Alabama Crimson Tide: The Opening

RN Top 10: Best of The Opening 

July, 4, 2013
7/04/13
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video The RN Top 10 will appear throughout the camp and combine season and rank prospects based strictly on their on-field performance at that particular event. It does not reflect their overall prospect rankings.

BEAVERTON, Ore. -- The Opening put 162 of the top prospects in the nation in one place to battle to see who really is the best. During individual drills, one-on-one matchups, 7-on-7 play and even tug-of-war, the elite recruits competed to beat the best.

Every player in attendance was a standout player, but there were some who stood out above the rest. RecruitingNation takes a look at the top players throughout The Opening.

10. Jacob Park
Goose Creek (S.C.) Stratford | QB-DT | 6-4, 206
While other quarterbacks saw their play go up and down through the Elite 11 and The Opening 7-on-7, Park, a Georgia commitment, stayed consistent. He was singled out by Elite 11 head coach Trent Dilfer time after time after time.

“He’s immensely talented,” Dilfer said. “And he gets stuff.”

The only time that Park got dinged by Dilfer was when he tried to force the ball into tight spots, but honestly that happened very little throughout the week. UGA fans will be excited the 6-4, 206-pound four-star quarterback is heading to Athens, because he’s got a pretty complete package. -- Jeremy Crabtree

BEAVERTON, Ore. -- As if there ever needs to be any validation that an Alabama offensive line commit is a top prospect, Viane Talamaivao (Corona, Calif./Centennial) has done just that with his performance at The Opening.

The No. 7-ranked guard in the nation has been outstanding in one-on-one drills and held his own against the top defensive linemen in the country. He was being watched all day on Monday by the coaches and specifically by former NFL lineman, LeCharles Bentley, who was coaching Talamaivao throughout the day.

"Viane is the player right now that intrigues me at a very high level because of his ability," Bentley said. "Tremendous feet, strength, understands, feisty, tough, strong, smart. He has great flexibility, and he's everything you want as a football player."

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No rush for five-star DE Carter 

June, 26, 2013
6/26/13
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Anyone that has a good read on where five-star prospect Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, Ga./Norcross) is headed might want to give the No. 10 prospect in the country a heads up.

Because he says he has no idea.

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The Opening, presented by Nike, will feature 162 of the best high school football players in the country. The event, which will include linemen, 7-on-7 and SPARQ testing competitions, is set to run from June 30 to July 3 at the Nike headquarters in Beaverton, Ore.

The following events from The Opening will be televised on ESPNU:

July 1: SPARQ Rating National Championship, 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m. ET

July 2: 7-on-7 Pool Play, 9 p.m.-11:30 p.m. ET

July 3: Linemen Challenge Finals and 7-on-7 semifinal and championship games, 9 p.m.-midnight ET

The players will be divided in to six teams -- Alpha Pro, Apocalypse, Field Generals, Land Sharks, Super Bad and Vapor Carbon. Here is a closer look at how the teams match up.

Team: Alpha Pro
Coaches: Offensive coordinator Jordan Palmer, defensive coordinator Hardy Nickerson

The Alpha Pro team will have plenty of targets to spread the ball around. Ermon Lane and Tyler Luatua, the No. 1-ranked receiver and tight end in the country respectively, bring size and playmaking ability to the passing game. ESPN 300 athletes Corey Holmes, Jalen Hurd, John "JuJu" Smith, Ja'Von Harrison, and Derrell Scott are all explosive offensive weapons.

Defensively Alpha Pro is led by Andrew Brown, the No. 1-ranked defensive tackle in the country, ESPN 150 cornerback Damon Webb, defensive end Andrew Williams, Ohio State linebacker commit Dante Booker and LSU cornerback commit Chris Hardeman.

Complete Alpha Pro roster.

Team: Apocalypse
Coaches: Offensive coordinator Adam Tafralis, defensive coordinator Donovin Darius

The first thing that jumps out about team Apocalypse is the talent in the defensive front seven. Team Apocalypse will be led by five-star defensive end Da'Shawn Hand and inside linebacker Raekwon McMillan. Hand, from Woodbridge, Va., is the No. 4-ranked player in the country, while McMillan was recently bumped up to a five-star linebacker. Joining Hand and McMillan along the front seven are ESPN 300 defensive linemen Anthony Moten and Ainuu Taua, and linebackers D.J. Calhoun and Rashaan Evans.

Offensively, team Apocalypse has no shortage of playmakers. ESPN 300 wide receivers Artavis Scott, K.D. Cannon and Michiah Quick will provide explosiveness in the passing game, while athletic running backs Joe Mixon and Royce Freeman will provide athletic and reliable targets out of the backfield.

Complete Apocalypse roster.

Team: Field Generals
Coaches: Offensive coordinator Charlie Frye, defensive coordinator Michael Fletcher

Seven-on-seven events are always geared towards the offense, but with five-star defensive back Adoree' Jackson, No. 3-ranked safety Jamal Adams, and ESPN 300 cornerback Adarius Pickett in the secondary, the Field Generals should more than hold their own. New Ohio State defensive end commit Jalyn Holmes and the No. 6-ranked defensive end in the country, Solomon Thomas, will be two to watch along the defensive line.

Offensively, the Field Generals are led by ESPN 300 offensive guard Damien Mama, ESPN 300 wide receivers Austin Roberts and Thaddeus Snodgrass and explosive Notre Dame running back commit Elijah Hood.

Complete Field Generals roster.

Team: Landsharks
Coaches: Offensive coordinator Craig Nall, defensive coordinator Keith Bulluck

The Landsharks have some big-time talent along each line of scrimmage. Led by five-star offensive tackle Cameron Robinson, the Landsharks also feature ESPN 300 offensive guard Corey Martinez. ESPN 300 defensive linemen Gerald Willis III and Thomas Holley, as well as ESPN 300 defensive end Chad Thomas, will form a very physical and athletic defensive line.

In the secondary, the Landsharks will have three defensive backs -- Arrion Springs, Chris Lammons and Tony Brown -- that are ranked among the top 85 players in the country. The defense also features ESPN 150 linebacker Nyles Morgan.

Offensively, explosive running backs Dalvin Cook, a Florida commit, and Racean Thomas form a dangerous tandem out of the backfield, and wide receivers Travis Rudolph and Jalen Harvey are solid receiving threats.

Complete Landsharks roster.

Team: Superbad
Coaches: Offensive coordinator Dennis Gile, defensive coordinator Harold Nash Jr.

The Superbad defense line is led by five-star defensive end Lorenzo Carter and ESPN 150 defensive tackle Bijhon Jackson. The linebacking corp is stacked with three ESPN 300 members, including Clifton Garrett, Christian Miller and Edwin Freeman. Cornerback Jalen Tabor is the No. 19-ranked player in the country.

Offensively, Superbad has a huge advantage with the No. 1-ranked prospect in the country, running back Leonard Fournette. This team is loaded on offense, with wide receivers Drake Harris, Josh Malone and Speedy Noil all in the mix.

Complete Superbad roster.

Team: Vapor Carbon
Coaches: Offensive coordinator George Whitfield, defensive coordinator Chris Gizzi.

Vapor Carbon will be tough to throw against with defensive backs Quin Blanding, Naijiel Hale and Ed Paris roaming the field. The linebacker group is just as impressive, with Ohio State commit Kyle Berger, Kain Daub and Dillon Bates all leading the way.

The offense for Vapor Carbon could be lethal with running back Joseph Yearby and Nick Chubb in the backfield. Spreading out wide receivers T.V. Williams, Justin Brent and tight end Ian Bunting on the outside could prove to be an awesome combination for this squad.

Team Vapor Carbon has a lot of pieces to make a long run in the 7-on-7 tournament, but then again, every team is stacked in this competition.

Complete Vapor Carbon roster.
ASHBURN, Va. -- At an event that featured three of the top 11 defensive prospects in the ESPN 150, third-rated offensive tackle Damian Prince of Forestville (Md.) Bishop McNamara impressed every bit as much as any of them Sunday at the Nike Football Training Camp outside of Washington, D.C.

Prince showed off a slimmed down frame -- he’s lost more than 30 pounds, he said, to reach about 285 -- and dominated in blocking drills against a stout group of defensive linemen.

Prince, No. 33 in the ESPN 150, put himself in position to rise over the upcoming months.

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Lessons Learned: Memphis NFTC 

April, 14, 2013
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The Nike Football Training Camp circuit stayed in the southeast on Sunday, stopping at the Memphis University School for an event that, to the surprise of no one, featured solid line play. No doubt, it’s a staple in this part of the country. In fact, coaches praised the participants for play as strong in the trenches as they’ve seen at any Nike camp this spring.

Mitch Sherman of Recruiting Nation attended the event. Here’s what he learned:

Youth has been served

While a strong contingent of upperclassmen dominated the positional MVP honors, a few 14- and 15-year-old prospects shared time in the spotlight. Notably, linebacker Dylan Moses of Baton Rouge, La., showed no hesitation in facing players four years his senior. Moses, an eighth-grader set to begin high school at LSU Laboratory School in the fall, added an offer on Saturday from Ole Miss to a list that already featured Alabama and LSU. Running back Gabe Angel, a freshman at Lebanon (Tenn.) Wilson Central, performed well on Sunday after recently adding Ole Miss, Vanderbilt and Tennessee to a Mississippi State offer he received last year. Another 2016 prospect, receiver Harry Ballard of Florissant (Mo.) McCluer North, showed well, too.

Ole Miss is surging


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BUFORD, Ga. -- With a decision possibly right around the corner, ESPN Watch List tight end Jeb Blazevich (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Christian) took another visit Friday to the University of Alabama, his third trip to Tuscaloosa, Ala., and first since the Mississippi State game last fall.


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It's no surprise that tight end O.J. Howard (Prattville, Ala./Autauga Academy) performed well at The Opening. The No. 46 overall player in the country has the size and athleticism at 6-foot-6, 225 pounds to blow people away in that type of setting.

While he wasn't a finalist for the SPARQ National Championship, Howard instantly became a an integral part of his 7-on-7 team, the Land Sharks. He became a main target of Michigan quarterback commit Shane Morris (Warren, Mich./De La Salle) right from the get-go.

"Right away he made a great catch in the first game," Morris said. "From then on I knew he was the real deal, so I involved him a lot."

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ESPN3/ESPNU lineup for The Opening

July, 6, 2012
7/06/12
2:11
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Want to watch the nation's best prospects at The Opening in Oregon this weekend? Here's you're one-stop shopping ...

Day One: Friday, July 6 starting at 7 p.m. CT

Day Two: Saturday, July 7 starting at 7 p.m. CT

Day Three: Sunday, July 8 starting at 7 p.m. CT

Watch: Are girls a factor in recruiting?

July, 6, 2012
7/06/12
11:55
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As the top recruits across the county assemble in Beaverton, Oregon for Nike’s The Opening, RecruitingNation asked them how much of a factor are the girls when it comes to picking a school.
The nation’s elite high school football prospects have arrived in Oregon for The Opening, but for a select few, it’s a return trip to the premier camp in America.

[+] EnlargeDerrick Henry
Radi Nabulsi/ESPN.comDerrick Henry of Yulee (Fla.) High School, shown here in a file photo, is the nation's new high school rushing leader with 11,612 career yards.
University of Alabama running back commitment Altee Tenpenny and fellow Crimson Tide targets Derrick Henry and Laremy Tunsil were the only three underclassmen to compete at last year’s camp. The trio is back this year with something to prove.

“It was a great experience,” Tenpenny said. “Going into this year, I feel like last year’s experience will help me out there. I know how everything is going to go.”

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ESPN 150 RB Green talks Tide 

July, 5, 2012
7/05/12
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TIGARD, Ore. -- Want to know how important The Opening is to ESPN 150 running back Derrick Green? So important that the Richmond (Va.) Hermitage High School standout was in the weight room at the players’ host hotel Wednesday afternoon -- a full day before the event officially kicks off.

Green, the nation’s No. 6 running back and No. 58 overall player in the 2013 class, was the first player to check into the host hotel on Wednesday, and he is entering Thursday’s action with the goal of leaving Oregon as the top running back. Since the Nike Football Training Camp in Baltimore in May, Green has lost 20 pounds and is now 6 foot and 215 pounds.

“[The Opening] is definitely a blessing, and I’m taking it seriously,” said Green, who was 5-11 and 235 pounds in Baltimore. “I’ve been getting ready and getting my mind focused on going out and winning.

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It might not have come as much of a surprise, but Yulee, Fla., athlete Derrick Henry announced the University of Alabama as his leader on Monday via Twitter. The ESPN 150 star was relieved to finally get it out there.

[+] EnlargeDerrick Henry
Radi Nabulsi/ESPN.com2013 ATH Derrick Henry, a former Georgia commit, says Alabama has become his top school.
“I just wanted to get it out of the way,” Henry said. “A lot of people have been thinking it, and a lot of people have been asking me about it, so I just wanted to get it out of the way and let everybody know. Now people can stop wondering and asking me.”

Last month, Henry decommitted from the University of Georgia after a visit to Tuscaloosa -- and it was that trip that has put the Crimson Tide on top.

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