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June 6, 2013

Five-Star Challenge Preview

The second annual Rivals100 Five Star Challenge will be held in Chicago June 7-9, and the field is loaded with some of the nation's top talent.

Prospects from all over the country will make the trip to the Windy City to put their talents on display in drill work, one-on-one, and seven-on-seven action at legendary Soldier Field.

With a field saturated with elite prospects, Georgia fans have to be excited by the number of top targets in Chicago this weekend, and below, UGASports takes a look at those targets and where the Bulldogs currently stand with each.

OLB Lorenzo Carter (Norcross) - There may not be a prospect in the country with a higher ceiling than Carter. He is already and elite play maker on Friday nights, but it is also clear that his best football is ahead of him. The Five-Star Challenge is a great place for Carter to put his talent on display against some of the top offensive linemen in the country, and it will be interesting to see how Carter uses his length and explosiveness to compete in one-on-one drills.

Where UGA stands: Carter hasn't made it official yet, but it appears that this is a two-team battle. Georgia and Alabama are at the top of his list, and both schools seem to have a lead over the rest of the field. Alabama has a strong history of getting players out of Norcross and the Crimson Tide hosted the five-star prospect for a three-day weekend earlier in the spring. Georgia, however, has gotten Carter on campus twice in 2013 and the blue chip pass rusher has gone on the record as saying how much he likes UGA's success at developing pass rushers. This one is nowhere near over, and the next few months will be big. Don't count out Florida, Florida State, or LSU either as those teams could enter the mix in the near future.

RB Sony Michel (American Heritage; Plantation, Fla.) - The Five-Star challenge format is one in which Michel has a chance to thrive. The Georgia commitment has an elite ability to change direction and is ultra talented in space. He should be a big time weapon for his team in the seven-on-seven tournament, and Michel will be looking to show everyone in attendance that he has fully recovered from an ACL injury in his sophomore season.

Where UGA stands: Georgia landed a commitment from Michel in the spring, and since that time, the five-star running back hasn't taken any visits. Immediately after committing to Georgia, Michel told Rivals.com that he would only take one official visit, and that would be to UGA.

RB Joe Mixon (Freedom; Oakley, Calif.) - Mixon is one of the hottest prospects in the country right now and, like Michel, he should be a major weapon for his team in the seven-on-seven portion of the event. Mixon has excellent length to go with strong hands and his explosiveness should make it tough for linebackers to check him in the passing game. Mixon will be looking move up even farther in the Rivals.com rankings as he just earned his fifth star in the last set of evaluations.

Where UGA stands: Mixon has consistently stated throughout his recruitment that Georgia is a program that stands out for him. UGA running backs' coach Bryan McClendon has built a strong relationship with the five-star prospect, and he is already planning to take one of his official visits to Athens this fall. At this time, schools like Oregon, Notre Dame, UCLA, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin all figure to be major players in Mixon's recruitment. Georgia could be getting a commitment within the next six days from Rivals100 running back Nick Chubb, but Mixon is definitely one to keep an eye on because of his interest in the Bulldogs.

LB Raekwon McMillan (Liberty County) - McMillan competed in the Five-Star challenge in 2012 as an underclassman, so this will the second time around for the Peach State prospect. McMillan isn't the type of player that thrives in the camp setting, but he is plenty athletic enough to make plays in both the one-on-one and seven-on-seven portions. If he uses his hands and redirects running backs and tight ends like he is supposed to, his length and instincts should allow him to make some plays on the ball.

Where UGA stands: At this time, we don't consider Georgia a major player for McMillan. The Bulldogs aren't out of it for the five-star talent, but Ohio State, Clemson, and Alabama are all ahead of Georgia for McMillan. UGA could make a move in the coming months, but that move will have to be a big one.

DE Kentavious Street (Rose; Greenville, N.C.) - Street has shown us once before that he can dominate a camp. After being virtually unknown back in January, Street showed up at the U.S. Army All American Combine in San Antonio and turned heads. The 6-foot-3, 260 pounder has violent hands and excellent quickness, and he is almost unblockable when he brings his hips on a bull rush. Due to his size and athleticism, he could give offensive lineman fits in Chicago.

Where UGA stands: Street has North Carolina State as his top school right now with Miami, LSU, and Georgia in that top group. Georgia was the leader for a while before Street visited the Wolfpack, and the five-star prospect is originally from the Peach State. Right now, Georgia has some catching up to do but the Bulldogs are poised to make up that gap once they get Street on campus this summer.

WR Josh Malone (Station Camp; Gallatin, Tenn.) - Malone was unstoppable at the Rivals Camp series stop in Atlanta and a lot of that has to do with his combination of size, speed, and quickness. At 6-foot-3, Malone possessed elite length and strong hands. He also has the speed to stretch the field, and the most impressive part of his game is how he accelerates out of his cuts. He gets into his break quickly and gets out equally as fast. There will be some excellent defensive backs in Chicago, but Malone should make his fair share of big plays and he will have a chance to make a case to be the top receiver in the country.

Where UGA stands: A few weeks ago, no one would have though Georgia had a chance with Malone. As a matter of fact, the Bulldogs had yet to offer. But once UGA decided to target the four-star receiver, things started to get interesting. Malone visited Athens last weekend, and came away having decided to take one of his five official visits to UGA. Notre Dame, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt are all in the mix, but Georgia is the only school that has essentially secured as spot in his top five. Add that to the fact that his family holds Mark Richt in high regard, and Georgia could be considered a favorite for his signature at this time.

OL Isaiah Wynn (Lakewood; St. Petersburg, Fla.) - Wynn was one of the biggest movers in the last Rivals.com recruiting rankings because of his performance at the Rivals Camp in Atlanta. Wynn has tremendous length for an interior offensive lineman, and excellent feet. One could make an argument that the 6-foot-3, 270 pounder it the best athlete of all the offensive linemen in Chicago. He has the strength to handle interior rushers, and the combination of length, quickness, and patience to handle guys on the edge. He should be fun to watch.

Where UGA stands: Wynn has named Georgia his leader with Vanderbilt and Florida being the Bulldogs' main competition. The Commodores got on Wynn early, but after a visit to Athens and an offer, Georgia appears to be the team to beat. This one is a long way from over as Wynn wants to visit a number of campuses with his family, but Georgia is in strong position as of now.

OL Mitch Hyatt (North Gwinnett) - Hyatt is one of the 20 underclassmen that will be at the Five-Star challenge, but the 6-foot-6 270 pounder can and likely will hold his own. Hyatt has ultra long arms and great feet. He plays with strong technique, and is patient when he gets in his pass set. Some of the bigger, stronger pass rushers may give Hyatt problems, but he should excel against edge rushers.

Where UGA stands: It is hard to tell where Georgia sits right now with Hyatt. The 2015 standout told UGASports recently that he hasn't really gotten the recruiting process started yet, but Clemson has an early edge because of the fact that he has been to so many games in Death Valley. Hyatt grew up a Clemson fan, but he insists he isn't a lock to the Tigers and all teams will be given and equal shot.



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