Rivals.com's recruiting staff has been all over the country this summer at events like USC's Rising Senior Camp in Los Angeles, the EA SPORTS Elite 11 Regional Camp in Las Vegas, Florida's Fright Night Lights Camp, the Texas 7-on-7 State Championship in College Station, Texas, the Saugus Under the Lights Passing Tournament in Santa Clarita, Calif., the adidas 7-on-7 National Championship Tournament and many, many more events.
Access to these elite events has given us a great look at more prospects than we've ever seen before, and it's apparent that quite a few players have improved their stock quite a bit this summer. Previously, we took a look at eight prospects on the offensive side of the ball that have helped improve their stock with impressive efforts this summer. Today is the defense's turn as we examine 12 defensive prospects to round out the top 20.
Summer Risers: Defense
Armond Armstead, DT, Elk Grove (Calif.) Pleasant Grove Schools: Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon, USC, Texas A&M and Washington
Was extraordinary at the NIKE Camp at Palo Alto, and then went and dominated at the USC and Arizona summer camps. He also was quite impressive in several AAU basketball tournaments this summer. All of that has given rise to Armstead's stock and he might easily be the fastest rising defensive prospect West of the Mississippi.
Everett Dawkins, DE, Duncan (S.C.) James F. Byrnes Schools: Florida State, Illinois, Maryland, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest Wisconsin
Dawkins isn't going to blow you away with his size – 6-foot-2 and 242 pounds – nor his athletic ability. But everywhere he's gone this summer, he's amazed people with his desire, heart and non-stop motor. Clemson and South Carolina passed on him, but after camp stops at Florida State and Virginia Tech he picked up offers from those schools. It just goes to show you what a lot of determination and want to can do for you.
Marcus Forston, DT, Miami Northwestern Schools: Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, LSU, Miami, Minnesota, North Carolina, Notre Dame, USC
Ok, it's hard to imagine that Forston's stock could rise any higher, but it is. At what was the most loaded camp anywhere in the nation this summer, Forston was dominant and was the top overall prospect at Florida's Friday Night Lights. Sure he's already ranked as the No. 2 defensive tackle in the nation, but can you say five star?
Aaron Hester, CB, Compton Dominguez Schools: Committed to UCLA
At the Saugus Under the Lights Passing Tournament in June, Hester showed why he's considered one of the top pure athletes, not only in California, but in the country. He was hampered with an injury, but still toughed things out and was dominating on offense. He made several acrobatic catches that were simply amazing. He also did his thing at cornerback. While he's already ranked as the nation's No. 10 corner, it's clear he probably deserves to be ranked higher after a strong summer.
Joseph Ibiloye, S, Garland (Texas) South Garland Schools: Committed to Oklahoma
Ibiloye was already widely considered one of the best defensive players in the Lone Star State. Ranked as the No. 18 player overall, Ibiloye was all over the field as a junior and racked up numerous offers from teams like Oklahoma State, USC, Texas A&M, Wisconsin, Miami, Michigan and Nebraska before he pledged to Oklahoma. At the Texas 7-on-7 State Championship, he proved that he might be even better than what he's ranked now. He was dominant at the safety position, plus he's a long athlete with an excellent break on the ball that has special upside.
Janoris Jenkins, CB, Pahokee, Fla. Schools: Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, LSU, Miami, Ole Miss, Rutgers, South Carolina and UCF
Everywhere he's gone he's dominated. He did it again this week at the adidas 7-on-7 National Championship Tournament and then at Florida's Fright Night Lights Camp. Before that he was the man everybody was talking about at the Auburn camp and then also at the Rutgers 7-on-7 camp. Last season, he was the best football player on the field in the Class 2B state title game.
A big powerful cornerback with the lockdown ability that few in the nation have shown in a long time. His performance at the USC Rising Senior Camp is still being talked about. The way he was able to lock down everyone he faced – including Joe Adams – was really impressive. He showed up and walked right to the front of the line and took on everybody that wanted a piece of him.
Solomon Koehler, DT, Kaneohe (Hawaii) Castle Schools: Arizona, California, Colorado, Notre Dame, Oregon State, San Diego State, USC, Hawaii
When Rivals.com ranked Koehler as one of the nation's top defensive tackles, quite a few people were scratching their heads. But if his performance at USC's summer camp proved anything, it's that he's definitely big time. He was great in the one-on-one battles and he even stepped over to offensive guard and did plenty of damage there.
Has really blown up this summer and is a big, nasty South Florida defensive end that is being recruited by all the big boys. The Big Three are all over him, but they're just one of the 40-plus teams that have gotten into the race to land him. What's amazing about him is that he's added even more muscle and is now at 260 pounds and can flat out fly.
Drew McAllister, S, Danville (Calif.) Monte Vista Schools: Committed to USC
McAllister was already regarded as one of the top athletes in California as a dominating quarterback for a solid Monte Vista program. He had offers to play quarterback from Oregon State and several Mountain West schools, but when he showed up at the Rising Senior Camp and tackled everything that was in sight, it was clear that he does have great potential as a safety prospect. He was so physically dominating at one point in the camp, USC coach Pete Carroll had to tell McAllister to take it easy on the receivers.
Darius Parish, DT, Wichita (Kan.) North Schools: Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Colorado State
Everybody knows about star players in Wichita like Arthur Brown, Bryce Brown and Chris Harper, but Parish has emerged this summer to be the best prospect in the Sunflower State that nobody has been talking about. He's raw as can be when it comes to fundamentals and experience. He still hasn't been coached up like many other players, so he's got a huge, huge upside. That's especially true when you consider that Parish is 6-foot-4 and 325 pounds. At a recent Kansas mini-camp in Wichita, he ran a 5.08-second time in the 40-yard dash. That's absolutely blazing for a mountain of a man.
David Whitmore, CB, Port Arthur (Texas) Memorial Schools: Committed to Nebraska
The argument could be made that the best football in the Lone Star State is played in the Port Arthur area, and a big supporter of that case this season is three-star defensive back David Whitmore. The Nebraska-bound cornerback was quite impressive at the Texas 7-on-7 State Championship. In the early part of the recruiting process, he was considered mostly an unknown and untested sleeper. However, he was very good in the tournament and was extremely savvy in zone coverage. He showed off good feet and good mobility. In his team's zone defense, he showed good understanding of his assignments and was at times dominant on his side of the field.