Many of the nation’s top college football prospects are in Oregon for Nike’s The Opening, which is in the thick of its week of activities. A plethora of tidbits are emanating from The Opening, from ridiculous measurables, to on-site recruiting and — still to come — some commitments.
So, without further ado, let’s jump into the coverage.
LSU commit Feleipe Franks, a 4-star prospect from Crawfordville, Florida, talked about his experience with Jen Beyrle of The Oregonian:
Franks is one of The Opening’s Elite 11 finalists, part of a group that also features Michigan State commit Messiah deWeaver.
— Elite11 (@Elite11) July 7, 2015
deWeaver is the Dayton, Ohio, prospect who, prior to his arrival in Oregon, promised to recruit other Spartan targets to join Michigan State. Don’t be surprised if Donovan Peoples-Jones, a local (Detroit) 2017 prospect and 5-star wide receiver who scored the highest of all competitors in Wednesday’s SPARQ competition, becomes the No. 1 priority for Sparty’s self-appointed recruiting coordinator deWeaver.
Peoples-Jones’ high score is quite impressive, given performances such as the below from future USC wide receiver Josh Imatorbhebhe was what Peoples-Jones was up against.
— Jeremy Crabtree (@jeremycrabtree) July 8, 2015
Tell me that isn’t a trampoline under his feet.
For some recruits at The Opening, like deWeaver, this convergence of talent is an unofficial recruiting opportunity. For others, the bonds they’ll forge in college are already starting. Such is the case for Notre Dame commits Parker Boudreaux and Tommy Kraemer. NDInsider.com’s Tyler James details the friendship building between these two future Fighting Irish.
“It’s awesome,” Kraemer said. “You’re competing with the best every day. It’s just fun being at a great place like this with the top players in the country.”
While many of the youngsters you’ll read about at The Opening are destined for football stardom, some won’t find accolades at the college level. That doesn’t make this week any less special — quite the opposite, if Paul Troth’s story is any indication.
Troth was a 2000 Elite 11 quarterback, just the second class in the program’s now-illustrious history, but failed to take off collegiate. Still, the memories of playing as part of the Elite 11 stay with Troth, he told Bleacher Report’s Sanjay Kirpalani.
In a fascinating feature story, Kirpalani details Troth’s road from Elite 11 quarterback to high school coach — and now, Elite 11 coach. This particular story puts The Opening in context: Yes, many of these youngsters are going to be college football stars soon. But ultimately, this is still a summer camp with teenagers.
My days attending basketball camps were nothing like The Opening — I wasn’t playing with the best the country had to offer, and had ESPNU existed, it wouldn’t have been covering anything going on there. But I still have fond memories of those days. Similarly, the participants at The Opening will come away with new friends and great memories.