The Rivals.com/VTO Sports Elite 100 camp in Cincinnati is underway, and Midwest Region analyst Josh Helmholdt previews the top story lines of the day.
Working for respect
Sleepers always emerge at top camps like the one on Saturday, but several prospects who will participate in the Cincinnati VTO event are prospects we have seen extensively and know can play, but are still lacking the scholarship offers. With coaches ready to hit the road next week to coincide with the start of the spring evaluation period, a strong performance at Saturday's Rivals/VTO event could spark a new wave of offers for several prospects.
Among those participants whose offer lists are currently lighter than their talent suggests are Brownsburg (Ind.) athlete Chase Dutra, Detroit Douglass athlete Demetrius Stinson, Indianapolis Heritage Christian wide receiver Anthony Warrum and Chicago Simeon linebacker Reggie Spearman.
Warrum has yet to pick up his first offer of the process despite a very productive high school career already. Dutra appears on the verge of several big offers, and could receive a big boost from a strong performance Saturday. Stinson is in the same category as Dutra, with his first offer coming just within the last few weeks from Toledo. Spearman holds four early offers, but talentwise should be closer to double digits.
One of the deepest position groups at Saturday's Rivals/VTO camp will be at defensive line. Headlined by four-star Brookfield (Wisc.) Central defensive end Chikwe Obasih, the group features a number of good edge rushers and a handful of intriguing interior linemen.
Trotwood-Madison (Ohio) High is responsible for a good chunk of those top defensive linemen. Class of 2013 ends Jarrod Clements and Trey Williams-Brown hold a number of BCS offers, while sophomore defensive lineman Verdontae Wilkinson is the son of former No. 1 overall NFL draft pick Dan "Big Daddy" Wilkinson.
Another defensive lineman to note is Melvindale (Mich.) Academy of Business and Technology defensive tackle Shawn Watkins. The 6-foot-3, 275-pound Watkins had a breakout performance at the Midwest Elite Big Man Camp in February, but has stayed under most college's radar. Saturday could be a catalyst for a big spring for the big defensive tackle.
Wheelwright vs. Burrows
One of the most anticipated matchups during Saturday's one-on-ones will be a pair of Ohio 2013 prospects going head-to-head. We know what five-star cornerback Cameron Burrows brings to the table after seeing him in previous camps and multiple games. But how will three-star Columbus (Ohio) Walnut Ridge wide receiver Rob Wheelwright stack up against Burrows?
The 6-foot-2, 170-pound Wheelwright holds double-digit BCS scholarship offers and looks very fluid on film. He is the younger brother of former Minnesota wide receiver Ernie Wheelwright, who was a standout for the Golden Gophers. This is a chance for Wheelwright to boost his stock even further if he shows well against one of the nation's top cornerback prospects.
Interesting mix of quarterbacks
Kettering (Ohio) Archbishop Alter four-star quarterback Malik Zaire returned from his spring break on Friday, and planned to turn around and take part in Saturday's Elite 100 Showcase on Saturday. He headlines an interesting group of quarterbacks that spans the spectrum of age and style.
Like Zaire, Lewis Center (Ohio) Olentangy Orange's Kofi Hill and Detroit King's Da'Vaun Williams are also dual-threat quarterbacks. There has been a lot of buzz about the 6-2, 210-pound Hill as an under-the-radar prospect lately and we're interested to see what he brings to the table.
Brecksville (Ohio) Broadview Heights' Tommy Tupa and Columbus (Ohio) Hamilton Township sophomore Micky Crum are big, pro-style type quarterbacks. Crum had a strong showing at last weekend's Adidas Invitational, while Tupa holds several offers and is part of a strong contingent of Ohio quarterbacks in the 2013 class.
For those prospects in attendance at Saturday's VTO Elite 100 Showcase in Cincinnati, the date of the event works perfectly for generating some buzz for their recruitments right as college coaches are set to hit the road for the start of the Spring Evaluation Period on April 15.
A number of top prospects were unable to make the date work with their schedules, however, because of several conflicts. No. 1 is that Saturday is the date of many spring games throughout the Midwest, including Michigan, Indiana, Iowa, Cincinnati, Louisville, Nebraska, Northwestern and Purdue. Another major conflict is that April 14 is a big ACT day across the country, and a number of prospects were already scheduled to take the test on that date.