ARLINGTON, Texas — The Pylon 7-on-7 National Championship in the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium is an obvious attraction for some of the nation’s premier quarterbacks, wide receivers and defensive backs.
The 2016 edition of the tournament is no exception.
This tournament has produced multiple first-round NFL draftees, Heisman Trophy winners, All-American college football players and no shortage of both FBS and FCS college alum.
The national championship runs July 2-3 at Mountain View College and AT&T Stadium, and includes teams from Louisiana, Illinois, Florida and various other parts of the country.
Here are 10 prospects to watch during the tournament:
5-star WR Devonta Smith
One of the premier wide receivers talents in the 2017 class, Smith currently ranks as the nation’s No. 10 wide receiver. However, you’d be hard-pressed to find nine better prospects at the position.
The Amite (La.) High School product is as sound of a route-runner as there will be in this tournament and rarely watches a pass hit the turf. Smith is being courted heavily by in-state power LSU, but currently claims that the Tigers, along with other top contenders such as Alabama and Florida State, are on a level playing field.
4-star DB Brad Stewart
One of many elite defensive backs that hail from The Boot in the 2017 class, Stewart is one of the most sought-after corners in the country. His offer sheet has ballooned to nearly 40, with offers from most SEC powers, including Alabama, Florida, Auburn, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas A&M.
A physical corner that beat opposing receivers at the line of scrimmage, Stewart recently wrapped up a college tour through SEC Country, with stops at The Swamp, Auburn, Alabama and Texas A&M, among others. LSU may soon try to jump into the mix, though it might be too late for the nation’s No. 20-rated cornerback.
3-star CB Cheyenne Labruzza
A Tennessee commit, Labruzza has become one of the most widely known prospects from Louisiana this spring. The 3-star prospect from Albany (La.) High School is a two-way player, seeing time in the backfield, at cornerback and at safety. Labruzza is expected to be a standout cornerback at the next level.
The 6-foot, 183-pound defender remains a major LSU cornerback target. Labruzza visited LSU multiple times throughout the spring after earning an offer during the “Boys From The Boot” event in February, but pledged to the Vols during the spring game. He will be returning to the field after a minor injury this offseason. He boasts a 4.25 GPA.
4-star S Todd Harris
The nation’s No. 7 safety, Harris is an obvious playmaker to watch, even though it’s his hard-hitting nature that has helped him ascend as one of the premier prospects in the country. Harris is equally as sound in coverage and will be returning to 7-on-7 action following competition in the Louisiana State Track Championships.
The 4-star safety from Plaquemine (La.) High School is an LSU lean, though he is far from finalizing that decision. The 6-foot, 180-pound defender spent much of the spring on the nearby Baton Rouge, La., campus, but has since made stops at Georgia, Arkansas and Ole Miss. He plans on committing after his senior season at the Under Armour All-American Game.
3-star CB Adam Sparks
Vanderbilt’s newest pledge, Sparks is considered one of the hidden gems from The Boot in the star-studded 2017 recruiting class. The 6-foot, 170-pound prospect is expected to play cornerback for the Commodores despite spending time all across the Dutchtown High School (Geismar, La.) secondary.
The 3-star cornerback committed to Vandy after a superb performance in Nashville, Tenn., during the team’s camp over the weekend, where he became the staff’s top target at the position. Sparks’ first offer came from former LSU assistant Frank Wilson, who is now the head coach at Texas-San Antonio.
4-star CB Kelvin Joseph
The No. 1 prospect from Louisiana in the Class of 2018, Joseph will be one among the most physical defensive backs in attendance at
AT&T Stadium this weekend. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound prospect from Scotlandville Magnet High School (Baton Rouge, La.) is an LSU commit that has been thrust into the national spotlight with a breakout spring, which includes his performance in the 7-on-7 circuit.
Joseph has added offers from Ole Miss, Alabama, Notre Dame and Florida State in a matter of months. Rated as the No. 3 cornerback in the country in next year’s class, he has a chance to shine on another grand stage in Texas as he’ll spend time as a press cornerback and also in the secondary at safety. He is one of the marquee names LSU fans should already know when looking ahead to 2018.
4-star WR Devonta Jason
The second member of LSU’s 2018 recruiting class, Jason has made significant strides as a wide receiver in just about a year’s time. Jason, a 6-foot-3, 180-pound prospect from New Orleans, earned his offer from the in-state program during the 2015 elite prospect camp. A year later, Jason has proven to be one of the top wideouts in the nation — regardless of class — and currently takes claim as the No. 6 receiver in 2018.
The 4-star prospect from Landry-Walker High School (New Orleans) also saw his recruitment take off this spring. He added offers from Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Miami in recent weeks. He should set himself apart in this 7-on-7 competition due to his impressive frame and the way he uses it to bully defenders. Jason also boasts outstanding vertical ability, which makes him a mismatch for any jump-ball situation.
4-star WR Terrace Marshall Jr.
Right ahead of Jason on the list of the Class of 2018’s top receivers is Marshall. The 6-foot-4, 190-pound prospect from Parkway High School (Bossier City, La.) is already one of the most polished route-runners in the country with a prototypical wide receiver frame.
Considered the No. 5 wide receiver in the class and the No. 2 prospect behind only Joseph, Marshall’s recruitment has taken off this spring as he’s bulked up his offer list to double-digits, including overtures from LSU, Alabama, Texas A&M, Arkansas, Mississippi State and Tennessee. Marshall has made visits to only Baton Rouge, La., and Tuscaloosa, Ala., thus far, but eventually surface as one of the most sought-after commodities in the country.
WR Trey Palmer
The rising sophomore has began to put himself in the spotlight this summer as he collected offers from Mississippi State and LSU in a week’s time. The 6-foot, 165-pound wideout from Kentwood (La.) High School has emerged as one of the top wide receiver targets in LSU’s 2019 class.
Wide receiver coach Dameyune Craig spent a lot of time with Palmer at the team’s most recent prospect camp, which is where Les Miles offered the in-state talent. Palmer has a chance to jump on even more teams’ radar at the 7-on-7 national championship event to display his outstanding speed and sure hands against some of the best defensive backs in the country.
CB Derek Stingley Jr.
LSU’s first commitment in the 2019 recruiting cycle, Stingley is the son of former college and Arena League Football player Derek Stingley. In fact, Stingley’s grandfather, Darryl Stingley, was a longtime wide receiver for the New England Patriots, so football has come naturally for the rising sophomore defensive back.
Stingley committed to LSU after receiving an offer during the team’s prospect camp earlier this month. The 6-foot, 170-pound Baton Rouge, La., native has spent time at receiver, cornerback and as a return specialist for his high school team, but is expected to be a cornerback when he arrives at LSU. He’ll have an opportunity to lock down some of the top wide receiver talent in the nation this weekend and give the LSU coaches another glimpse of what he showed earlier this month at camp.
Sam Spiegelman covers LSU football recruiting for SECCountry.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play in Tigers Stadium.