The Opening: Florida Gators preview


GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- In just one short year after debuting, The Opening has become one of the most prestigious camp experiences for high school football players. The Florida Gators will be well represented with seven verbal commitments attending this July 5-8.

USC is sending eight commits to The Opening, while Michigan joins Florida with seven.

The Gators' invited commits are defensive backs Nick Washington (Jacksonville, Fla./Trinity Christian), Tre' Bell (Jersey City, N.J./St. Peters Prep) and Keanu Neal (Bushnell, Fla./South Sumter), wide receiver Ahmad Fulwood (Jacksonville, Fla./Bishop Kenny), linebacker Quinton Powell (Daytona Beach, Fla./Mainland), running back Kelvin Taylor (Belle Glades, Fla./Glades Day) and defensive tackle Caleb Brantley (Crescent City, Fla./Crescent City).

Washington, who has been committed to Florida since Feb. 18, said he is looking forward to getting professional coaching at the camp.

"I'm looking forward to getting coach by all the NFL veterans and just having a good time up there," Washington said. "It will be nice to go against other top competition."

Neal is just excited to spend time with the other Florida commits.

"It's going to be great," Neal said. "We all know each other. We've all built relationships around each other and we are pretty close. Just going up there and hanging out is going to be fun."

Fulwood is coming off an achilles heal injury that held him out of most of his spring practice. He said he's ready to get out and test his leg again, and like Neal, he is looking forward to spending time with his future teammates.

"I'm looking forward to just getting the most out of the opportunity I was given," Fulwood said. "I want to test how my health is and get back into competition mode. It's going to be fun getting to know my future teammates and to see what they are going to be like in a game mode, too. I'm excited to cool it with them, too."

With such a tight-knit bunch, the Florida contingent is sure to do some recruiting as well. Several of the Gators' top targets will be at the Opening, including Alex Anzalone, Vernon Hargreaves III, Marcell Harris, Ebenezer Ogundeko, Demarcus Walker and Priest Willis.