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Joshua Casher, the St. Paul's (Ala.) center prospect and Auburn commitment, was relatively unknown earlier this year. He was definitely unknown on the national scene this time last spring.
Casher slowly garnered offers from the nation's elite until his commitment to Auburn in March, but he still felt overlooked. He was the nation's No. 2 center and a three-star, but he wanted more.
Casher accepted an invitation to the Rivals Camp Series presented by Under Armour in Birmingham earlier this spring. The 6-foot, 293-pound Casher showed up and completely and utterly dominated the competition.
"When I went, I just said, 'Josh, you're going to go to this camp and do the best you can'. Everything took off from there," said Casher.
Casher earned the title of the "Most Aggressive" prospect during the entire RCS by the recruiting analysts of Rivals.com
Following the camp performance, it was a waiting game. Casher desperately hoped his RCS performance earned him an invite to the prestigious Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge in Chicago. Other prospects were invited in the days following each RCS event, but not Casher.
Finally, last weekend, word came. Casher's patience and performance paid off and he officially accepted his invitation to the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge last weekend.
"I'm going to tell you, it's a dream come true," Casher said. "People don't understand -- I wasn't overwhelmed, but it's like you go from not really even having your name known and all you know is hard work. You have that dream of hard work and faith will take you anywhere.
"A year ago, I was hoping I even got an offer. I was hoping anyone would even look at me, that I'd get my first letter from a school. It's amazing how God has blessed me and through me, my family to go on these trips. Now I'm one of the top prospects in the country. When you think about it, I have no reason to complain, I really don't."
If earning an invite to the Challenge isn't enough, Casher vaulted up the rankings into the Rivals250 on Tuesday. Casher is now the No. 106 overall prospect, a four-star and the nation's top ranked center.
Casher will be joining with 80 of the top 2014 prospects from across the nation at Chicago's Soldier Field from June 7-9. It's an experience Casher doesn't plan on wasting.
"All I have to do is compete and do the best I can, and I'll be good," Casher said. "We'll get to stay in nice places and meet great recruits, we're going to have a ball. I'm going to enjoy it. This is once in a lifetime, I'm not missing this."
But once the Under Armour jerseys go on and the Challenge begins, Casher's mindset will change. The light switch, he said, will flip.
"I've been thinking about this. I feel like this is going to prove who I am as a player and how much I want it," said Casher. "I get nervous before every single camp, I've learned through playing sports, no matter how tall, how skinny, you never underestimate your opponent. Going into this camp, I'm going to be excited and try to perform to the best of my ability. It's going to be fun."
And Casher won't be making the trek from Alabama to Illinois alone. His high school teammate and fellow Auburn commit, Rivals100 linebacker Tre Williams, is also competing in the event.
"It's something I'm looking forward to him doing well, I pray I do well," Casher said. "I think it's fascinating that two players that play two opposite positions, and we're both the best at what we do and we're on the same team."
With only days until Casher embarks on his next journey, the always-smiling youngster from Mobile reflects. Casher is unique, in that for a rising high school senior, his perspective and insight is beyond his years.
"To realize how blessed you are and how many people don't get these opportunities, I feel like God has a plan for me," said Casher. "There I am, not great size, but if I just work my tail off, I believe God uses me as an example. You may not be the ideal size, but due to your faith and work ethic, God's saying, 'this is what I have for you, this is your purpose. I'm going to let you do bigger and brighter things.'"