMillan all turning in standout performances last week and Dillon Bates and Kain Daub earning Five-Star Challenge invites in Florida, plenty of linebackers are making headlines on the Rivals Camp Series presented by Under Armour.

Next in line is Christian Miller. He's already the No. 91 player in the country and a Florida commit, but he wants to be in the same conversation with Hamilton and others at the top of the list.

Miller has pretty much shut down his recruiting since committing to Florida in February and is focused on preparing for college.

Already one of the most athletic players in his state, it will be interesting to see how Miller has progressed physically during the offseason. He'll also be matched up with guys such as Hood in one-on-ones, so he'll be tested plenty.

5. Underclassmen to watch

With 11 four-star players from the class of 2014 expected to attend, there will be plenty of star power on the field from the rising senior class. But the amount of talent from classes 2014 and 2015 can't be underestimated.

Class of 2015 defensive ends Shameik Blackshear and Albert Huggins are two of the best defensive players in their class and each is garnering interest from some of the country's top college programs.

With underclassmen offensive linemen Drew Richmond and Mitch Hyatt earning Five-Star Challenge invites based on outstanding performances last weekend, both Blackshear and Huggins will be gunning to join them in the field.

In addition to competing against upperclassmen, the two South Carolina prospects will also be competing against each other for the chance to take an early lead in the race for the state's No. 1 overall ranking next year.



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