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June 16, 2012

Position breakdown: Defensive line

MORE: R100 Five-Star Challenge details

Rivals.com, the nation's leader in football recruiting coverage, is bringing 100 of the country's top prospects to participate in the inaugural Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge. The free, invite-only camp for the nation's elite will feature 80 prospects from the 2013 class and 20 prospects from the 2014 class. Each position group is loaded, including the defensive line, today's featured group.

Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge: Defensive Line
Montravius Adams, Vienna (Ga.) Dooly County
Kenny Bigelow, Elkton (Md.) Eastern Christian Academy
Caleb Brantley, Crescent City (Fla.)
Andrew Brown, Chesapeake (Va.) Indian River (2014)
Kylie Fitts, Redlands (Calif.) East Valley
Isaiah Golden, Carthage (Texas)
Da'Shawn Hand, Woodbridge (Va.) (2014)
Kerrick Huggins, Dallas (Texas) Skyline
Carl Lawson, Alpharetta (Ga.) Milton
Dee Liner, Muscle Shoals (Ala.)
Joe Mathis, Upland (Calif.)
Malik McDowell, Detroit (Mich.) Loyola (2014)
Torrodney Prevot, Houston (Texas) Alief Taylor
D.J. Ward, Lawton (Okla.)
The star: It's probably Da'Shawn Hand, with maybe Montravius Adams and Kenny Bigelow right behind him. One also could make a case that Andrew Brown should be up there; the rising junior is an electric defensive end with lightning quick speed, terrific moves and the brain to go with it. The 6-feet-4, 300-pound Adams is the country's No. 1-rated defensive tackle. Bigelow, who is 6-3, 322, is No. 2 at his position (strongside defensive end), but the USC commit is higher in Rivals100. He's at No. 6, while Adams is No. 10. Both of these guys are monsters. And each believes he truly might be the best player in the country. Can one of them surge into the Top 5 or higher? The Challenge will provide a stiff test, and possibly could gives us the answer.

The sleeper: There aren't any true sleepers in this field of standouts, but for argument's sake we'll go with Caleb Brantley, Isaiah Golden and Kerrick Huggins. Even though all of these players are four-star prospects and members of the Rivals250, they'll enter the event looking up at Adams, who is the No. 1 defensive tackle, and Brown, who might be No. 1 next year. That should fuel each to perform at a high level in hopes of impressing fellow players and Rivals.com analysts. Brantley, a Florida commit, is among the top defensive recruits in the Sunshine State, but he comes from a relatively rural part of the state so it will be interesting to see him against the best. Golden and Huggins, who are Texas A&M bound, are both looking to supplant Justin Manning and A'Shawn Robinson at the top of a loaded DT class in Texas.

Most versatile: Torrodney Prevot, who is currently uncommitted, can play end or even outside linebacker in college. He reminds some of Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller because of that versatility. Like Miller, Prevot plays defensive end in high school and will do so in college. He's also long, lean and very athletic.

Keep an eye on: Carl Lawson and Dee Liner. Both players recently earned their fifth stars, and each is committed to Auburn. This event not only will give them a chance to showcase their immense skills against the very best, but will help them get to know each other a little better. Lawson is a chiseled weak-side defensive end that bench presses 455 pounds and is extremely quick. Liner is an overpowering prospect that could play either strongside end or tackle in college. The bottom line is that both player are very good, and will be fun to watch.

Battling for respect: Believe it or not, it might be Adams. Despite his lofty ranking, he doesn't feel like he's where he needs to be in the Rivals100. And that's at the top. Adams is an agile, powerful, quick and explosive tackle - a position with an incredibly high value to colleges. He was dominant during the Rising Seniors Georgia Junior Bowl (also in Atlanta) and this is another chance to impress. Adams believes he is every bit as good - if not better - than No. 1-ranked prospect Robert Nkemdiche. This is his chance to prove it.

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