Top-tier prep prospects converge on Oregon this week for Nike’s The Opening, an annual skills combine, 7-on-7 tournament and recruiting showcase. The most intriguing recruiting coming out of the camp may not necessarily come from any coaches, though.
The formation of the two-time Miami Heat’s “super-team,” consisting of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, was forged through bonds built in USA Basketball. The Opening may be taking on a similar look, as Tom VanHaaren demonstrated Sunday:
— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) July 5, 2015
Messiah deWeaver, a 4-star Dayton, Ohio, product, is a cornerstone of an already-impressive 2016 Michigan State recruiting class. The Spartans are currently ranked No. 8 nationally by 247Sports, putting Mark Dantonio on pace for his biggest recruiting splash yet as Spartans head coach.
Given Michigan State’s success with less regarded recruiting classes, the possibility of Dantonio landing a super-class could strike fear in the Big Ten. In the same vein, however, Urban Meyer has Big Ten East rival Ohio State cooking on the recruiting trail, renowned recruiter James Franklin is working with a full allotment of scholarships at Penn State and league newcomer Jim Harbaugh is making waves at Michigan.
Landing higher-rated signing classes might simply be what Dantonio needs to do just to keep Michigan State on pace. Weaver’s expressed plan to take it upon himself to help Michigan State to that end speaks to the event-within-the-event at The Opening.
Fellow prospects can recruit in ways coaches simply can’t, be places the staff can’t be and provide that an oh-so-prominent part of teenaged decision-making: peer pressure.
Dantonio ostensibly having a recruiter in the field could be big in the ongoing Big Ten arms race — among Weaver’s “targets” is Detroit-based 4-star cornerback Lavert Hill, a prospect of both Michigan and Penn State.
Riley Blevins, The Clarion Ledger
Perhaps flying under the radar amid the holiday is the NCAA’s investigation into the Laremy Tunsil situation. It began a little over a week again, when the preseason All-American offensive tackle at Ole Miss turned himself in on a domestic violence charge after reportedly hitting his stepfather, Lindsey Miller, in defense of his mother.
Photos surfaced a few days later via TMZ.
— Robert Littal (@BSO) July 2, 2015
The case took a turn when the stepdad said the altercation occurred while Tunsil met with agents. Then, on Friday, the NCAA spoke with Miller. These seemingly initial steps into an investigation of Ole Miss make for message board and social media fodder, particularly given the heated backlash from SEC folks when Hugh Freeze landed a 2013 recruiting class that included Tunsil, Laquan Treadwell and consensus No. 1 prospect Robert Nkemdiche.
I’m rarely a proponent of manual retweets, but in this case, they preserved Freeze’s since-deleted tweet directing complaints to Ole Miss compliance:
RT @CoachHughFreeze: If you have facts about a violation, email email@example.com. If not, please don't slander the young men
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) February 1, 2013