Top 5 Performing Recruits from 2014 Rivals Five-Star Challenge
Many of the nation's most coveted college football prospects flocked to Baltimore last weekend to participate in the Rivals Five-Star Challenge. The event drew premier playmakers from every corner of the country, as future collegiate teammates and foes flashed their abilities among elite company.
Several standouts validated the hype surrounding their recruitment process by delivering dominant performances. Here's a look at five competitors who shined on the big stage.
OL Richie Petitbon (Washington, D.C.)
The 2015 Alabama recruiting class was well represented in Baltimore. Crimson Tide commit Richie Petitbon earned praise for his powerful effort against an array of impressive defenders.
The versatile 6'4", 301-pound prospect from Gonzaga College High School landed offensive line MVP honors. Petitbon stands out as a fundamentally sound blocker on game tape and turned heads by carrying that technique into the Five-Star Challenge.
"He extended his arms effectively, anchored well and was hard to move," according to Rivals (subscription required).
Petitbon is capable of playing a variety of positions across the offensive front, making him a strong candidate to crack the lineup early in Tuscaloosa. He pledged to Alabama in April.
Rated No. 4 nationally among guards in 247Sports' composite rankings, Petitbon also holds offers from Ohio State, Tennessee, Wisconsin and LSU, among others.
CB Iman Marshall (Long Beach, California)
Iman Marshall didn't disappoint during his trip to the East Coast. The 6'1", 190-pound cornerback competed against college-ready receivers and looked the part of a shutdown talent in coverage.
Marshall, a Long Beach Poly High School star, didn't allow a pass completion in in six Moore League games as a junior. He stuck to pass targets like glue again in Baltimore.
"After day one cornerback drills, no doubt to me that LB Poly five star Iman Marshall is the No. 1 cornerback in the nation," Rivals reporter Gerard Martinez tweeted.
Marshall manhandled opponents and continued to show off tremendous anticipation. He can head back to California with his head held high after being named defensive back MVP.
Rated No. 2 nationally among cornerbacks in 247Sports' composite rankings, he is still considering several offers. A lengthy list of possibilities includes Notre Dame, Ohio State, LSU, Michigan and USC.
RB Kerryon Johnson (Madison, Alabama)
Auburn commit Kerryon Johnson is viewed as one of the most dynamic athletes in the 2015 recruiting cycle. He secured MVP honors in the 2012 state title game as a sophomore by leading Madison Academy with three touchdowns and has seen his stock soar since.
Johnson, a 6'0", 200-pound speedster, worked with the running backs in Baltimore but proved he's far more than just a ball-carrier. His receiving skills were on full display during seven-on-seven drills.
"Obviously, he's used to catching the football so I think that was an advantage," Rivals analyst Mike Farrell said (via AuburnSports.com's Bryan Matthews). "But the way he caught the ball on some badly thrown passes, behind him, he didn't slow down. I don't think he dropped a ball all weekend."
Rated No. 3 nationally among athletes in 247Sports' composite rankings, Johnson presents a multidimensional threat out of the backfield. He was named running back MVP at the Five-Star Challenge.
Johnson pledged to the Tigers in April over fellow finalists Florida State and Alabama.
DE Byron Cowart (Seffner, Florida)
Byron Cowart made another strong case to be considered the country's most complete defensive end. The 6'4", 250-pound disruptor did his best to back up a junior season that featured 72 tackles and 13 sacks.
Matched up against talented maulers in the trenches, Cowart consistently commanded respect.
"The offensive linemen here agreed with Byron Cowart's No. 1 overall [Rivals] ranking. He was mostly unblockable," analyst Radi Nabulsi tweeted.
Cowart earned defensive line MVP honors following the tenacious display.
His recruitment remains wide open, with a mix of potential landing spots. Oregon, Florida, Auburn and Alabama are among the contenders.
WR Trent Irwin (Newhall, California)
Trent Irwin has spent his high school career as the top target for Hart High School quarterback Brady White, a 4-star prospect who pledged to Arizona State in May. The 6'2", 190-pound receiver enjoyed a successful day against a sensational group of secondary standouts.
He caught 14 passes and scored four touchdowns for his seven-on-seven squad in Baltimore, per Kevin Stewart of Rivals.
The effort earned Irwin wide receiver MVP honors and solidified his place among America's top high school pass-catchers. His ability to high-point the football in traffic helps separate him from the pack.
Irwin, rated No. 16 nationally among receivers in 247Sports' composite rankings, was downright dominant last fall. He finished his junior season with 76 receptions for 1,456 yards and 19 touchdowns, per MaxPreps.
The Sun Devils aim to pair him with White at the next level. However, Arizona State faces serious competition from Stanford, Cal, Penn State, Washington and several other suitors.
All recruit information and ratings courtesy of 247Sports unless otherwise noted.
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