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June 14, 2012
Position breakdown: Offensive line
The sleeper: Brendan Mahon is a big, powerful drive-blocking offensive tackle who will have no trouble trading blows with defensive linemen. But the 6-foot-5, 315-pound Penn State commit is also a better athlete than he is given credit for. We saw him at the U.S. Army Junior Combine in January going against several of the defensive linemen he will face again in Atlanta, and Mahon more than held his own en route to first team all-combine honors.
Keep an eye on: The Midwest/Northeast team has the shortest group of offensive linemen, which begs the question: How will they handle the speed and length of the nation's top defensive linemen? What the team does bring to the table is experience. David Dawson (6-4, 305), Khaliel Rodgers (6-3, 320), Brendan Mahon (6-5, 315) and Derwin Gray (6-4, 291) were all active on the camp-and-combine scene and have faced off and excelled against some of the top defensive line talent in the country already this spring.
Most to prove: Offensive tackle Chris Fox is the nation's No. 4 prospect at his position, but not much has been seen of the 6-foot-6, 297-pounder this off-season. Fox was very active last summer and that fed into a strong junior campaign, but he has not seen the level of talent in Colorado that he will face in Atlanta. Fox made an early commitment to Michigan and hasn't had to be out competing for offers on the camp scene like others across the country. The question is, will he come in ready to back up his high ranking?
Top Underclassmen: Each of the three class of 2014 offensive linemen attending the Five-Star Challenge - Casey Tucker (6-6, 275), Demetrius Knox (6-5, 300) and Donell Stanley (6-3, 311) - have multiple offers in hand already, but Knox comes in with the most fanfare. However, Stanley may be the most complete of the group right now, while Tucker's combination of length and athleticism is tailor-made for the event. The trio will battle it out to get an early jump on top honors at their position for the 2014 class.
Best chance to boost their stock: With the amount of speed represented from the defensive linemen participating in the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge, the setup should favor tall and athletic offensive linemen. Phoenix tackle Kenny Lacy certainly fits that profile at 6-foot-6 and 270 pounds. Lacy has the feet and athleticism to kick out and handle the speed he will see off the edge in Atlanta. If he can also show the strength to consistently battle against this level of talent, he could be in line for a move up the rankings.