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April 4, 2012
Previously known as the Midwest Showcase and held in Ann Arbor (Mich.) the last two years, the Adidas Invitational is set to take over the Pontiac Silverdome, former home of the NFL's Detroit Lions, on Saturday.
The event has increased its overall talent level each of the past two years, and 2012's version promises to be the most talent-laden roster yet. This year it is headlined by two prospects ranked among the top 50 in the country - Warren (Mich.) De La Salle quarterback Shane Morris and Fort Wayne (Ind.) Bishop Luers linebacker Jaylon Smith.
Morris and Smith are among the most competitive elite prospects in the Midwest. We've already seen each of them at least once this off-season, and they continue to show their competitive streak by making their way to events such as the one this weekend.
Other four-star Midwest prospects joining Morris and Smith on the expected attendees roster are Birmingham (Mich.) Brother Rice linebacker Jon Reschke and Detroit Cass Tech teammates Jourdan Lewis and David Dawson.
More than three dozen Midwest prospects currently sporting Division I offers are expected to attend Saturday's Invitational, but the event will also feature prospects from outside the Midwest matching their talent against the region's best. A notable out-of-region attendee will be four-star Upland (Calif.) defensive end Joe Mathis, the nation's No. 93 ranked prospect, who also plans to visit Michigan and Michigan State during his stay in the area.
Another prospect making the long trip into the Detroit area for the Adidas Invitational is Tampa Catholic three-star wide receiver Zach Benjamin. A legit 6-4, 186 pounds, Benjamin is a prospect who is gaining momentum on the recruiting trail, and could give his stock another boost with this weekend's appearance at the Silverdome.
There will be plenty of already well-known class of 2013 prospects looking to improve their stock heading into the spring evaluation period. Included among them are St. Paul (Minn.) Cretin-Derham Hall athlete James Onwualu, Akron (Ohio) Firestone wide receiver Kevin Gladney, Canton (Mich.) offensive guard Cameron Dillard and Michigan tight end commit Khalid Hill.
Other three-star prospects expected to attend include Chelsea (Mich.) running back Berkley Edwards, Akron (Ohio) Copley running back Aregeros Turner, Grand Blanc (Mich.) linebacker Luke MacLean as well as Detroit Cass Tech teammates Kenton Gibbs and Delano Hill.
There will certainly be others less well known looking to improve their stock. Some we expect to have good showings include Walled Lake (Mich.) Western safety Joshua Jones, Fort Wayne (Ind.) Bishop Luers wide receiver Mike Rogers, Lewis Center (Ohio) Olentangy Orange athlete Kofi Hill, Royal Oak (Mich.) Shrine Catholic receiver Jack Wangler, Detroit Crockett cornerback Desmond King and Detroit Cass Tech offensive tackle Dennis Finley.
The classes of 2014 and 2015 will also be on display at the Silverdome. Sturgis (Mich.) quarterback Chance Stewart, Columbus (Ohio) Bishop Hartley cornerback Alonzo Saxton, Detroit Loyola defensive end Malik McDowell, St. Paul (Minn.) Cretin-Derham Hall quarterback Ricardo Johnson III and Farmington Hills (Mich.) Harrison running back Lorenzo Collins are already household names in the 2014 class.
By this time next year, expect Detroit Cass Tech teammates Deon Drake, Damon Webb, William White and Gary Hosey as well as Traverse City (Mich.) St. Francis Catholic defensive tackle Jake Khoury to be well known. They can kick off their recruitments with breakout performances at the Adidas Invitational this weekend.
The camp season does not get started in the Midwest in earnest until the month of April, and Saturday's Adidas Invitational kicks off a long string of events in the region. Rivals.com will have full coverage of the event starting this weekend.