There is good reason to track the happenings at this weekend's Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge Presented by Under Armour, and not just because there are a record 18 five-star players competing. Based on the first two years of the event, there is a very good chance you will see these same players in major college stadiums very soon. Of the 158 rising juniors who competed in the first two Rivals100 Five-Star Challenges, 155 signed with Power 5 schools the following February, including all 78 from last year's Chicago event. That is 98 percent over two years, and that number should hold steady this year.
Forty of the players from this year's Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge roster have verbally committed, which is up from last year (24), and down from the first year of the event (48). Alabama has nine commitments, and 22 of the 40 have pledged to SEC schools.
Why so many SEC commitments early on? Part of it is the makeup of this year's roster, which slants heavily toward the South. Georgia (20 players) and Florida (19) are the two states most represented, with California third (12) and Texas fourth (10). California had the most players in both 2012 and 2013 when the events were held in Atlanta and Chicago.
The other part of the equation is simply the fact that the SEC has signed the most Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge participants both years. In 2012, 25 of the 77 signees went to the SEC, with the Pac-12 checking in with 20. In 2013, that number rose to 28 of 78, with the Pac-12 a distant second at 14.
As far as the five-star power, this weekend's Baltimore event will feature 11 on the defensive side of the ball (including six DBs) and seven on offense. In both 2012 and 2013, there were 12 five-stars in attendance at each event.
Here is a look at some of the numbers heading into this weekend's event:
FIVE-STAR CHALLENGE: BY THE NUMBERS
Byron Cowart is one of 18 five-stars set to compete in Baltimore.
Players entering their senior year
Players who signed with Power 5 schools
Players who signed with SEC schools
Committed players entering event
States represented on roster
Players from Georgia
Players from Florida
Players from California
Players from Texas
* - Twenty-two players are committed to SEC schools, with nine committed to Alabama.
** - LSU signed seven, Ohio State signed six, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Alabama signed five.
*** - USC signed seven, UCLA signed six and Texas, Oklahoma, Michigan and Texas A&M signed five.