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July 25, 2012
Dallas Jackson is the High School Football analyst for Rivals.com. Email him your question, comment or story ideas to DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.
HOOVER, Ala. - As the last major summer circuit passing tournament before fall practices start, the National Select 7-on-7 is also one of the best. There will be some elite teams and prospects taking to the field at the 10th annual event outside of Birmingham from Thursday through Saturday. Here are three storylines to watch headed into the event.
Which quarterback will shine?
Of the 32 teams there are already 11 starting quarterbacks who are in the Rivals.com database with at least an FBS-level offer. Which ones are able to elevate their games above the rest - and lead their teams toward a title - will be one of the most intriguing stories of the weekend.
Of those quarterbacks, six are already committed, led by Rivals250 prospect Matt Alviti (Northwestern) who is joined by Austin Allen (Arkansas), Jason Smith (Auburn), Kyle Bolin (Louisville), Jeremy Johnson (Auburn), and Eddie Printz(UCLA).
Additionally Patrick Smith, Cole Segraves, Nick Mullens, Alejandro Bennifield, and TJ Fleeton are fighting for national recognition as well as scholarship opportunities. Smith, Segraves and Mullens have offers, while Bennifield and Fleeton will be looking to get eyes on them.
Can anyone get the better of Marlon Humphrey?
This is not an event that is loaded with defensive back talent as it has been in the past, but this year certainly has a standout in Class of 2014 corner Marlon Humphrey from Hoover (Ala.) High.
Already with offers from Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Mississippi State, North Carolina and Tennessee the 6-foot, 170-pound prospect will be lining up against plenty of strong receivers, and seeing which give him fits - or if he shuts them down - will be telling.
While it is not a guarantee to happen, there is the potential to see Humphrey line up opposite Monaca (Pa.) Central Valley receiver Robert Foster. Foster is the No. 4 receiver in the Class of 2013 and has three inches of height advantage on Humphrey.
Can talent win the day?
There are few teams in the event that can line up position for position with Memphis (Tenn.) Whitehaven, but that does not guarantee success.
The offensive group for Whitehaven features Rivals250 member Mark Dodson Jr. at the running back position. He is an Ole Miss commit and a player who can catch the ball well out of the backfield. At 5-feet-10 and 183 pounds, he could line up in the slot and really do damage against linebackers or safeties.