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April 11, 2013
RICHMOND, VA. -- The Rivals Camp Series presented by Under Armour will head to Richmond this weekend and many top story lines are expected to emerge. Here are five things to watch for this weekend.
1. Hand-ling the Top Spot
More than a few players nationwide are challenging Da'Shawn Hand for the top spot in the Rivals100. In fact, there will be three other five-stars looking to knock Hand off his perch in Richmond. Hand, a defensive end from Woodbridge (Va.) Woodbridge Senior, is one of those rare prospects who only comes around every few years. His unique combination of size, quickness and athleticism makes him nearly unstoppable. Hand has also been developing his skills in the open field, hoping to prove he can cover running backs or play as an outside linebacker.
Fellow five-star defensive linemen Andrew Brown and Kentavious Street will be gunning for the top ranking in Richmond. Brown is a beast at his defensive tackle position, overpowering offensive linemen. He also has the quickness and technique to get around the opposing lineman.
Street may not be as athletic as Hand, but he is probably stronger. He could be a serious contender to take Hand's top spot if he can show improved technique and athleticism off the edge.
Also watch out for the nation's top safety prospect and Virginia commit, Quin Blanding. The 6-foot-2, 196-pounder from Virginia Beach (Va.) Bayside is the total package. He covers a lot of ground, sees the field well, is very physical and has great leaping ability to make a ton of plays on the ball. If Blanding can shut down the top receivers in Richmond, he could overtake Hand at the top of the Rivals100.
2. All-Star D-Line
Hand, Brown and Street won't be the only big names on the defensive line on April 13. Jalyn Holmes, Derrick Nnadi, Ricky Walker, Vincent Mihota, Tim Settle, Adam McLean and plenty of other studs will be trying make it a long day for the offensive linemen.
Holmes and Nnadi are both top 40 players in the country who can dominate an opposing offensive line. Walker is rated as the nation's No. 15 defensive tackle and Mihota, a Virginia Tech commit, is the No. 13 strongside defensive end in the country. Both have been itching to get out and improve their ranking.
The young talent on the defensive line is very impressive. Class of 2015 prospects Settle and McLean already have a few FBS offers, while Camaron Spence and Brian Manuel have been rumored to be the next big things on the defensive line.
3. Air Traffic Control
There will be an insane amount of talent in the defensive backfield in Richmond. Of course, there is Blanding, the lone five-star defensive back, but the list certainly does not stop there. Rivals250 members Jalen Tabor, D'Andre Payne and C.J. Reavis will also be manning the secondary.
There will be an abundance of talented three-star players looking to prove they deserve their fourth star. This group is headlined by Marvin Stewart, Marcus Allen, Alameen Murphy, Daejuan Funderburk and Georgia Tech commit Miles Taylor.
One of the most exciting parts of the Richmond camp will be the chance to compare top players from the younger classes to the seniors. This crop of underclassmen looks like it could give the upperclassmen a run for their money.
Settle, McLean, Manuel and Spence are adding their names to an already deep group of defensive linemen. Matthew Burrell, Patrick Allen and the rest of the offensive linemen will have the daunting task of trying to block this one-of-a-kind defensive line group.
The headline underclassmen at the skills positions have to be linebacker Ricky DeBerry and cornerback Garrett Taylor. The two are from Richmond (Va.) St. Christopher's and have been raking in offers faster than almost every other recruit in the 2015 class.
Other rising players that will be in Richmond include Eric Kumah, Chuck Davis, Keon Paye, Robbie Robinson, Kasim Hill, Keandre Jones and Lorenzo Harrison. Kumah is a 2016 receiver with a Tennessee offer. Davis and Paye are 2015 defensive backs with North Carolina offers. Jones is a 2016 athlete with an offer from Virginia.
5. 757 Dominance
Talented players from all over the Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C., area will be descending on Deep Run High School, but no area is sending a more talented group of players than the Virginia Beach area known as "the 757."
Five-stars Andrew Brown (Oscar Smith) and Quin Blanding (Bayside) hail from this corner of Virginia, as do Rivals250 players Jalyn Holmes (Lake Taylor), Derrick Nnadi (Ocean Lakes) and Jamil Kamara (Bishop Sullivan Catholic). Four-star defensive tackle Ricky Walker from Hampton (Va.) Bethel will be there as well.
Three-stars Aaron Glover (Princess Anne), Tyrique Booth (Western Branch) and Virginia Tech commit Marshawn Williams (Phoebus) are going to show off their skills. So will underclassmen Jaason Lewis (Ocean Lakes) and Robbie Robinson (Phoebus). Other areas are sending some very good players to the event, but none have a list that is this deep.