Wednesday, July 3, 2013
RN Top 10: The Opening, Day 2
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. -- After Monday's SPARQ testing, the nation's top players were ready for some actual football Tuesday. With a lineman challenge in the morning and seven-on-seven games throughout the afternoon, each player got a chance to see what he could do against top-notch competition. Many of the usual suspects thrived, but there were also some surprises.
Consistency is Kaaya’s game. He bolted out of the gate with a strong performance Saturday at the Elite 11 and then showed throughout Sunday's practice why Miami ventured all the way across the country to snag his commitment. He was almost flawless again Monday and then lit up pool play Tuesday. He drew rave reviews with a throw for a two-point conversion on which he lowered his arm to place the ball in a tight space. "He makes the extremely difficult look really easy," coach and ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer said. -- Jeremy Crabtree
The Alabama commit is tough in the trenches. Talamaivao calls himself a teddy bear off the field, but on the field, he is a different person. "In terms of pure ability, himself and Isaac Seumalo, at Oregon State," offensive line coach LeCharles Bentley said. "Those two guys, in terms of pure offensive line play, they're the purest offensive linemen I've ever seen." -- Tom VanHaaren
Hand was one of the few defensive linemen who stood out in the one-on-ones. The offensive linemen were wearing pads, which made it a little harder on the defensive linemen. Despite that, Hand showed his explosiveness and power. The No. 4-ranked prospect in the country was prepared, as this was his second appearance at The Opening, and he showed what he is capable of doing. -- Tom VanHaaren
7. Ermon Lane Homestead (Fla.) High School | WR | 6-2, 196
The dynamic wide receiver had several tough catches on the afternoon, including one difficult catch in which he outjumped a defensive back and hauled in a long touchdown catch. After the catch, Lane, who is very tight-lipped about his recruitment, proceeded to do the Gator chomp on the way back to the sidelines. In addition to the Gators, Lane is considering schools such as Alabama, Florida State and Miami. -- Derek Tyson
6. Sean White Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) University School | QB | 6-1, 199
Dilfer has repeatedly singled out White as a top performer during this week’s competition. He was one of the top quarterbacks on the first day of seven-on-seven play. White led the Field Generals team on several scoring drives with some pinpoint-accurate passing during his time at quarterback. White has offers from West Virginia, USF and Cincinnati, but with upcoming visits to South Carolina and Auburn, he is almost certain to see his offer list grow. -- Derek Tyson
5. Damien Mama Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco | OG | 6-4, 370
The No. 3-ranked guard in the country, Mama did very well in the lineman challenge. He took on some of the top defensive linemen, including Da'Shawn Hand, and held his own.
Craig Haubert's take: "We believe he is a guard, but he's still working at tackle. For a 350- or 370-pound lineman, how agile he is, is insane. How effective he is at tackle, and you slide him inside at guard in a short area, he's going to be almost impossible to get around with such a violent punch." -- Tom VanHaaren
4. Jacob Park Goose Creek (S.C.) Stratford | QB | 6-4, 206
Three touchdowns in one half? Check. Precision passing? Check. Deadly accuracy? Check. You name it, Park had it Tuesday. The four-star Georgia commit was on the mark all week at the Elite 11 and then carried it through to the seven-on-seven pool play at The Opening. “He’s immensely talented,” Dilfer said about Park. “And he gets stuff.” The only time Park got dinged by Dilfer was when he tried to force the ball into tight spots, but that happened very infrequently Tuesday. -- Jeremy Crabtree
Robinson, the No. 1 player at his position nationally and No. 7 prospect in the ESPN 300, did not wear shoulder pads during the lineman challenge Tuesday, per a Louisiana state association rule. Really, it didn’t matter much. He’s a force. Or a wall. In pads, Robinson said, he’s “way different” than he showed at The Opening. Still, he said, he performed OK. “I have a lot I can improve on,” he said. “I’m going to study film. I guess I did well, but not good enough.” Robinson favors LSU and Alabama. -- Mitch Sherman
Tom Luginbill's take: “Even though Cameron Robinson isn’t in pads, he’s in a completely different league."
Bishard "Budda" Baker shined brightest at The Opening on Tuesday.
The nation’s top-rated safety and No. 11 overall prospect has dominated his area of the field at every level of competition -- high school, the spring camp circuit. It was no different Tuesday at The Opening, despite the increased skill play around him. Blanding intercepted three passes in his first two seven-on-seven games. “It does feel good,” he said, “but there’s still more work that needs to be done. There’s always a need to improve.” He’s a physical presence who is undeterred by big-bodied receivers or speed on offense. It likely equates to an early impact for Blanding at Virginia, where he committed in February. -- Mitch Sherman
Several coaches at The Opening remarked that nobody had a better day than Baker on Tuesday. And it’s hard to argue with them. Baker, the nation’s No. 141 player, made the difficult catches look easy. Routine short passes often turned into long gainers. Passes that were overthrown turned into acrobatic diving catches. He even took to the air and laid his entire body out on one touchdown grab. He also took out a cameraman in the process but still managed to come up with the catch. -- Jeremy Crabtree