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June 13, 2012
Rivals.com, the nation's leader in football recruiting coverage, is bringing 100 of the country's top prospects to participate in the inaugural Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge. The free, invite-only camp for the nation's elite will feature 80 prospects from the 2013 class and 20 prospects from the 2014 class. Each position group is loaded, including the quarterbacks, today's featured group.
While there are two five-star prospects in this group, it's clear that Browne is the star and the one that everyone will be watching. Receivers and tight ends have requested they catch passes from him already even though they aren't on his team, and he will get his chance to spread the wealth Saturday during one-on-ones and prep. But come Sunday when the 7-on-7 tournament is in full force, Browne will be challenged by some great defensive backs and linebackers. He'll face the pressure of the old saying in 7-on-7 play: the team with the best quarterback wins.
It's hard to be a sleeper in this group, but since he is ranked the lowest of the four, we will have to go with Hackenberg. Penn State fans are upset he's a national top-10 recruit elsewhere and only No.143 on
Rivals.com, but he is still a top seven quarterback nationally. Let's just say he's the guy who hasn't received the accolades of the others. His team is certainly the underdog heading into this event against regions that boast Florida/Georgia, Texas and California. Can he pull off the upset?
KEEP AN EYE ON
McCrary is an athletic quarterback and ranked as the top signal-caller in the Southeast, but following his commitment to Vanderbilt, a lot of people have overlooked his ability. Had he chosen a bigger program, he'd be a bigger name but working under James Franklin in Nashville, McCrary could be the weapon the Commodores need to break out in the SEC. While 7-on-7 play isn't his strength, he will be leading the Southeast team, a team always favored to win these kind of events.
MOST TO PROVE
Without a doubt, it's Swoopes. He is not a 7-on-7 quarterback, but playing at a small classification in Texas and doing more damage with his feet, he needs to show he can be a passer first. He has improved greatly at each camp, and if that progress continues, he could be the most dangerous weapon to hit the Big 12 since RG3 and a guy named Vince Young. He has a great chance to quiet some critics.
BEST CHANCE TO BOOST STOCK
Hackenberg is the only one outside the Rivals100, but McCrary could also boost his stock here. Browne and Swoopes are already five-stars, but they could also raise their stock and Browne could start to make a case to be No. 1 overall with a lights-out performance. USC, Texas, Vanderbilt and Penn State fans will all be following closely to see how their future guns handle the pressure.