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June 20, 2012

Rivals unveils new Challenge

MORE: Underclassmen Challenge

Rivals.com, the nation's leader in football recruiting coverage, is proud to announce it is inviting the nation's top prospects to participate in the inaugural Rivals Underclassmen Challenge.

This invitation-only camp for the nation's elite from the 2014, 2015 and 2016 recruiting classes will allow the best of the best from all corners of the United States to square. Rivals will invite 200 of the nation's top underclassmen to compete in this camp setting.

The event will be held on July 8 at DeSoto (Texas) High School in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.

Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Mike Farrell is excited about the first-of-its-kind event. He sees it as a sign of things to come in the process of football recruiting.

"As the recruiting process has sped up so quickly in the last couple of years, the focus of summer scouting has become as much about rising juniors and rising sophomores as it has about rising seniors," Farrell said, "so this camp illustrates our focus on finding the top talent in the classes of 2014 and 2015.

"If a young prospect wants to show what he can do on a national stage, this is the camp to do so. It will be mainly for players already on the radar trying to continue to build their budding reputations, but we know we will discover quite a few players as well or realize some prospects are much better than we first thought."

With the inaugural Rivals Five-Star Challenge this week in Atlanta for the top 100 prospects in the country, Rivals.com is becoming a hot camp destination for top recruits.

"The Underclassmen Challenge is a tremendous sister event to our Rivals100 Five Star Challenge and gives us a great 1-2 punch during the summer to evaluate hundreds of prospects," Farrell said.

Some top young recruits have already signed up to participate in the Challenge. Dallas (Texas) Skyline cornerback Cedric Collins has been a varsity starter since his freshman year for one of the best teams in the country and, despite having an impressive offer sheet already, he wants to show he belongs among the nation's best.

Burlington (Ky.) Conner quarterback Drew Barner has several offers already and he will be throwing to some very good targets, such as Mount Pleasant (Texas) wide receiver KD Cannon and Westlake (La.) tight end Jacory Washington.

Two of the top prospects from the state of Kansas are already signed up in Hiawatha defensive end Peyton Newell and Gardner-Edgerton running back Traevohn Wrench.

The West region is already represented with some talented signups, as well, such as Tucson (Ariz.) Sabino offensive tackle Andrew Mike, while the Southeast will be represented by the likes of Kennesaw (Ga.) Harrison cornerback Christopher Murphy and Palm Bay (Fla.) Bayside defensive tackle Travonte Valentine.

Many more of the nation's top young players will be in attendance as well as the signup process continues.

The Underclassmen Challenge will feature plenty of positional drills and 1-on-1s, as well as coaching from some of the top names in the business.

Prospects will be coached through position-specific drills by NFL alumni to test and refine their skills, and prepare them for the camp's 1-on-1 competitions that will match some of the top underclassmen prospects in the country.

This is a great chance for rising juniors, sophomores and even select rising freshmen to gain national exposure at a crucial stage in the recruiting cycle. This is a one-day camp with no combine testing. It is for positional drills, learning from the best and then hours of head-to-head competition against the best young prospects in the country.

DeSoto head coach Claude Mathis is excited about the inaugural event being held at his school.

"Rivals is a great organization," Mathis said. "It gives players, especially some of the younger and off-the-radar guys, tremendous exposure in the recruiting process. It's a great resource for both the kids and the colleges.

"When we had the opportunity to host this event it was a no-brainer for me. I would encourage anybody that is lucky enough to receive and invitation to make their way there. There won't be another event anything like it, that's for sure."



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