Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Rivals Underclassmen Challenge in DeSoto draws nation's top football recruits
DESOTO — The growing sophistication of high school recruiting and summer camps was on display Sunday as 235 of the nation’s top football players took part in the Rivals Underclassman Challenge presented by Under Armour at Ben Dial Stadium.
After a series of 15 regional camps across the country in the last five months, the invitation-only camp had players from 36 states selected by Rivals.com recruiting analysts.
Among the top North Texas juniors-to-be participating were Stephenville quarterback Jarrett Stidham, running backs Jordan Stevenson of Skyline and Chris Warren of Rockwall, and Mesquite Poteet linebacker Malik Jefferson.
Dylan Moses of Baton Rouge, La., an incoming freshman who received an offer from Alabama as an eighth-grader, attended.
Former San Diego State coach Al Luginbill, the director of operations for the Rivals Camp Series, said his staff has already evaluated 2,200 players from the Class of 2015.
“Recruiting has moved up a full year from what it used to be,” said Luginbill, who recruited Marshall Faulk to SDSU in 1991. “Colleges already have 80 percent of their ’14 [class], and those guys aren’t even seniors yet. The colleges are thirsting for information on the younger guys.”
Poteet’s Jefferson was a starting linebacker as a sophomore, and the 6-3, 215-pounder has received offers this spring from Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Texas, Ohio State, Mississippi, Michigan, Clemson and Florida State, among others. He has taken a visit to Ole Miss and may visit A&M or Texas during the summer.
“I’m ready to get back into high school mode for the season,” Jefferson said.
Prime Prep’s rising star: Receiver James Proche, a junior-to-be at Prime Prep, was among the top performers. Linebacker Nick Grant took part also. Both play at Prime Prep, the charter school co-founded by former Cowboy Deion Sanders, which competed in its first season in 2012.
Proche is considered somewhat undersized (5-11, 170), but he’s fast and fluid, and his sure hands and route-running skills are impressing colleges. Off multiple strong performances in spring camps, he’s received offers from SMU and Tulsa.
Whenever he’s around a new group of players and coaches, the routine is the same.
“They always ask, ‘What’s Deion like?’” Proche said. “I just tell them he’s cool, laid back and knows a lot about football.”
Briefly: Cedar Hill’s projected starting quarterback, junior-to-be Justin McMillan, was at the camp along with sophomore Malachi Broadnax and freshman Avery Davis, two other quarterbacks at the school. … Mansfield Lake Ridge defensive lineman Michael Mondy was among the top freshmen receiving an invitation. … Among the top sophomores were DeSoto quarterback Tristan Wallace, Parish Episcopal offensive lineman Douglas Tucker and receivers Kirk Johnson of Cedar Hill and MJ Clark of Sachse.